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Secret to Dove Hunting in the Hill Country

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Secret to Dove Hunting in the Hill Country

By Lloyd Tackitt 

Dove hunting is a Texas tradition. There’s nothing quite like going dove hunting with a group of like-minded friends. Lining up, getting into position, as the sun comes up, the sound of the dove’s whistling flight as they zig-zag and flash by over-head.

Secret to Dove Hunting in the Hill Country

Photo: kentoutdoors.com

Leading one with your sights, pulling the trigger, not feeling the recoil and only barely hearing the blast as the dove suddenly drops straight down. You immediately feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ll be grilling dove wrapped in bacon and jalapenos that evening, and washing it down with ice-cold beer while you and your friends recount the day’s shooting. This, my friend, is Texas!

The fly in the ointment is that finding a place to hunt doves can be difficult and it can be expensive. Most people don’t own enough land in the right kind of terrain with the right type of brush to hunt doves, and most people have to pay high lease fees for this pleasurable pursuit. If you don’t have tons of disposable income or rich land-owning friends, where do you go? That’s the rub. But there is a great solution.

Secret to Dove Hunting in the Hill Country

Photo: texasdovehunters.com

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a program where you can lease nearly 900,000 hunting acres for $48.00 per year. The state makes this land available to Texas hunters at an incredibly affordable price. These are not 900,000 contiguous acres; oh no, it’s much better than that. These acres are in parcels scattered all over the state, in 180 different places; making it likely that you can get onto prime dove hunting land somewhere near to where you live – especially some great spots in our beloved Hill Country. Many of these leases are for dove hunting only. Some have a combination of all types of hunting including turkey, waterfowl, rabbits and squirrel along with deer and feral hog.

All you need is a hunting license, any particular stamps required for what you are hunting, and the Annual Public Hunting Permit. With that permit you get a booklet of maps showing the location, available game, and any restrictions for each of the 180 leases that you now have.

Secret to Dove Hunting in the Hill Country

Photo: realtree.com

Think about that for a moment. An average day lease for an average dove hunt is around $100 per day per person. With the APH you can hunt on 180 different leases year round. Year round! And not just for doves, but for any kind of legal game in the state. You will be on your own to set up your hunt, to organize it and make it work. These are not stay over-night leases, you can’t camp out on most of them. So, yes, you will either have to drive back home or make other arrangements. But, then again, you should be able to locate a suitable parcel within reasonable driving distance.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has been offering these hunts since 1987, so you’d think everyone would know about it. For some reason it’s like a well-kept secret – but now you’re in the know. Happy Hunting!

Check it out: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/annual_public_hunting/