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Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Rains helpful… but was there enough?
Thursday, June 27, 2019
New dove hunting ammo

What’s all the cooing about?
Based on reports afield and from all the dove cooing going on this early in the summer it appears that this year’s dove opener should be one for the record books,IF Mother Nature cooperates a little. There appears to be a very good hatch of mourning dove taking place and white-winged dove are enjoying good nesting conditions in desert regions. Dove hunters should be able to bag 15-bird limits on opening day, Sunday, Sept. 1, and hopefully conditions will allow for multiple days of hunting thereafter.

GOOD MOURNING DOVE HUNT  — Dove hunters should enjoy some good gunning come opening day of dove season on Sept. 1. From reports being sent to Western Outdoor News there is an excellent hatch coming off with plenty of food and water available across California, over into Arizona and clear on down into Mexico. Hank Osterkamp of San Clements shows off a game strap full of mourning dove. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

There is good news coming in from the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, by way of an updated report by Wildlife Supervisor Thomas Trakes.

“Dove season is looking very strong. With all the rain we had, winter crops are coming along just fine. With some safflower seed that was donated by CWA we planted it early and it’s already heading out. We should be able to start knocking it down in a couple of weeks,” says Trakes.

Trakes went on to state, “There are more dove on the refuge than I have seen in over a decade and they are spread out across the entire refuge. I would think that this coming dove season opener will offer up very good hunting, weather permitting, and that we could see a very high per gun average. On opening day, Sunday Sept. 1 and Monday Sept. 2, the entire refuge will be open to hunting including the waterfowl area. After the Monday shoot, hunters will only have access to upland game bird fields. We plan on keeping water in some ponds and will continue with our farming through the summer months.”

Western Outdoor News was able to get in contact with wildlife supporter Leon Lesicka of Imperial Valley, who was spending some vacation time over on the river in Arizona.

“Right now, I am watching flocks of white-winged dove flying around. There appears to be more birds this year and I would think that the overall hatch will be good, at least in this southwestern part of the lower Colorado River. Also, I am seeing more Gambel’s quail around and these coveys are numbering between 10 to over a dozen chicks along with adult birds,” stated Lesicka.

When asked about the farm fields to the north of Calipatria, Lesicka says that they seem to already have been planted in wheat and should be very huntable come opening day of dove season.

WON then checked in with avid sportsman Steve Turigliatto of San Diego, who has been out scouting dove.

“I’ve been out to the Imperial Valley a number of times recently. There are great numbers of mourning dove and production seems to be in full swing. In checking on the citrus groves there appears to be very good counts on white-winged dove, but the population of Eurasian Collard dove appears to be down around rural towns, but around feed lots there are plenty of this larger species of non-native dove,” stated Turigliatto.

Turigliatto went on to add, “There is a lot or wheat, corn and melons all across the Imperial Valley, all of which are a great food source for dove.”

As for San Diego County Turigliatto said that nesting appears to be later than normal. He told Western Outdoor News that the likely reason for a later dove hatch was all the cold weather, rain and winds that blew through this county up until early June, may have set the dove hatch back a couple of weeks.

Yuma has always been a hot spot for dove hunters and this year is shaping up to be another good shoot. WON asked Richard Sprague, owner of Sprague’s Sports in Yuma, rds@spragues.com, to file a report.

“We just had our dove opener planning meeting this past week with an Arizona biologist and he reported that white-winged dove are at an all-time high and with the wetter winter we have had this year, and he is expecting the mourning dove hatch to be excellent. The World Dove Cook Off will be held this year on Sept. 7 (Saturday after opener), with more details to follow. This year will also mark the 31st Big Breast Dove Contest,” said Sprague.

In contacting Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the following was passed on.

“Things are looking good in Arizona. We’ve had a very wet winter this past year. Even though we have multiple nesting per year for mourning doves, our biggest hatch occurs in late July. So, it’s still a little too early to tell but it’s expected to be good. As summer agriculture in Arizona continues to be dominated by small grain crops (durum wheat specifically) the doves will only continue to benefit. The call count index for white-winged dove across Arizona remains at record highs and the population is growing steadily,” stated O’Dell.

The local hatch of mourning and Eurasian collared dove is strong as witnessed by all the paired-up dove winging around or sitting on telephone wires in Southland cities. Early morning walks with my Lab Sierra are being rewarded with the cooing of many dove, flights of paired up mallards and at times a small flock of Canada geese. Surprisingly, there appears to be ample turkey millet (dove weed) growing in areas where one would think that foxtails had totally taken over.

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