Dove and early goose season open Sept. 1

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Paired mourning doves will often perch together and may engage in courtship feeding or mutual preening. (Photo by Don Bartling)

Tennessee’s dove season opens Thursday, Sept. 1 at noon (local time), the annual start of one of the state’s most long-standing outdoor sports traditions. 

The season is divided into three segments: Sept. 1-28; Oct. 8-30; and Dec. 8-Jan. 15, 2023. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. TWRA manages dove hunting fields in each of the four regions. For more information and location of fields visit http://tn.gov/twra/article/dove.

Doves are found throughout the various regions in the state, but the highest concentration is in farming areas. Hunters must have in their possession a valid state hunting license and Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit at all times while hunting. Hunters must have landowner’s permission to hunt on private land.

The daily bag limit for mourning doves is 15. There is no limit on collared doves. Doves not readily identifiable as collared doves will be considered mourning doves and will count toward that daily bag limit. No person shall take migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, or on any baited area. Any auto-loading or repeating shotgun must be incapable of holding more than three shells while being used for dove hunting. 

In addition to the start of dove season, the early season for Canada goose, brant, blue, snow, and Ross’ Geese (light geese) also starts Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 18. Refer to the 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide for daily bag limits.

Other hunting seasons that open Sept. 1 are moorhens/gallinules and rails (Virginia and sora). The Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit is also required to hunt these species.

A short crow hunting season overlaps with the opening week of dove season which will be held Sept. 1-5. It will resume Sept. 10 through Dec. 20. Hunting is allowed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only in this segment.

More information on Tennessee’s dove and other migratory birds can be found at www.tnwildlife.org in the Hunting section. The 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide can also be viewed on the website, the TWRA App, or a copy may be obtained at any TWRA regional office or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

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