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Mourning Dove on left, young hunter on right

Iowa became the 42nd state to have a hunting season for mourning doves in 2011. Dove hunting provides an opportunity for hunters of any age or experience level to participate due to an abundance of birds, simple equipment needs and moderate physical activity.

Doves are a  migratory bird and can be found in all 99 counties with highest populations in the Loess Hills and southern three tiers of Iowa counties. They prefer open habitats such as farmland, prairies, grasslands and lightly wooded areas.

 Season Dates:
 September 1 - November 9
 Shooting Hours:
 One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
 Bag Limits:
 Daily limit of 15, possession limit of 30
 Locations:  Entire state is open to hunting
 License and Fees: 
Small game license, habitat fee and HIP registered

   Mourning Dove Hunting Information:

Register for HIP to Hunt Doves
To hunt doves and other migratory birds in Iowa, federal regulations require that hunters be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Hunters who hunt waterfowl or other migratory birds such as woodcock register for HIP when they pay the state migratory bird fee (stamp). Although dove hunters are not required to pay the state or federal migratory bird fee they must still register for HIP to legally hunt doves. Landowners who are only going to hunt on their own land or hunters such as those 16 and under who do not need a license do not need to register for HIP.

This year, hunters who purchased their hunting licenses after August 14th should have been asked whether they were going to hunt doves. If they responded “yes” then: “Dove: Y” was printed on their license. If a hunter changes their mind they need to register with HIP to hunt doves even if they paid the state migratory bird fee.

Dove hunters can register for HIP in two ways:
  1. They can go to the DNR’s online license sales site and login as if they were going to buy a license. Once they have entered their ID information (either the DNR # printed on their hunting license, their driver license number or their social security number and date of birth) they will see a “Dove Registration” button on the right side of the screen. If they click on the button they will be automatically registered to hunt doves. That is all the hunter needs to do to be registered.
  2. Hunters who do not have access to the internet can call a toll free number: 855-242-3683. They will need to enter 1) their DNR ID number and 2) their date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy) using their phone’s keypad. If they have a license then they will be automatically registered to hunt doves.

Hunters do not need to pay for a duplicate license that has the Dove: Y printed on it to go hunting for doves. Registering for HIP online or by phone is all that is needed.

Determining accurate harvest levels for game species, such as doves, are critical to the scientific management of game populations,” says Dale Garner, Iowa DNR Wildlife Bureau chief. “The HIP program gives biologists the information they need to ensure conservation of migratory bird populations while providing quality hunting opportunities.”

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