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August 5, 2010

Forty-two fields available for public dove hunting

Forty-two public dove fields will be available across the state during the 2010-11 season through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Area program.

The 2010-11 mourning dove season will run as follows: Sept. 4-6 (noon until sunset); Sept. 7–Oct. 9; Nov. 20-27; and Dec. 21–Jan. 15. Legal hunting hours for mourning dove season, except for Sept. 4-6, are from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day.

Dove season traditionally opens on either the first Saturday in September or on Labor Day, whichever comes first. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, seasons for migratory game birds cannot begin before Sept. 1. The state's mourning dove season is set each year by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board within a framework of regulations and timetables issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A county-by-county list (Pdf file) of public dove fields and special youth hunts is available online or can be obtained by writing: DNR, Attn: Public Dove Fields, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or by calling (803) 734-3886 in Columbia. The Public Dove Field List is also available at county Clemson Extension Service offices, Soil and Water Conservation District offices, and local DNR offices. More information about dove hunting can be found on the DNR Web site.

The number of hunters will be limited by a public drawing on three fields, the Oak Lea WMA field in Clarendon County, the Tuomey Field in Sumter County, and the Draper Tract field in York County.  For more information on the application process for these hunts, contact the DNR Columbia office at (803) 734 -3886 (Oak Lea WMA and Tuomey Field) or the DNR Unit 2B office at (864) 427-5140 (Draper Tract). Hunting and hunter placement on all other public fields is on a first-come basis, beginning at noon.

Hunters participating in public dove hunts on DNR Wildlife Management Area dove fields should be aware of special regulations in place on these fields. No entry is allowed on public fields before noon. Hunters will be restricted to 50 shells per hunt on all Wildlife Management Area public dove fields, and shooting hours will end at 6 p.m. on all public fields during the first segment of the South Carolina dove season (Sept. 4–Oct. 9).

A limited number of openings are available on eight special youth dove hunts scheduled for Abbeville, Charleston, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Sumter, Union and York counties. Participants are selected by pre-registration or drawing for all youth hunts with the exception of the Charleston  County youth hunt, which has no pre-registration requirement. Applicants for the special youth dove hunts should be aware that adults are not allowed to shoot on any of the special youth dove hunts.

Individuals who plan to hunt on public dove fields will need a South Carolina hunting license and a Wildlife Management Area permit. Also, all persons hunting migratory birds (including doves) are required to have a migratory bird permit. Migratory bird permits can be obtained free-of-charge at all hunting and fishing license vendors. 

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