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Dove hunting season draws to a close

September 14, 2018

Arizona hunters have bagged their first game of autumn as the early dove hunting season draws to a close.

Doves are often drawn to the Lake Havasu region for its abundant food, water and cover adjacent to the shoreline. Low rainfall has kept dove populations static during the hunting season, but early rain prior to dove season may have caused migrations from the Havasu region before the season began Sept. 1.

“Based on what I’ve seen, storms this month were hit-and-miss throughout the region,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife Supervisor Dee Pfleiger. “There were a few storms right before the hunting season that may have pushed doves south, but there hasn’t been a decline in population.”

According to Pfleiger, hunters had the most success this month in areas near agricultural fields and sources of water. In Lake Havasu City, those areas have traditionally included an area of land between London Bridge Road and Lake Havasu’s shores. The areas of Parker, Blythe, Phoenix and the Fort Mohave Indian Reservation have also remained popular locations for dove hunters, due to their proximity to agricultural lands.

“We had a pretty good opening season,” Pfleiger said.

According to Yuma resident Randy Jones, dove season saw more popularity this year than in previous hunting seasons. “It’s better now than it’s been in the past couple of years,” Jones said. “There weren’t many storms, so the birds stayed, and they were slightly bigger this year.”

Jones, who works at Yuma-based Sprague Sports, has met many dove-hunters this fall. “There’s nothing like that opening three-day weekend,” Jones said. “A lot of our customers came over from California … We had an uptick in customers this year, and our community has an open-arms attitude toward dove-hunting.”

The early dove-hunting season ends Sept. 15, but hunters will get another chance in the late dove season, begins Nov. 23. Pfleiger expects the late season to remain popular with hunters due to the addition of quail as available quarry.

For more information about dove and other hunting in Arizona, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website at www.azgfd.com.

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