When it comes to dove hunting in Arizona, one thing is pretty much indisputable:
There’s never a bad season opener.
All signs indicate that there will be birds aplenty when the 2023 season started Friday, Sept. 1. This is especially true for hunters who are willing to scout in the mornings and evenings between now and the opener to locate some good hunting spots.
Once again, the greatest number of doves — and dove hunters — will be concentrated in the state’s agricultural areas, particularly those that produce small-grain crops like wheat, barley, oats and sorghum. That includes locations like Yuma, one of the premier destinations in the U.S., as well as Buckeye, Eloy, Florence, Gila Bend, Toltec and others. Note: All National Park Service parks and monuments are closed to hunting unless specifically opened in Commission Order.
The 15-day “early” season gets underway 30 minutes before legal sunrise Sept. 1. The daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves, of which no more than 10 may be white-winged. The possession limit is 45 mourning and white-winged in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 may be taken in any one day. Of the 45-dove possession limit, only 30 may be white-winged, of which no more than 10 may be taken in any one day. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit on the invasive Eurasian collared-dove. A fully feathered wing must be left attached to each dove for identification purposes until a hunter reaches his or her permanent residence or where the game meat will be consumed.
All hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license, as well as a migratory bird stamp — both of which can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/license/. A youth combination hunt/fish license (for youth hunters 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes a migratory bird stamp.
All dove hunters should review the “2023-2024 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations,” which are posted at https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations/. The regulations have been produced in a format that hunters will find particularly handy in the field. The color brochure is easy to read and features important hunting information, such as season dates, daily bag and possession limits, and legal requirements, at a glance.
Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds consist of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, shooting ranges, boating access and more.