EL CENTRO, Calif. - Dove hunting season begins next Friday, and the new regulations are out.
News 11 spoke to Fish and Wildlife officials, business owners and hunters on what to expect this year.
“I’ve got my gear all ready, I’m already set for this season. I’ve got my ammo, I’ve got my equipment that I need,” said James Gonzalez, Dove Hunter.
A map of upland game fields in Imperial County was provided for the 2017-2018 season. Dove hunting attracts thousands of out of town visitors and local businesses are bracing for the visit.
“It’s an annual event that happens here September 1st through the 15th and we provide a lot of shotguns and stuff, and ammunition products for the local dove hunters,” said Ben Pacrem, Armor and Sales with Border Tactical.
“The possession limit for doves is going to be 15 birds per hunter, and of those 15 birds, 10 of those birds could only be white-winged dove,” said Lee King, Lieutenant with Fish and Wildlife.
Hunters, new and old must be aware of the non-lead ammunition implementation.
“Certain areas do require that you are shooting with steel ammunition now, being that they’re doing a lead-free hunting transition up until 2019, so be aware of where your hunting and what ammunition you’re using,” added Pacrem.
Though there is no exact age limit, all hunters must have a hunting license.
“To hunt dove, then they are required to purchase as game bird validation. And so with those two licenses then they are legally okay go out and hunt,” explained King.
Trash can also become a problem during dove hunting season and officials are asking people to help.
“Rule of thumb is pick it up. You know, after you are done hunting, look around, people have their empty holes is what they call them. Pick those up put them in a bag, same thing, water bottles, cans, sodas, things like that. You got to pick it up. A lot of our lands down here every year are getting poste with no hunting, no trespassing and you; know that’s part of it,” added King.
“To me it’s my Christmas, and a lot of hunters I think will agree. You know, our kids have Christmas, we have dove season,” said Gonzalez.