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September Dove and Canada Geese Hunting Checklist

The first shots of the 2017 wingshooting season in South Carolina rang out on September 1 when the month-long early season for Canada geese started, quickly followed by the opening day of dove season on Saturday, September 2. The start of the college football season only adds to the annual tradition of getting back into the field with friends for hunting, fellowship and a meal. Being in possession of a valid hunting license isn’t enough to stay legal when hunting doves and geese, so here’s a helpful checklist concerning a change in bag limits and season dates.The first shots of the 2017 wingshooting season in South Carolina rang out on September 1 when the month-long early season for Canada geese started, quickly followed by the opening day of dove season on Saturday, September 2. The start of the college football season only adds to the annual tradition of getting back into the field with friends for hunting, fellowship and a meal. Being in possession of a valid hunting license isn’t enough to stay legal when hunting doves and geese, so here’s a helpful checklist concerning a change in bag limits and season dates. When purchasing your S.C. hunt license be sure to request the free HIP permit which is required for hunting migratory birds like doves and geese. The early hunting season for Canada geese runs from September 1 through September 30, with legal shooting hours running from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. The legal bag limit for Canada geese during the early season is 15 geese per day. The bag limit in September is more liberal because most of the geese in S.C. during hot weather are considered resident geese, and hunters help to control their population. Other checklist items required for hunting geese are the S.C. state waterfowl permit and a federal duck stamp. The federal stamp from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, and the 2017 – 2018 version features three flying Canada geese. Another incentive for all wildlife enthusiasts to purchase a federal duck stamp is that 98-percent of their purchase price goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements. Only non-toxic shotgun shells are legal for waterfowl hunting with only a three-shell capacity allowed in the firearm. Dove hunting season comes in three parts with the opening season running from September 2 until October 14. The final two seasons for hunting doves are based

Other checklist items required for hunting geese are the S.C. state waterfowl permit and a federal duck stamp. The federal stamp from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, and the 2017 – 2018 version features three flying Canada geese. Another incentive for all wildlife enthusiasts to purchase a federal duck stamp is that 98-percent of their purchase price goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements. Only non-toxic shotgun shells are legal for waterfowl hunting with only a three-shell capacity allowed in the firearm. Dove hunting season comes in three parts with the opening season running from September 2 until October 14. The final two seasons for hunting doves are based

 

Dove hunting season comes in three parts with the opening season running from September 2 until October 14. The final two seasons for hunting doves are based around the two holiday periods around Thanksgiving and December. The number one checklist item for S.C. dove hunting in South Carolina this year is the increase in the legal bag limit up to 15 doves per hunter. In 2016 the bag limit was set at 12 doves, and the number has fluctuated between 12 and 15 over the past several seasons, which can add confusion for wingshooters that don’t hunt doves each and every year. Shotguns must be plugged so that only a three-shell capacity exists, but it is legal to use lead shotgun shotshells. Legal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Most dove fields consist of planted crops like corn,

Shotguns must be plugged so that only a three-shell capacity exists, but it is legal to use lead shotgun shotshells. Legal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Most dove fields consist of planted crops like corn, sunflowers and millet but there are regulations in place about manipulating these crops to avoid illegal baiting practices. However, from October 1 to November 30 the SCDNR allows top-sowing of wheat in accordance with Clemson Extension Service guideline that stipulate evenly spread wheat seed on a seed bed established by heavy tilling. Planning to have a dove field requires

Planning to have a dove field requires planting of crops well before the hunting season commences, and those crops are subject to the whims of nature. Just in the past few years Lowcountry dove fields have seen crop failures from temperatures that were too hot and dry in 2014, severe flooding in 2015, and wind damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Of course, not all dove fields were affected but it takes a commitment of faith to try and create a productive dove field for friends and family to enjoy. For those that do undertake the annual planting of dove fields, it’s simply a labor of love to pass down the heritage of dove hunting to others.

Writing these words the day before my own 2017 opening day dove hunt, I can feel the anticipation that all dove hunters relish. Recalling that I earned a 12-dove limit on the same hunt last year, a new 15-bird limit is my new goal. A chicken perlot meal will be served but I need to bring enough water to stay hydrated out in the open and hot dove field. The doves fly differently each day depending on the wind and other conditions so your hunt plans may require some flexibility during the day, and its these type of adjustments that hunters find sporting.

It the same issue with Canada geese, since they can be using one area for days and then when a nearby corn crop gets harvested they leave for that new food source. Scouting for doves and geese will always play an important role before any successful hunt. If every bird hunt resulted in an easy limit and doesn’t leave you scratching your head about what went wrong, then the passion for wingshooting just would not be the same. Good Luck during the early season!

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (340 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com