Iowa’s dove hunting season begins Sept. 1

Iowa’s sunflower and wheat fields will be popular places on Sept. 1, when thousands of hunters slip into the standing flowers and field edges in the early morning darkness for the opening day of dove hunting season.

Dove season is Sept. 1-Nov. 29. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Daily bag limit is 15 (mourning or Eurasian collared) with a possession limit of 30.

Dove hunting can be done by nearly everyone regardless of skill level or mobility. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) includes a list of wildlife areas at www.iowadnr.gov/doves where dove plots were planted and identifies the access point nearest the plot. Hunters are encouraged to do some preseason scouting to see if the sunflower planting was successful or was damaged from the summer hail storms and to see which areas the doves are using.

Hunters looking for Plan B may want to focus on private land silage or hay fields, or where farmers harvested small grain fields, grazed pastures or feedlots.

Hunters are reminded that their gun must be plugged to hold no more than three shells. 

The Iowa online Hunting Atlas at iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Places-to-Hunt-Shoot identifies all county, state and federal land open to hunting, zone information and nontoxic shot requirements.

All dove hunters are required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). It’s free, fast and the information is used to help determine participation and harvest. Register by following the instructions at iowadnr.gov/doves or by calling (855) 242-3683.

DNR advising hunters to look for a change in HIP registration

Beginning Dec. 15, 2021, when the 2022 hunting licenses go on sale, all hunters who pursue migratory game birds will be required to register for HIP either through the Go Outdoors Iowa app on their smartphone, through a link at iowadnr.gov/waterfowl or at gooutdoorsiowa.com. Migratory game birds mean more than ducks and geese; in Iowa; it includes ducks, geese, coots, doves, woodcock, rails, and snipe.

Once registered, hunters will need to write a confirmation number on their license, print an updated copy of their license with the confirmation or take a screenshot of their confirmation on their phone to show proof of registration. Requiring a confirmation number will allow the DNR to better track migratory bird hunters – a federal requirement. 

The change was necessitated because registering through license vendors at the time of purchase has been inconsistent.

Iowa’s teal hunting season opens Sept. 1 for 16 days

Iowa’s 16-day teal only hunting season begins statewide Sept. 1, offering hunters an opportunity to enjoy Iowa’s wetlands and shallow lakes during the mild late summer weather.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes the September teal season available when the teal population is above certain levels. It offers hunters 16 bonus hunting days and does not take any days away from the regular duck hunting seasons.

Teal will be moving in to Iowa in mid- to late August and bird numbers can improve overnight with the change in weather up north.

Teal favor mudflats and shallow water so the current dry conditions across central and northern Iowa will likely be less impactful for teal and teal hunting than other species of waterfowl, which means hunters looking for ducks may want to key on the teal season.

Legal shooting hours begin at sunrise, which is different from the regular duck season. Hunters are required to have the state migratory game bird fee and federal duck stamp, in addition to their hunting license and habitat fee.

Registration open for Learn to Hunt program by DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a virtual program to that allows participants to ask questions from statewide experts and waterfowl hunting enthusiasts.

The Sept. 2 virtual workshop will feature sessions with DNR staff, waterfowl experts and hunters.

“For those interested in the challenge of waterfowl hunting, this virtual meeting is your chance to ask others about what it takes to become a better waterfowl hunter,” said Jamie Cook, program coordinator with the Iowa DNR.

Participants will learn basic strategies for hunting waterfowl such as proper equipment, where to hunt, safe shooting practices, and how to field dress, butcher and cook them. They’ll also have the chance to ask questions to the panel of experts.

The course runs from 6-7:30 p.m. and is designed for participants 16 years and older. For more information and to begin the registration process, go to https://license.gooutdoorsiowa.com/Event/ViewEvent.aspx?id=1958.

Participants will receive a Zoom link on Sept. 2, prior to the event.

The program is provided through a partnership with the Iowa DNR and Delta Waterfowl. It is part of a national effort to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters due to the overall decline in hunting and outdoor recreation.