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By Jared Self, Collingsworth and Wheeler Counties—
SHAMROCK — September has always been a special month to me. Technically it’s the first month of autumn and the third of four months with only 30 days, but to me it is also the first month of hunting season.
As game wardens we go through the years by seasons. My years go by fishing season, water safety season and hunting season. Hunting season is by far my favorite, it’s when I feel like a game warden the most.
Dove season opens up every year on Sept. 1 and will run through Nov. 12. That being said, there are a few things I’d like to touch on to keep prospective hunters from getting in a bind.
To legally hunt dove, a hunter needs a hunting license, hunter education, a HIP certification and a migratory game bird endorsement.
One thing I frequently run across is a young hunter without a hunting license. Every hunter, regardless of age, must have a hunting license to hunt anything. However, hunters under 17 are exempt from other endorsements such as the migratory endorsement and hunter education.
Hunters born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 are required to show some sort of proof of hunter education, and Texas reciprocates other state’s hunter ed. HIP is an acronym for the Hunter Improvement Program. This is the department’s way of keeping track of a hunter’s harvest of migratory game birds. The person selling the license will ask a variety of questions on the number of migratory birds the hunter harvested the year prior and just like that, the hunter is HIP certified.
Another thing to be mindful of is the fact that quail season opens Oct. 31 and runs until Feb. 28.
If you’re hunting dove until Nov. 12, you might want to check your shotgun and check it again to make sure your plug is in the magazine. Once you have these things you’re ready to hit the field. Happy hunting!