Florida, known for its pristine beaches and diverse wildlife, has a hidden gem for hunting enthusiasts – dove hunting. Before you grab your shotgun and travel to the fields, it's critical to learn Florida's dove season dates and limits. This will not only ensure a successful hunt, but also keep you on the right side of the law.

In this post, we'll explain dove hunting in Florida, and provide you with vital information such as season dates, licenses, and regulations for a great and responsible hunting trip.

What Can You Hunt In Florida Dove Season?

The reason why Florida attracts more and more hunters for dove hunting is because of its beautiful scenery and nice weather. The state's pleasant and sunny climate attracts both migrating and local dove populations, making it a perfect destination for hunting.

The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) and the White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) are two of the most common dove species you'll see while hunting in Florida.

These doves are identical in some ways but they also have distinct traits, habitats, and behaviors that make them intriguing hunting subjects. Let’s check it out:

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are one of the most common and recognized dove species in North America, and Florida is no exception.

Mourning Doves can be found in a wide range of habitats, including farmlands, open woodlands, suburban areas, and even along the sides of roadways. They are highly adaptable and flourish in regions where food and water are plentiful.

Mourning Doves are mostly ground feeders, hunting for seeds from a variety of plants such as sunflowers, grasses, and agricultural crops. During dove season, hunters frequently set up near their favorite feeding areas, creating ideal hunting conditions.

White-winged Dove

White-winged Doves are easily identified by their brilliant white wing patches, which are visible when they fly, as the name implies. These doves add a distinct flavor to Florida's dove-hunting environment.

White-winged Doves are often found in more urban and suburban areas, including parks and residential neighborhoods.

These doves are well-known for their love of seeds, fruits, and grains. They are frequently seen sitting in trees or scavenging on the ground for fallen fruit.

Florida Dove Season Dates&Limits

Here are the essential details for the upcoming dove hunting season:

Dove (Mourning and white-winged):

  • Sept. 23 - Oct. 15 (afternoon hunts only)
  • Nov. 11 - Dec. 3 (afternoon hunts only)
  • Dec. 19 - Jan. 31 (morning&afternoon hunts)

*The daily bag limit is 15, and the possession limit is 45 per hunter.

Migratory Bird Hunting Season In Florida

Except for the dove, there are some migratory birds that you can hunt in Florida on various season dates.

Species/Season Season Dates Daily Bag Limit Possession Limit
Crow Aug. 12 - Oct. 29 (Sat. & Sun. only)

No Limit

No Limit

Rail (Sora and Virginia) Sept. 1 - Nov. 9

25

75

Common gallinule (Moorhen) Sept 1 - Nov 9

15

45

Canada goose (W) Sept. 2-24 5

15

Nov. 18-26, Dec. 1 - Jan. 30 5 15
Duck (W) Sept. 16-20 (teal and wood duck only)

/

3 times the daily bag limit
Sept. 21-24 (teal only)
Nov. 18-26
Dec. 9 - Jan. 28
Snipe Nov. 1 - Feb. 15

8

24

Coot Nov. 18-26

15

45

Dec. 9 - Jan. 28
Light Geese (Snow, blue and Ross') (W) Nov. 18-26

15

No Limit

Dec. 9 - Jan. 28
Merganser (Common, red-breasted, hooded) (W) Nov. 18-26

5

15

Dec. 9 - Jan. 28
Woodcock Dec. 18 - Jan. 31

3

9

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Nov. 11 and Feb. 10

/

/

Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days Feb. 3-4

/

/

a hunter is on the way

Florida Dove Hunting License

Hunting License Fees

  • Annual Resident: $17.00
  • Five-Year Resident: $79.00
  • Annual Resident Sportsman's License: $80.50
  • Annual Resident Silver Sportsman's 64+: $13.50
  • Annual Resident Gold Sportsman's License: $100.00
  • Annual Resident Military Gold Sportsman's License: $20.00
  • Resident Youth Hunting License: $17.00
  • Resident Youth Gold Sportsman's License: $100.00
  • Annual Non-Resident: $151.50
  • Ten-Day Non-Resident: $46.50

Lifetime hunting license:

  • Age 4 or younger: $201.50
  • Ages 5-12: $351.50
  • Ages 13 and older: $501.50

License Requirements

Before you start your dove hunting excursion in Florida, be sure you have all of the proper licenses and permits. The following are the key licenses and permits you will require:

Hunting License: All hunters must have a valid Florida hunting license. A hunting license can be obtained via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), approved retailers, or municipal tax collector's offices. The licensing fee varies according to your resident status and whether you choose a short-term or annual license.

Migratory Bird Permit: To hunt migration birds, all hunters not only need to have a valid hunting license but also a migratory bird permit. This permit is exclusive for shooting migrating birds such as doves. It is free.

It's important to note that for those who were born after June 1, 1975, you must have completed a hunter safety course in order to acquire a hunting license in Florida that allows you to hunt with a firearm, gun (including a muzzleloading gun), bow, or crossbow.

Before being awarded a hunting license, anyone fitting this criteria must submit a valid hunter safety certification card.

Furthermore, if you have a hunter safety card or certificate from another state, it will be accepted in Florida. It's important to remember, however, that all Florida recreational hunting license requirements still apply.

Dove Hunting General Regulations

  1. Shooting hours is one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
  2. No trap, snare, or net can be used for taking migration birds.
  3. Rifle, pistol, swivel gun, and shotgun should be smaller than 10 gauge. And total capacity of a shotgun should be less than three shells.
  4. It is not allowed to use of any motor vehicle or aircraft of any kind.
  5. It is not allowed to use live birds as decoys and electrical bird calls or sounds.
  6. No baiting for dove hunting and any other migration birds.

FAQs About Florida Dove Hunting

1. Can you bait dove in Florida?

No, it is illegal to bait doves in Florida. Baiting involves placing food, grains, or other attractive materials to lure doves to a specific area for hunting. In Florida, it is strictly prohibited to hunt doves over baited areas.

2. Do you need a hunting license to hunt dove in Florida?

Yes, you need a valid Florida Hunting License to hunt doves in the state. This license is a fundamental requirement for all hunters and provides legal authority for hunting activities. Make sure to also have a Florida Migratory Bird Permit when hunting migratory birds like doves.

3. When can you dove hunt in Florida?

In 2023, the season runs from September 23 to October 15. Dove hunting seasons in Florida vary from year to year, so it's important to check the current dates.

4. What time does dove season start in Florida?

Dove hunting in Florida typically begins at sunrise. The exact sunrise time varies depending on your location in the state and the date, so it's a good idea to check a reliable source for the sunrise time on your hunting day.

5. What is the limit on dove hunting in Florida?

In Florida for 2023, the daily bag limit for dove hunting is 15 doves per day, and the possession limit is 45 doves. It's essential to adhere to these limits to ensure ethical and legal hunting.

6. What time in the afternoon is best for dove hunting?

Doves tend to be more active during the late afternoon, closer to dusk, when they are feeding before roosting for the night. It's advisable to scout the hunting area in advance and pay attention to the doves' behavior to determine the best time for your hunt.

Conclusion

For enthusiasts, Florida dove hunting is an exciting and enjoyable activity. You can prepare for a successful and pleasurable dove hunting season in the Sunshine State by familiarizing yourself with these commonly asked questions and complying with the state's laws.

To ensure a safe and responsible hunting experience, keep up to date on the newest regulations and guidelines. Good luck with your hunt!

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