Will the drought put the kibosh on dove season?

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POSTED: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 6:24pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 7:29pm

This record-setting drought has had a devastating effect on almost everything, and there is no end in sight.

And now, dove hunting season is coming up.

So we talked to the experts to find out if it’s even worth buying the shells…The answer is, yes. And actually, an emphatic yes.

The folks at Texas parks and Wildlife say go ahead and book the days off…it will be worth it.

After all, it is a right of fall. Dove season opens in Texas soon, in fact, in a matter of days.

In normal times, scenes like this would be pretty common come September first. But these aren’t normal times. It has been a miserable summer for farmers, ranchers, anyone who plants anything green.

But will the drought make for an equally miserable hunting season?

Larry LeBeau of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds us that as tough as it’s been down here…remember, the birds don’t live here.

“Folks have to remember that doves are migratory birds,” he said. “We do have birds that nest locally, but a good majority of the birds that migrate and come to Texas, they’re coming from the northern states. A lot of those northern states, they had moisture, they had rainfall, they had good rains in the spring and they had good nesting conditions. So, we will get a migration of these northern birds coming into this state.”

And what about food when they arrive?

‘Agricultural fields, which have been the traditional hot spots for dove hunting, they have been a total failure,” LeBeau sighed. “So folks are going to have to look for native food sources. And what I mean by that, in this area, I mean ragweed and croton. They thrive in dry and low moisture conditions.”

And as far as other seasons go?

“Once again, waterfowl,” LeBeau said, “They are migratory birds and up through the north and into Canada, there were good nesting conditions and reproduction of the waterfowl this year is actually very good.”

And the big one…deer season.

‘Shaping up to be a good harvest year,” he told us. “The body weights, and antler development on a lot of these deer is not necessarily going to be up to par. But there are deer out on the range this year.”

Larry says overall it will be a bit challenging, and hunters may have to change tactics.

Now all we need are some crisp September mornings…please.

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