In addition to valid West Virginia hunting licenses, goose hunters are required by federal law to purchase a federal waterfowl stamp and obtain a free Harvest Information Program registration card. All three must be carried while afield.
Shooting hours for geese are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The early segment of this year's goose season will run from Sept. 2-14. The three-part "regular" season for geese will run from Oct. 1-26, Nov. 11-16 and Dec. 16 to Jan. 31.
Like geese, mourning doves also are found statewide, but usually are most abundant near agricultural areas where grain crops are grown.
DNR officials say recently harvested fields are always good places to set up a dove blind or two. Some state-owned or state-managed wildlife management areas feature fields maintained to attract doves.
Two of the most popular public hunting spots are Mason County's McClintic WMA and Cabell County's Green Bottom WMA. Opening-day action usually starts slow at midday and picks up as the sun drops lower in the sky.
Dove hunters don't have to arm themselves as heavily as goose hunters. Although many hunters use 12-gauge shotguns, many others use 20- or 28-gauge models. Field loads of size 7, 8, or even size 9 shot are adequate. While non-toxic shot can be used, West Virginia state law allows lead shot for dove hunting. Auto-loading or pump-action shotguns should have their magazines plugged to hold no more than three shells.
No special stamp is required to hunt for doves, but hunters must obtain and carry a HIP registration card as well as a current West Virginia hunting license. The bag limit for doves is 15 a day.
After opening day, shooting hours for doves are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. This year's three-part season will run from Sept. 2 to Oct. 5, from Oct. 21 to Nov. 9, and from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4.
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com.