Mourning dove hunting

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A great way to start

Whether its mourning dove, squirrel or rabbit, getting started small game hunting is literally a walk through field and forest. It's a great way to learn as you observe your surroundings and what happens around you.

Where can I go

Unlike some states, Minnesota offers millions of acres of public land on which you can hunt. Use our hunting lands guide to help you research, scout and explore state, federal and county lands for those perfect spots.

Know your birds

Identify mourning doves accurately to avoid shooting birds protected by state and federal migratory bird laws. When in flight, the Common nighthawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer and Meadowlark can be confused with mourning doves.

Seasons

SeasonDates
StatewideSept. 1 - Nov. 29

Shooting hours

½ before sunrise to sunset (Sunrise and sunset times)

Limits

Daily

DatesLimit
Sept. 1 - Nov. 2915

Possession

DatesLimit
Sept. 1 - Nov. 2945

Regulations

  • Compliance with the migratory bird harvest information program (HIP) is required for licensed hunters.
  • Shotguns used when hunting doves must not be capable of holding more than three shells. You may use a plug.
  • Motorized decoys may be used to take doves. Remote controls may be used.

Tips

  • Pre-season scouting is best in the morning and late afternoon when doves are most active.
  • Doves are most abundant in agricultural areas of western and southern Minnesota.
  • Hunt in areas between food, water, grit and roosting locations.
  • Doves often feed in wheat, oat and sunflower fields. Landowner permission is required to hunt private agricultural fields.
  • Doves prefer to feed on the ground so shredding, mowing or discing a crop or crop residue can make an agricultural field more attractive.
  • Doves fly 30 to 40 mph and can reach 60 mph. Practice estimating extra wingshooting lead distance.
  • Downed doves blend well with vegetation. Mark and retrieve birds immediately. Dogs can be very useful in retrieving doves.
  • Early dove season weather may be hot. Bring sufficient water for your dogs.
  • Shooting doves or other game birds from power lines is unethical.

Learn to hunt

Do you value strong connections to your outdoors and the food you eat? Are you looking for a new way to interact with the fields, woods and waters around you?

Please check out our mourning dove hunting how-to guide to get started.