For many in Missouri, the opening of dove season Sept. 1 marks the start of hunting season.

Dove hunting in Missouri begins a fall season full of great outdoor opportunities. (Photo by Spencer Dietrich)

According to the MDC the mourning dove not only is the state’s most popular game bird, it also is the most democratic, attracting hunters from every walk of life.

This popularity results from the mourning dove’s prolific nature. A pair of doves can easily raise six broods of two chicks each nesting season, starting as early as March and persevering well into September.

Doves build flimsy, shallow nests, and rainy, windy weather reduces nest success, but that hasn’t been a problem this year, so good dove numbers are expected come opening day.

This year’s rainfall accelerated the growth of crops planted on many dove fields. Hunters should visit fields they want to hunt beforehand or at least call area managers for up-to-date information about field condition.

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