Dove season coming around earlier this year

HARLINGEN — South Texas wing shooters can begin to plan now for what will be their earliest dove season opener since 1950.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have modified the usual late September opening day of the regular dove season, and this fall the date will be Sept. 14.

Moving up the opening date for the regular dove season presumably will satisfy long-held complaints by hunters in the 54-county South Zone, who often see dove numbers decline significantly later in the season as the birds move out of the area.

Valley counties formerly in what was known as the Special White-winged Dove Zone are now in the South Zone.

The 2018-19 regular dove season beings Sept. 14 and runs through Oct. 30, then begins again on Dec. 14 and runs through Jan. 21.

Additional dove hunting days will be available during the Special White-winged Dove season on Sept. 1-2 and 8-9. Special regulations will apply.

In other action, TPWD:

After re-evaluating a proposal that would permit the use of air guns and arrow guns to take certain game animals, game birds, alligators, and furbearers, the TPWD Commission rescinded the rule they adopted in March and instead requested staff to modify their recommendations and propose new rules to be considered in August.

Shortened the Eastern spring turkey hunting season in Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper, Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, and Sabine by one week while retaining the current closing date of May 14. The Commission also approved closing the Eastern turkey season in Upshur and San Augustine counties.

Opened in Lynn County a nine-day buck-only mule deer season with no special archery season.

Set a 20-inch minimum outside antler spread of the main beams restriction on mule deer bucks in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Motley and Hall counties.

Clarified that deer antler restriction regulations that state in each county where antler restrictions are imposed, a person who takes a buck in violation of antler restrictions is prohibited from subsequently harvesting any buck deer with branched antlers on both main beams in that county during that current deer season.

Adopted changes that simplified archery regulations by remove requirements for broadhead hunting points to have two cutting edges and a cutting width of 7/8 of an inch. Also removed were the minimum pull requirement of 125 pounds and the minimum crossbow stock length of 25 inches.

TPWD hunting changes

 Open 2018 South Zone dove season Sept. 14

 Adopt changes that simplified archery regulations by removing requirements for broadhead hunting points to have two cutting edges and a cutting width of 7/8 of an inch

 Clarify that deer antler restriction regulations that state in each county where antler restrictions are imposed

For more information, or to view 2018-19 hunting seasons and regulations, go to https://tpwd.texas.gov/