Dove Hunting in Eastern Washington

by Jeremiah Blanchard
Dove hunting is best in open terrain near farmland.

Dove hunting is best in open terrain near farmland.

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Dove hunting is generally performed year-round in Washington state, and at certain times of the year specifically for mourning dove. Eastern Washington is home to numerous fertile farms and waterways. These features provide ideal roosting grounds for doves. For the dove hunter, a trip to eastern Washington can be a rewarding experience.

Seasons & Limits

Though season dates are always subject to change, the statewide mourning dove season generally starts on September 1st and lasts the entire month. Generally, there is a 10-dove bag limit, and a 20-dove possession limit during this time frame for mourning dove, though limits are subject to change as well. For rock dove and Eurasian collared dove, the season is open year-round statewide. Bag limits for Eurasian collared doves are put in place at the beginning of the season and are subject to change. Rock dove can be hunted all year with no bag limit, and these doves do not require a hunting license to hunt.

Habitat

The general habitat for doves in eastern Washington state is in open areas such as prairies, farmlands, and particularly, wheat fields. Doves generally roost in areas close to agriculture for a readily available food source. Prime roosting areas can be found in stands of tall trees, but not thick forests. Trees with dead limbs or little foliage near water sources and farmland are prime locations for doves to roost in eastern Washington.

Scouting

When out scouting for dove roosting areas, wheat fields are the best places to start looking. Trailing water sources adjacent to farmland with plentiful tree growth is also a valuable scouting technique to find the roosting areas. Typically, you'll need permission to access private property, especially commercial farmland. If possible, secure access to a wheat field in early morning or early evening for the best results. When out scouting, sprinkle out seed near roosting areas to increase your chances of bagging the doves. Doves are especially fond of corn, millet, safflower and sunflower seeds.

Guided Hunts

To better your chances for bagging a few doves in eastern Washington, paying a little money for a guided hunt is the way to go. This is especially helpful if you're new to the area and wish to learn the terrain and habitat that doves frequent. Hunting outfitters generally hold hunts on private land, which gives you exclusive access to the area without competing with other hunters. Several dove-hunting outfitters and guides are available; most offer professional services such as trail meals, gear and lodging.

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