As of June 2011 there are two dove hunting seasons in California. The first is September 1 through 15, and the next begins on the second Saturday in November and lasts for 45 days. To do any dove hunting in Lancaster you need to complete a hunter safety education course and get a hunting license first. Familiarize yourself with the species of doves found in the Lancaster area, because certain species are subject to bag limits.
Sportsman's clubs are a great way to get started in the sport of dove hunting. The Antelope Valley Sportsman's Club in Lancaster is an ideal place to begin. The A.V. Sportsman's Club has more than 1,250 acres of land and offers dove hunting during certain times of the year, as well as annual Dove Opener hunting events. Nonhunting observers are encouraged to accompany hunters to learn the basics.
California has strict regulations regarding dove hunting. Mourning doves, white-winged doves, Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves are all okay to hunt. As of 2011, spotted doves, Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves have no bag limit. Mourning doves and white-winged doves are limited to ten birds per day. Note that white-winged doves may be taken only in Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Lancaster is in Los Angeles county, so you cannot take white-winged doves in Lancaster proper; however, it is near both San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In California, there is no hunting of common ground-doves, Inca doves and ruddy ground-doves at any time.
Lancaster is a hot, dry climate. Expect very warm days and cold nights. Take plenty of water and a cooler for your doves. Take sunblock and a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. If you hunt with a dog, bring extra water for him. In the hot, dry climate of Lancaster it's a good idea to avoid hunting during the hottest mid-day hours. It also pays to avoid hunting during mid-day, when temperatures soar.
In addition to standard safety measures taken by good hunters, like proper gun handling, use of hearing protection and protective eye wear, dove hunters in the Lancaster area need to also be prepared for rattlesnake encounters. According to Jesse's Hunting and Outdoors website, many of the best dove hunting spots in California are also rattlesnake habitat. Wear snake chaps and be mindful of where you walk or reach. If you hunt with a dog, consider getting him some snake avoidance training.
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