Fifty public dove fields will be available across the state during the 2007-08 season through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Area program.

The 2007-08 mourning dove season will run as follows: Sept. 1–Oct. 6, Nov. 17-24 and Dec. 21–Jan. 15. Statewide legal shooting hours for the 2007-08 dove season will allow afternoon hunting only (from noon to sunset) for the first three days (Sept. 1-3) of the first season segment and then all-day hunting (from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset) for the rest of the season.

The daily bag limit is 12 birds per hunter. The state’s mourning dove season is set each year by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board within a framework of regulations and timetables issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The number of hunters will be limited by a public drawing on three fields, the Evans Property field in Anderson County, the Draper Tract in York County, and Donnelly Wildlife Management Area in Colleton County.  Hunting and hunter placement on all other public fields is on a first-come basis, beginning at noon.

For more information on the application process for these hunts, contact the DNR Clemson office at (864) 654-1671, extension 16 (Evans Property), the DNR Unit 2B office at (864) 427-5140 (Draper Tract), or the Donnelly Wildlife Management Area office at (843) 844-8957.

A county-by-county list of public dove fields and special youth hunts can be obtained by writing: DNR, Attn: Public Dove Fields, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or by calling (803) 734-3609 in Columbia. The Public Dove Field List is also available at County Extension Service offices, Soil and Water Conservation District offices and local DNR offices.

Hunters participating in public dove hunts on DNR Wildlife Management Area dove fields should be aware of special regulations in place on these fields. Hunters may not take shooting positions on public fields before noon. Hunters will be restricted to 50 shells per hunt on all Wildlife Management Area public dove fields, and shooting hours will end at 6 p.m. on all public fields during the first segment of the South Carolina dove season (Sept. 1–Oct. 6).

These regulations have been implemented to address concerns regarding hunt quality and hunter satisfaction on public dove fields, according to Tim Ivey, chief of DNR Wildlife Section regional projects.

"The goal of these regulations is to provide equitable opportunity for all participants on public dove fields, while increasing hunter satisfaction and enjoyment," said Ivey.

A limited number of openings are available on eight special youth dove hunts scheduled for Abbeville, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Sumter, Union and York counties. Participants are selected by pre-registration or drawing for all youth hunts with the exception of the Orangeburg County youth hunt, which has no pre-registration requirement. A list of youth hunts, dates and registration deadlines is included with this article.

Individuals who plan to hunt on these public fields will need a South Carolina hunting license and a Wildlife Management Area permit. Also, all persons hunting migratory birds (including doves) are required to have a migratory bird permit. Migratory bird permits can be obtained free-of-charge at all hunting and fishing license vendors. For more information click on the following link.