Do I need a hunting license and tags to take Eurasian collared-doves?

Eurasian collared-dove. (Stock photo)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of CDFW

by California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Question: Do I need a hunting license and tags to take Eurasian collared-doves? (Charlotte)

Answer: To hunt Eurasian collared-doves, you need a license and an upland game bird validation (formerly known as a “stamp”). You don’t need tags. Hunting season for most species of dove occurs in two seasons: Sept. 1-15, and from the second Saturday in November for 45 days (this year, that’s Nov. 7- Dec. 28). But you can hunt Eurasian collared-doves year-round, and there’s no bag limit.

Why is there no bag limit? California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Migratory Upland Game Bird Biologist Megan Crane explains that the Eurasian collared-dove is one of the most successful terrestrial invasive species on the planet. Originally native to India and surrounding areas, the Eurasian-collared dove spread rapidly across Europe and Northwest Africa in the 1900s. In the 1970s, they were accidentally released in the Bahamas. They then dispersed to Florida and have been making their way across the continent ever since.

Expansion of the Eurasian collared-dove follows human development. They are very well adapted to human-dominated landscapes and thrive in agricultural areas. Because they are an invasive species, the greatest concern rests in their potential to outcompete native species and spread disease. While there’s not a ton of evidence that they’re outcompeting native species in California, Eurasian collared-doves are known vectors of avian trichomoniasis, a virulent pathogen that can wipe out vast numbers of our native band-tailed pigeon and mourning dove. As you can see, Eurasian collared-doves can be a bit problematic — which is why there’s no limit on taking them. Happy hunting, and we hope you bag a few!

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