The first day of September signals the start of a Southern tradition. High noon is when the first of Tennessee’s three segment dove season opens. After the first day, hunters can take to the field a half-hour before sunrise and dodge the heat.

Tennessee’s 2018 dove season is again divided into three segments: Sept. 1-28, Oct. 13-Nov. 4 and Dec. 8-Jan. 15. Hunting times, other than opening day, are a half-hour before sunrise until sunset.

Doves are found throughout the various regions in the state, but the highest concentration is in farming areas. The hunter must have in his possession a valid state hunting license and Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit at all times while hunting. Hunters must have land owner’s permission to hunt on private land.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency manages dove hunting fields in each of the four regions. For more information and location of fields visit

The daily bag limit for doves is 15. There is no limit on collared doves. Doves not readily identifiable as collared doves will be considered mourning doves and will count toward the mourning dove daily bag limit. No person shall take migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area.

Locally, a few farmers and land owners who planted sunflowers back in the spring will likely have the most doves. Several farmers have been gathering corn for the last two weeks and that may scatter doves out across the region as the birds have a lot of fields in which to feed and rest.

Any auto-loading or repeating shotgun must be incapable of holding more than three shells while being used for dove hunting.

In addition to the start of dove season, the early season for Canada goose, brant, and blue, snow and Ross’ geese (light geese) also starts Saturday and runs through Sept. 16.

More information on Tennessee’s dove and other migratory birds can be found on the TWRA website ( in the hunting section. The 2018-19 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide can also be viewed on the website, the TWRA app, or a copy may be obtained at any TWRA regional office or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. This year’s guide also includes waterfowl regulations, which in previous years were included in a separate guide.


STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is

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