Louisiana’s dove season opens at noon Saturday, just hours before the LSU football season opener in Arlington, Texas.
The hunting season’s first day will end at sunset, listed for 6:26 p.m. in the Baton Rouge area, which means hunters should be resting comfortably in front of their TVs for the near 7 p.m. kickoff.
In those six-plus hours, hunters are sure to find out:
A: The effects of the prolonged statewide drought —worse in the western and northern parishes.
B: How well their hunter’s eye and shooter’s aim survived the spring and summer.
C: If their prized retriever has retained his or her “nose” for the upcoming bird seasons.
D: That it’s hot and summer’s not over, not by a long shot.
The long-range forecast for Saturday’s opener in the Baton Rouge area is a morning low near 75 and an afternoon high in the mid-90s. There’s a small chance for rain.
What has held true for the pro, college and high school football players across Louisiana during the past three weeks, holds true for hunters, too: Begin drinking more water this week to help you cope with the afternoon heat.
Note: Remember that Saturday’s opener in both zones is the only one among the 70-day dove season with noon-to-sunset shooting hours. All other dove-season hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Plan to bring plenty of fluids into the field — no alcohol, please — and plan to find a tall, shady tree for your stand.
There are other reminders:
Though the dove season falls under federal guidelines, some youth hunts are opened to hunters 15 and younger, while others are for ages 17 and younger. Check public hunting sites for details.
All hunters need a fee-free Harvest Information Program certificate to participate in migratory bird and migratory waterfowl seasons. They’re available at all places that sell hunting licenses.
For duck and goose hunters, you might as well get federal and state waterfowl stamps when you get the HIP, because the special 16-day teal season opens Sept. 10.
If you are required to have a hunting license, you need a “basic” state license.
The state is divided into north and south zones. Each has different dates for its three splits.
• North Zone: Sept. 3-18, Oct. 8-Nov. 6 and Dec. 10-Jan. 2
• South Zone: Sept. 3-11, Oct. 15-Nov. 27 and Dec. 17-Jan. 2.
The boundary between the zones is La. 12 at the Louisiana-Texas line east to U.S. 190, then east Interstate 12, then east to Interstate 10, then along I-10 to the Louisiana-Mississippi line.
The daily limit is 15.