Thank goodness state wildlife biologists shucked that old Southern notion that the opening day of dove season needed to be celebrated with a lunch before letting hunters get into fields for opening day.

Yes, for the younger folks, dove season opened at noon, and usually came during the hottest stretch of days known across our beloved state.

Not today: hunters will be able to get set up in fields and look to the skies one-half hour before sunrise Saturday, and, from reports, it looks to be a promising morning at least in the northern parishes.

The season opens late this year. Most opening weekends usually stretch across the Labor day holiday, but federal regulations restrict folks down South to a Sept. 1 opening day. That came Sunday, and Texas, as usual, opened its dove season that day.

Checking with a half-dozen landowners, it appears the big movement of doves into the southern parishes hasn’t happened — yet — and, with doves, that’s always subject to change.

Most years, folks living in Baton Rouge suburbs can predict dove-hunting success by the numbers of mourning doves showing up on overhead power lines. None has showed on the lines in Broadmoor, and haven’t seen any in the power line rights-of-way.

Folks living north of a line from Ferriday west to DeRidder are seeing huntable numbers of mourning doves. Remember the daily limit is 15, and while your allowed to have a three-day limit in possession, you won’t be able to have 45 doves to carry home if you hunt only the upcoming two weekend days.

Get ready

Check the weather forecast for the weekend?

Hot, desert hot, about 99 degrees hot at midafternoon, and little or no rain.

So, if you’re heading out, it’s good to start hydrating now, continue through Friday and remember to take along plenty of water on Saturday’s hunt. You’re going to need it.

Remember, too, to begin that same regimen for any dog your take to the field. I've seen seen hunters use Pedialyte to rehydrate their retrievers on these hot hunting days. It works. The solution is made for children, and works on your working dogs.

Bag limits

You can have four different dove species in the daily bag limit of 15 — mourning, white-winged, Eurasian collared and ringed turtle-doves. Possession limit is 45, but only after the third day in each split.

Because collared doves and ringed turtle doves are nonnative species, there is no bag limit, but only if the hunter leaves a fully feathered wing and head on the bird when taking it from field to home. If wing or head is removed it will count in the 15-per-day limit.

Reminders

You need a basic hunting license and HIP certificate to be legal to hunt doves.

If you need a place to hunt and missed Sunday Advocate's story about the five leased fields and the state management areas open for doves, then go to The Advocate's website: the advocate.com. Click on "sports," then "outdoors" and you will find the listings and other details. Hunting hours on those areas begin at noon, but get there early to get a spot because lots of hunters usually show up.

More retrievers

The annual Gueydan Duck Festival is among the most special weekends during south Louisiana’s summer, and mixed in with the State Duck Calling Contest is the festival’s three-division Retriever Trials.

In summer’s heat and humidity, the trials are a true test of hunter and his or her best friend and shows the year-round dedication to the working ability of their retrievers.

Kip Overley reported the top four in each division with the retriever’s name, its handler and their hometowns (where available) included:

Started Division: 1, “Rio,” Colton Castian, Saratoga, Texas; 2, “Remi,” Chloe Jones, Abbeville; 3, “Champ,” Snooks Sorrel; 4, “Stella,” Mac Francis, Lafayette.

Seasoned Division: 1, “Bella,” Craig Martin, Scott; 2, “Chief,” Jimmy Jukes, Crowley; 3, “Deuce,” Ben Paige, Lake Arthur; 4, “Easy,” Wes Meaux, Kaplan.

Finished Division: 1, “Hope,” Clark Kennington, Natchez, Mississippi; 2, “Bo,” Ollie Dupuis, Kaplan; 3, “Razz,” Dupuis; 4, “Stoker,” Kennington.