Doves anyone?

hate hot weather like slugs hate salt, or like dogs hate sirens. I hate summer almost as much as I hate horses. Luckily both Joyce and I share this hatred of summer temperatures or things could get really ugly at the Gilliland home this time of year. When it gets much over 80 degrees outside, I become a vegetable. I absolutely have to force myself to do anything out in the woods or at the lake. So when September looms on the horizon I can feel my cocoon begin to crumble around me with the probability that cool weather is afoot. It won’t be long until the air conditioner can be turned off at night and windows can be opened to cool the house with wonderful fall breezes. 

September brings with it a plethora of good things besides cool weather. The Kansas State Fair will be just days away. I love the fair, and I look forward to spending time in the Kansas Fur Harvesters booth at the fair talking to people about the advantages of fur trapping. Early duck seasons will be in the wings as avid water-fowlers prepare for teal season in early October. But first and foremost is the opening day of dove season September 1st. 

I enjoy waterfowl hunting, but upland bird hunting is not my favorite experience, partially because I possess the wing shooting skills of a four year old, so I’m not a very good or avid dove hunter. Most dove hunting is done in early morning or late evening by waiting for doves to appear at water holes to drink or by ambushing them as they come to feed along patches of wild marijuana or sunflowers. Just outside Inman are the McPherson Valley Wetlands owned and managed by the Kansas Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) where there is usually water and where there are always sunflowers, both wild and domestic, making the area a dove hunters paradise hunted by dozens and possibly hundreds of dove hunters each season. So even if my “old-timers” disease makes me forget the first day of dove season, I will be reminded at first light as that area just out of town will sound like military maneuvers are in progress. The little beggars zoom in-and-out like tiny missiles, and if you can hit them you can hit anything. Believe me there is no finer table fare than dove breast, but harvesting enough doves for a good meal can be a challenge.

This year, youth dove hunts will be sponsored on opening morning by Pheasants Forever, Westar’s Green Team and by the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. The Osborne County Pheasants Forever chapter in partnership with the KDWPT will sponsor a youth dove hunt for youth ages 10 to 16 on Sept. 1 and 2. Kids must be pre registered by calling Chris Lecuyer at the Glen Elder Area Office at (785) 545-3345, or John Cockerham at (785) 346-6527. 

The Westar Green Team is again hosting its annual youth dove hunt on September 1st and 2nd for youths 16 and under at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys. Hunters are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis, so call Shelly Gomez at 785-575-6355. 

The Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife federation will host a dove hunt for youth 15 and under Sept. 1 at Clinton Wildlife Area. To register, contact Dr. John Hill at (785) 550-5657.

Dove season is a great time to get yourself and your equipment ready for upland bird and waterfowl seasons while the air is still warm and you can still feel your fingers. Make sure your license and permits are all up-to-date and be sure to have a plentiful supply of shotgun shells, as you’ll most likely take lots of shots to harvest just a few birds. But like I said, if you can hit a flying dove, you can hit anything! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.


Steve Gilliland can be contacted by email at

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