The 2017 early dove season opens Thursday

The 2017 early dove season opens Thursday around the state and hunters are reminded of a few rules and regulations that they must follow.

All hunters must have a valid hunting license. All hunters 18 years of age and older must also have an Arizona migratory bird stamp on their license.

Youth hunters ages 10-17 only need a valid hunting license. No stamp is required.

The limit for doves is 15 per day. Possession limit after day three of the hunt is 45 birds, with no more than 30 being whitewings.

Hunters are reminded that since doves are migratory birds, shotguns can hold a maximum of three shells. Semi-autos and pump guns should be checked before you go into the field.

Other important regulations include knowing the hours that you are allowed to hunt. There is a page in the Arizona regulations that tell hunters the times based upon where they are in Arizona.

Hunters are not allowed to hunt within a quarter mile of an occupied dwelling. They cannot shoot from, into or across a road or railway in Arizona.

Be respectful of private landowners and ranchers. On these hot days, cattle must water. If hunters are hunting around a drinker or stock tank, let the cattle come into water.

Don’t clean birds in a drinker. Feathers can get into the valves and let all the water in a storage tank run out. Remember one feathered wing must remain on the bird until you reach home.

If hunting in or around an area that is thick with trees or underbrush, choose shots wisely. Don’t shoot birds that will fall somewhere they can’t be retrieved. Make a good honest effort to retrieve any bird that falls.

Be careful of rattlesnakes this time of the year. They are out and active.

If hunting with friends, make sure to keep the birds separate not only in the field, but on the drive home too.

Make sure guns are unloaded when in a vehicle. Yes, in Arizona it is not against the law to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle, but it is not safe.

Remember the four elements of TAB+1 when hunting:

Treat every firearms as if were loaded.

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Be sure of your target and beyond.

+1 keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

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