Early-fall squirrel hunting will not lose much of its luster when August
turns to September, but the opening of seasons on several species of early-migrating
birds will add new dimensions to the Hoosier hunting scene.
Arrival of September next Wednesday will translate into season openers
for blue and green-winged teal, mourning doves, Canada geese, sora rails
and common snipe.
It is true, of course, that rail and snipe hunters are as scarce as
hen’s teeth in Indiana. It also is true that rails and snipe do not compare
favorably with teal, doves and Canada geese on the platter. But the seasons
on these early migrants does open on Sept. 1 and they offer some hunting
opportunity. The season on rails continues through Nov. 9, and snipe hunting
will be legal through Dec. 16.
Frankly, a broiled hockey puck would appeal more to me than either rails
or snipe, but it has been said that they are edible.
Incidentally, I do not have a sweet tooth for moorhens, either. And,
thankfully, these birds no longer are hunted in Indiana. However, the coot
is about the same kind of weed-eating citizen and I must say that I do
not look with great disdain on a din-din of coot breasts and thighs (baked
slowly with veggies in a nice wine sauce). That is somewhat academic at
this time, because coots are not fair game in Hoosierland until regular
waterfowl seasons open in October. The protection for moorhens is a federal
thing brought about by concern for the species.
And now to get to the real meat of this column, and incidentally, to
the fact that those other early migrants--namely teal, Canada geese, and
mourning doves--are pretty decent table fare, although the latter reminds
most folks of liver.
The season on teal will continue through Sept. 9; the season on Canada
geese through Sept. 15, and the first segment of the mourning dove season
through Oct. 16. Second segment of the mourning dove seasons will run from
Nov. 5 through Nov. 14, and dates for the third segment will be Nov. 25
through Nov. 28.
The final segment of the season on doves is designed to offer some opportunity
for upland game hunters to “bring home the bacon” if other upland species
are shy on hunts during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Here, by species, are some things you need to know if you are thinking
in terms of trying your luck these birds:
MOURNING DOVE--daily bag limit of 15, possession limit 30; shooting
hours from half an hour before sunrise to sunset. Those who hunt doves
must register in the National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program
TEAL--daily bag 4, possession limit 8; shooting hours sunrise
to sunset; HIP registration, federal and state waterfowl stamps, and non-toxic
shot (no lead) required.
CANADA GEESE--Daily bag limit 5, possession limit 10; shooting
hours half an hour before sunrise to sunset; HIP registration, valid state
and federal waterfowl stamps, and non-toxic shot required. Hunting will
not be permitted on Kankakee State Fish and Wildlife Area in the northwest,
and Hove Lake Area in the southwest.
GET HEP WITH HIP--To
be legal hunting any of the early-migrating birds, hunters must register
(it is free, but you must have a valid Indiana hunting license) for a HIP
This can be accomplished with a toll-free call: 1/800/WETLAND (938-5263)
You will need the number of your Indiana hunting license. Registration
will require about five minutes. Your HIP number should be written plainly
on your Indiana hunting license.
Hunting any of these birds without a HIP registration is a violation
of both state and federal laws.
The HIP program is designed to improve estimates on populations of migratory