"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes



New Dimensions to Hoosier Hunting Scene
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Scifres

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 (Hip). 

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 number.

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 birds.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page