Hunting season approaches

Dove Hunting season officially kicks off this Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. The season is open until Oct. 24, 2012, and runs again from Dec. 22, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013. Nolan County Game Warden Jake Simmering would like to remind all hunters young and old, inexperienced and veteran, to be sure all guidelines and regulations are followed during this hunting season. Hunters can pick up the Outdoor Annual (free of charge) anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold — Higginbotham, Wal-Mart and The Medicine Place are places in Sweetwater as well as online at The annual includes all fishing and hunting regulations for the state of Texas. Licenses for youth (under 17) are $7 and do not require endorsements. A basic adult hunting license is $25; with the migratory game bird endorsement (required for dove hunting), the license total is $32.Simmering would like to remind hunters of a number of specifics when out dove hunting this season. Hunting hours are from one half hour before sunrise until sunset. There is a bag limit of 15 birds per person, per day on Mourning or White Wing Dove. Collared Dove do not count towards the bag limit. Hunter education must be taken if you were born on or after Sept. 2, 1971. If you do not have it, a hunter education deferral may be purchased one time, and is good for one year. Anyone under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a licensed hunter that is 17 or older, and has, or is exempt from, hunter education. Children as young as 9 can take hunter education. Hunters are required to have the legal means and methods to hunt dove. For example, a shotgun cannot be capable of carrying more than three shells. Hunters are also not allowed to hunt over baited areas — no throwing out grain/seed to attract dove. It is also illegal to hunt from a vehicle. It is a hunter's responsibility to know what licenses and equipment are required, as well as what the regulations are. Anyone caught violating regulations is subject to a Class C Misdemeanor (in most cases), which carries anywhere from a $25 to $500 fine.Simmering is available to answer any questions regarding the rules and regulations of hunting season. He can be contacted at 325-669-0396. The Wildlife Crime Stoppers Hotline is 800-792-4263, if you witness anyone violating regulations.