An estimated 30,000 hunters will be in the field when Iowa’s dove season opens on Saturday.
The dry summer likely created conditions that will benefit dove hunters. Doves eat seeds, like sunflowers, corn and weed seeds, and prefer eating on bare ground.
If looking for a place to hunt, the Iowa DNR has a listing of public hunting areas with food plots for doves online at www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/mdove_plots.pdf.
Even without a dedicated food plot, hunters should look for any area that offers them concealment and small grains or weed seed, water or grit.
Since doves are considered a migratory game bird, hunters will need to have a plug in their gun limiting them to three shells and must register with the Harvest Information Program before they go hunting. Hunters may register online at https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/ia_customer/app/goHome.do or by calling
Hunters are required to have a valid Iowa small game hunting license and the habitat fee to hunt doves. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 doves with a possession limit of 30.
Iowa’s dove population is similar to last year and doves can be found in all 99 Iowa counties. Dove hunting is a great way to introduce individuals to hunting because it takes place when the weather is nice and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Heavy Boat Traffic Expected for Labor Day Weekend
Boaters heading out for the Labor Day holiday will likely find busy waterways and low water levels.
Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the low water will require boat operators to pay extra attention to hazards starting at the boat ramp.
“Use caution when loading and unloading the boat. Back in only as far as necessary to get the boat on and off the trailer to avoid backing off the ramp,” Stocker said. “Our lakes and rivers are really low so use caution when boating near shore to avoid any low water hazards that have recently been exposed.”
The weekend weather forecast is favorable for boaters and combined with a three day weekend should produce heavy boat traffic.
Stocker said ramps will likely be busy, placing boating etiquette at a premium.
“Everyone is excited to get on the water,” she said. “Be patient, and when it’s your turn be ready to launch. Courtesy on the water goes a long way in avoiding problems.”
She said given the drought conditions, boaters should operate in areas they are familiar with and slow their speeds.
Another way to prevent problems is for the boat operator to avoid alcohol while operating the craft.
“We want boaters to have fun on the water, but we don’t want that fun to end in a boating tragedy. Boaters need to keep safety in mind while on the water,” Stocker said.
Preparing for a safe day on the water begins in the driveway. Make sure to have a properly fitting life jacket for each person on board and that all of the safety equipment, including a properly working fire extinguisher, is on board.
“Remember, life jackets only work when worn,” Stocker said. “Life jackets float, you don’t.”
Campgrounds Filling for Labor Day Weekend
The last big camping weekend of the summer recreation season begins Friday and nearly every reservable campsite with electricity in an Iowa state park has been claimed. Campers who are wanting to partake but do not have a site reserved should plan to arrive as early in the week as possible to claim a first come, first served campsite.
“People just don’t miss spending these three day weekends in our parks,” said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.
“We are going to be busy so having patience and being respectful of your neighbors will be important. Campers should watch their noise level during quiet hours, only burn firewood in fire rings and leave the fireworks at home. It only takes one loud campsite to ruin the experience for a lot of people,” Szcodronski said.
While Labor Day Weekend marks the end of the summer recreation season, it also is the beginning of fall camping when the crowds are lighter, bugs are fewer, weather is cooler and the leaves begin to show all the colors in the spectrum.
“We’ve had a good year in our campgrounds and we hope to continue that into the fall,” he said.