After hunters acquire a plentiful supply of field loads for their shotguns, after they've got the warm weather camo clothes ready, and after they've checked on a good place to hunt doves, they should be sure they're HIP.
Harvest Information Program is the formal name, but everyone from hunters to license clerks just says HIP.
This is a mandatory federal program in effect in all states. It's free, but hunters should remember they have to register for HIP each year in each state they hunt. There is no cost, and the best way to register for HIP is when buying a hunting license. It's required for duck and goose hunting also.
The information is used for research and for setting future rules and regulations by wildlife authorities, both federal and state.
Arkansas' dove season first segment this year opens Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 24.
The second season segment is Oct. 7 to Oct. 22 and the third segment is Dec. 16 to Jan. 5, 2007.
Except for the adjustment of dates, there are no changes in dove hunting rules in Arkansas this year. The daily dove bag limit remains at 15, with possession limit 30.
Doves are migratory game birds, so federal rules of shotguns plugged to hold no more than three shells are in effect. There is no daily or possession limits on the Eurasian collared dove.
It's not difficult to distinguish between Eurasian and mourning doves. The mourning dove has a small trim body with a long tail that tapers to a point. Black spots are visible on the upper wing; with a brown color above the wing and a pinkish wash below. Their wings produce a fluttering whistle as the bird takes flight.
The Eurasian collared dove has a larger body than a mourning dove.
As its name implies, the collared dove has a dark gray/black band on the back of its neck. The tail is squared off, rather than pointed, as a mourning dove. It is a lighter color, gray-brown, with a purplish buff throat.