Last year, the state mourning dove hunting season was split for the first time, with three days allocated for hunters to take late-migrating doves during the opening weekend of upland bird season.
This year the season will run Sept. 1-Oct. 28 and Nov. 8-9, and more changes are in store.
In addition to mourning doves, the dove bag now includes white-winged doves, Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves.
The daily bag limit will be 15 doves, which can include any combination of these four species.
White-winged doves are native, migratory birds, which until the past few years occurred mainly in Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, Mexico and Florida. Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves are exotic species brought to North America from Europe as cage birds.
The range and numbers of these three species have increased substantially in the last few years, and several states have added them to their list of game species.
Wildlife and Parks does not anticipate much harvest of these new game birds because white winged doves are still not very common in Kansas and Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves nearly always occur in towns, where shooting is prohibited.
White-winged doves, Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves are larger than mourning doves. These three species have broadly rounded tails, unlike the mourning dove, which has a pointed tail.
As its name implies, the white-winged dove has white patches on its wings. Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves are lighter colored than mourning doves, and both have an incomplete dark band around the back of the neck.
An important change in Kansas dove season is that hunters should look for leg bands. Mourning doves were banded in Kansas and 25 other states during July and August this year, the first of a three-year banding project.
The objectives of this study are to estimate annual survival rates, harvest rates, distribution of the harvest and techniques for a future operational dove-banding program.
Those who harvest a banded mourning dove are asked to phone 1-800-327-2263 and report it. Banded birds may also be reported on the internet at www.pwrc.usgs.gov and selecting "Bird Banding Lab."
Hunters can keep the bands and will be provided a certificate identifying the age, sex, date, and location the bird was banded.