OUTDOORS: More fall hunting seasons to open soon

BILL WEHRLE, C-T/LCL Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T/LCL Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri hunters are getting excited about dove season, which will open in just over three weeks on Sept. 1, but shouldn’t overlook some other hunting seasons that also open at that time or soon after.

Once fall hunting begins each year, it rapidly expands as one season after another begins in short order.

For example, two other Missouri migratory bird seasons also open on Sept. 1 – rail and snipe seasons.

Dove season will run through Nov. 29, rail season ends Nov. 9, and snipe season closes Dec. 16.

Since all three of these species are migratory, many of them will have moved on south long before the closings, so, if you want to hunt them, you need to get after them early on. A woodcock season will run from Oct. 15 through Nov. 28 and woodcock also are early migrators.

The rail, snipe and woodcock seasons don’t receive as much hunter interest as doves, but all are sporty fliers and fun to hunt. Rails and snipe are found in or near wetlands and can require the use of non-toxic shotshells.

Drawing a lot more attention than rails, snipe or woodcock, Missouri’s early teal season will run Sept. 11-26, and there should be some pretty good migratory flights of these sporty little ducks during that period.

Most area wetlands and ponds currently are pretty full of water, due to earlier heavy rainfall, and hunters will need to do some scouting to locate one or more for possible use.

All you need to hunt teal is a half-dozen decoys, your gun, some boots, and insect repellent. Find where they are using a wetland or pond, throw out a few decoys, stand (or sit on a stool) in the weeds, and get ready for some hot shooting.

Non-toxic shot is required and light loads of small shot works just fine. Daily starting time on teal is sunrise, however, not a half-hour before.

Fountain Grove’s wetlands usually attract large numbers of teal and are open for teal hunting on most of its 7,000 plus acres. It’s also open for dove, rail, snipe and woodcock hunting, so a combo hunt is possible. Check its regulations on checking in before you hunt and stay in areas open to hunting.

Other Missouri hunting seasons opening in the next couple of months include archery deer and turkey seasons Sept. 15-Nov. 12 and Nov. 24-Jan. 15, an early Canada goose season Oct. 2-10, and fall firearms turkey season Oct. 1-31

Squirrel and bullfrog seasons are open already, leaving the possibility of a “combo” hunting trip available if a hunter wanted to try that. A dove-squirrel or dove-bullfrog combination hunt might be fun.

Just a reminder that the Trenton Trap Club’s fall trap league will begin Aug. 19, so there’s still  time to call Dick Thompson at 660-359-1964 and sign up, either as a 5-person team or as an individual to be assigned to a team, to shoot. Some clay-target practice might improve your ability to hit flying targets like doves and teal. 

It won’t be long now before we’re (finally) outdoors hunting again. Clean your guns, gather your gear and be ready for the best time of the year – hunting season(s).

Good luck and be safe!

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column now appears in the C-T every Saturday and LCL every Monday)