Mourning dove. (Photo: Dave Menke, USFWS)

Dove season, one of Tennessee’s most long-standing traditions, began Sept. 1.

The 2017 season is divided into three segments: Sept. 1–28, Oct. 14–Nov. 5 and Dec. 8–Jan. 15. Hunting is allowed from a half-hour before sunrise until sunset.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the mourning dove is the most hunted and harvested game bird in North America, with an overall population of about 450 million birds and an annual harvest of 45 million.


About 100,000 dove hunters harvest an estimated 2 million or more doves annually in Tennessee. Found throughout the state, the highest concentrations of doves are in farming areas.

Hunters must have a valid state hunting license and a Tennessee migratory bird permit in their possession at all times while hunting. In addition, hunters must have a landowner’s permission to hunt on private land.

TWRA manages a number of dove hunting fields across the state. Click here for more information and the locations of fields.

The bag limit for doves is 15 per day. There is no limit on collard doves. Doves that can’t be readily identified as collard doves will be counted as mourning doves. Baiting of migratory game birds is not allowed.

Auto loading or repeating shotguns must not be capable of holding more than three shells when being used for dove hunting.

Tennessee’s early season for Canada geese also started Sept. 1 and goes to Sept. 15, with a daily bag limit of five. Other Canada goose season dates are Oct. 14–31, Nov. 25–26 and Dec. 2–Jan. 28.

Hunting seasons for moorhens/gallinules, as well as Virginia and sora rails, also opened Sept.1 and run through Nov. 9. Daily bag limits are 25 for gallinules and moorhens, and 15 for Virginia and sora rails. These species also require a Tennessee migratory bird permit for hunting.

View the Tennessee 2017–2018 waterfowl hunting guide here and the 2017–2018 general Tennessee hunting and trapping guide here.