It's always the same. As the Summer fun of lake days and fireworks fades into August, there's an itch that starts developing deep within every Oklahoma outdoorsman. The opening day of the hunting season is September 1st, and dove is on the menu.

It's a little ironic that the first prey of the season is the most challenging to hunt. I mean, sure, you technically just sit on the edge of a field and wait for them to fly by, but it's never that simple.

The humble dove is famous for its wildly changing flight. It flutters around in what can only be described as a random pattern of flight as if it were dogfighting in TopGun. It's a tough creature to harvest, especially in the early days of the season. It's the type of game that you could plan and have everything set up perfectly but still come away with nothing to show for those efforts.

So what do you need to hunt dove in Oklahoma?

Odds are, you'll need the basics every hunter needs in Oklahoma. If you're between the ages of 10 and 30, you'll need a Hunter Education Certificate. If you're retired or active duty military, you don't need this. While there are in-person classes for this, I'd highly recommend you explore the online certification process from the comfort of your own couch. It's geared towards kids, so it's really rough having to sit through the classroom-style course.

The next thing is an Oklahoma Hunting License plus the HIP migratory bird federal permit. It's an easy process to apply and print one out on the ODWC website. They cost a minimum $25 for residents, and the HIP permit is free through the ODWC website. Even if you have a lifetime hunting license, you still need to acquire that HIP permit.

Next, you need a place to hunt. While most people know a guy that has a place...... this is the real challenge for the average Oklahoma hunter. Most lease land is unavailable at this point unless you're willing to pay a steep premium, but there are public lands available to all. The only downside is having to share it with everyone else.

There are a handful of places within a reasonable driving distance to Lawton where you can hunt dove on public dove-managed fields, but immediately around Lawton, there are no resources through the wildlife department. Before you hop off into the Oklahoma Land Access Program website, the land available to us in SWOK is much better suited for quail, deer, and turkey.

You'll also need to be pretty handy with your trusted shotgun. Dove is hard to shoot, but you can't develop this skill without taking your shots. It will be aggravating but fun to learn, especially if you have some good friends to go with. If it's your first time, don't develop Gear Acquisition Syndrome - you don't need a bunch of stuff to hunt. Dad was successful in jeans and plaid shirts... Don't let the guy at the sporting goods counter see you coming.

Lastly, you'll need to know how to cook your harvest. For dove, we like to spatchcock and smoke them on a cedar plank like salmon. When it hits an internal temp of 165°, toss the dove in the trash and eat the board.

Every question/answer left can be found here.

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