TWRA announces the opening of two seasons… Dove and early goose season opens Tuesday, September 1

Published 11:46 am Thursday, August 27, 2020


NASHVILLE – Dove season opens Sept. 1 at noon (local time), the annual start of one of Tennessee’s most long-standing outdoor sports traditions. This year’s opening day falls on a Tuesday.

Tennessee’s dove season is once again divided into three segments: Sept. 1 through Sept. 28; Oct. 10 through Nov. 1; and Dec. 8 through Jan. 15, 2021. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

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Doves are found throughout the various regions in the state, but the highest concentration is in farming areas.

The hunter must have in his/her possession a valid state hunting license and Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit at all times while hunting. Hunters must have landowner’s permission to hunt on private land.

TWRA manages dove hunting fields in each of the four regions. For more information and location of fields visit

The daily bag limit for mourning doves is 15. There is no limit on collared doves. Doves not readily identifiable as collared doves will be considered mourning doves and will count toward the mourning dove daily bag limit.

No person shall take migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area. Any auto-loading or repeating shotgun must be incapable of holding more than three shells while being used for dove hunting.

In addition to the start of dove season, the early season for Canada goose, brant, blue, snow, and Ross’ Geese (light geese) also starts on Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 20. Refer to the 2020-21 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide for daily bag limits.

Other hunting seasons that open Sept. 1 are moorhens/gallinules and rails (Virginia and sora). The Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit is also required to hunt these species.

More information on Tennessee’s dove and other migratory birds can be found on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website ( in the Hunting section.

The 2020-21 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide can also be viewed on the website, the TWRA App, or a copy may be obtained wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Each year, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides between 75 and 80 dove fields across the state for hunters from either privately owned leased fields or fields planted on wildlife management areas (WMAs).

Privately leased fields are usually harvested grains, like corn silage, while management area fields are planted small grains like sunflowers, millet, or wheat. For the last several years, hunters in Tennessee have harvested between 11,000 and 18,000 doves annually during the opening days of dove season.

This upcoming dove season, the TWRA will require customers to follow all local, state, or federal CDC or COVID-19 precautions and guidelines while hunting or participating in Agency sponsored events.

Youth dove hunting events will not serve food or refreshments nor hold non-hunting activities, like skeet shooting, etc., which may challenge social distancing requirements.  Door prizes, T-shirt give-a-ways, etc. will be held in a manner to eliminate close contact with others.

For specialty hunts, where hand-held drawings will be conducted for permits or staked positions on dove fields, special provisions may apply.

Our hand-held drawings may require customers to adhere to established guidelines specific to each site.

Examples for potential requests from the Agency for customers to follow may be staying in or near their own vehicles, following one-way vehicle or foot traffic signs or directions, and patiently waiting for drawings to occur due to delays from Agency staff conducting themselves in a manner to ensure the safety of both themselves and our customers.

Additionally, for all dove fields and Agency sponsored events please be aware of the following:

  • Agency employees will wear masks and/or facial coverings when near others.  Participants will be encouraged to do likewise.
  • Signage or informative flyers will be available for customers encouraging adherence to CDC Guidelines for the safe operation of dove fields.
  • Please maintain safe separation between registration tables or Agency vehicles and other hunters.
  • Limit the number of persons around registration tables or Agency vehicles and please social distance if lines form.
  • Signs and staffing will be available to direct the flow of persons through high-traffic areas in a manner that results in one-directional “lanes” where possible.
  • TWRA will provide hand sanitizer and a limited amount of facial coverings at a sanitation station for users.
  • Encourage customers to minimize touching surfaces and common areas.
  • Have a safe and enjoyable hunting experience!