Upland Season Coming Up!
California's north state mourning dove hunters will kick off the year's traditional fall upland game bird hunting with their usual, late-summer, 15-day season beginning Friday, September 1, according to bird hunting regulations adopted by the state Fish and Game Commission.

Commissioners approved the new 2000-2001 resident and migratory upland game bird rules on August 4. The regulations cover hunting seasons for quail, chukars, grouse, turkeys, snipe, ptarmigan, pheasants, crows, doves and band-tailed pigeons.

Hunters must possess a valid 2000-2001 hunting license and an upland game bird stamp to pursue the upland bird species. This year's resident license costs $28.60 and the upland stamp, $6.05.

Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for all but two seasons. For pheasant hunting, it is 8 a.m. to sunset; for spring wild turkey hunting, it is from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m.

Fish and Game's Region 1 office in Redding said most of the new hunting rules duplicate those of last season. Regional field observations indicate good numbers of most species, especially quail and "forest" grouse, the DFG said.

Hunters in pursuit of the various upland bird species will do so in the vicinity of water. All the birds go to water at least once a day, a need that will be particularly significant to hunting tactics as the unusually long, hot, dry summer wanes, according to biologists.

Calendar date shifts to provide Saturday openings for all birds but dove will give early mountain quail hunters an extra week this year, with a season of September 9-October 20, to precede the October 21-January 28 season for both mountain and valley quail. The two-day northeastern sage grouse hunt begins on the second Saturday of September this year — for a season of September 9-10 — rather than the first Saturday.

Based on reports of improved bird numbers, commissioners also approved a doubling of the possession limit for band-tailed pigeons — setting the new limits at two birds per day, four in possession. They also approved the use of certain pellet-firing air rifles for upland game birds, with a .20-caliber minimum for turkeys.

Seasons and bag limits for resident and migratory upland game birds in the northern end of California are:

Mountain quail: September 9-October 20. Limit 10 per day, 20 in possession.
Mountain and valley quail: October 21-January 28. Limit 10 per day, 20 in possession.

Chukar: October 21-January 28. Limit 6 per day, 12 in possession.

Sage grouse: September 9-10. Limit two per day, two per season.

Blue and ruffed grouse: September 9-October 9. Combination limit, two per day, four in possession.

White-tailed ptarmigan: September 9-17 in Alpine and parts of Mono counties. Limit two per day, two per season.

Pheasants: November 11-December 10. Limit, two males per day for opening weekend; three males per day beginning on the third day. Possession limit, double the daily bag limit.

Common snipe: October 21-February 4. Limit 8 per day, 16 in possession.

Fall turkey: November 11-26. Limit one bird of either sex per season.

Spring turkey: March 31, 2001-May 6, 2001. Limit one bearded turkey per day, three per season.

Dove: September 1-15 and November 11-December 25. Limit 10 per day, 20 in possession.

Band-tailed pigeons: September 16-24 in the north. Limit two per day, four in possession.

American crow: December 2-April 4. Limit 24 per day, 48 in possession.

Fish and Game said separate archery or falconry seasons, or both, exist for pheasants, quail, chukar, sage grouse, blue and ruffed grouse and ptarmigan. Free regulation booklets detailing the hunting rules are expected to be available later in August.

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