Provided by Audrain County Conservation Agent

Dove season is just around the corner and starts on  Sept. 1 and shooting hours start at one half hour prior to sunrise and end at sunset. Fifteen Mourning, Eurasian Collared and White-Winged Doves may be taken during the hunting day. Twice the daily limit may be kept in possession. Permits which are needed to dove hunt are a small game permit and a migratory bird hunting permit. There are several exemptions to the small game permit, such as hunting on your own property, being age of 65 or older, and being under 16. A migratory bird permit is not needed for hunters under 16. Hunters under 16 need to be in the immediate presence of a properly licensed hunter or have hunter certification on their person while hunting.
Baiting during dove hunting is illegal. It is not considered baiting to manipulate crops or plants which have grown at the location which is going to be hunted. It is considered baiting to add any additional food source to the area which is going to be hunted or to attract game to the area which is going to be hunted. Scattering wheat onto a dove field would be an example of this practice. Remember to be safe while dove hunting and remember where the other hunters are and do not shoot level to the ground if at all possible.
Nuisance wildlife, whether it is raccoons, skunks, foxes or any other type of animal, will sometimes find its way into our backyards. In the spring, this is common with wildlife looking for a place to raise young. Usually, after the spring, summer sends wildlife away from the town areas somewhat, but areas still harbor wildlife within the city limits and they can become problematic at times.
During the summer months, animals have had their young and are usually looking for food, shelter and water. We will start with the food. Commonly on a person’s property, food for an animal will come in the way of trash and bird seed. Make sure you have a good locking type lid trash can and if you have bird seed, keep it picked up and take it in at night or you might even have to take it in for a bit during the problem. On shelter, look for anything an animal might be able to nest or den in. Unfortunately, it might be on a property that little can be done about. And finally water. All living creatures need water to live. Do not leave standing water around your property. This will also help your mosquito population around the area.
 If the animal does not have these items, commonly they will move on; if not they may move on with some encouragement such as the clanging of pots and pans. Wildlife are not always nocturnal and can commonly be seen during the daylight hours. During the summer months, several different diseases can be seen in wildlife, but are not transferable to humans. Mange, distemper and general malnutrition can be seen in wildlife. Remember, if you see such animals, stay away from them, do not try to pet them or take them to nurse them back to health.
If you have any wildlife information or questions, call me, Norman Steelman, Audrain County conservation agent, at 573-473-8000. You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you witness or have information about a violation. All information and names are confidential.