State of Montana Website Montana State Parks Website
  Home » News » News Releases » Hunting » Dove, Crane And Snipe Seasons Set For Fall
Dove, Crane And Snipe Seasons Set For Fall
Fri Aug 20 00:00:00 MDT 2004
Hunting
This news release was archived on Mon Sep 20 00:00:00 MDT 2004

The final mourning dove and sandhill crane seasons for Montana are were recently set by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission. 

DOVES

The statewide mourning dove season is Sept. 1-Oct. 30, with a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30. 

“The best time to hunt mourning doves is generally the first few days of the season,” said Jim Hansen, Migratory Bird Coordinator with FWP. “A cool front in early September with nighttime temperatures into the low forties will send a lot of doves south, especially the young-of-the-year.  Adult males tend to be the last to leave.”

Surveys indicate stable numbers of doves over the past 10 years in Montana.

SANDHILL CRANE

Sandhill crane season is set for Sept. 11-19 in permit only areas, and Sept. 25-Nov. 21 in the remainder of the Central Flyway. 

There are two subspecies of sandhill cranes in Montana in the fall, and two hunting seasons based on the number of birds in each population. 

The season for greater sandhill cranes of the Rocky Mountain population is Sept. 11-19. These cranes nest in western and central Montana and surrounding states and number about 20,000.  This population is closely regulated, with only a limited number of permits available to those who applied. Hunting is in three areas in the Pacific Flyway in western Montana and one in the Central Flyway part of the state (Wheatland and part of Sweetgrass Counties), with a limit of one crane per permit.

Sandhill crane hunting for other parts of the Central Flyway in Montana, north and east of Interstate Highway 90, is Sept. 25-Nov. 21. The bag limit is 3 daily and 6 in possesion.

Sandhill crane hunters in this area need a free permit that can be obtained from the FWP Helena office; from FWP regional offices in Billings, Miles City, or Glasgow; or from Medicine Lake or Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuges. 

Cranes in this portion of the state are known as lesser sandhill cranes. They migrate through Montana, but do not nest here. With a population of around 400,000 birds, more liberal hunting is allowed.  Recent research using satellite telemetry has shown that many of the cranes from this population pass through eastern Montana to nest in Siberia and winter in Texas. 

“It’s tough to hunt these migrating cranes,” Hansen said, “because they come through a wide area of eastern Montana and often don’t stop long at any one place.” 

SNIPE

The Wilson’s snipe season is Sept. 1-Dec. 16, with a bag limit of 8 daily and 16 in possession. 

Migratory bird hunters must be HIP certified before they purchase a conservation license by taking a few moments to answer harvest questions.

Regulations for webless species of migratory game birds are available on the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Hunting, and print copies will be available in late August at FWP regional offices and license providers.

The final mourning dove and sandhill crane seasons for Montana are were recently set by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission. 

DOVES

The statewide mourning dove season is Sept. 1-Oct. 30, with a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30. 

“The best time to hunt mourning doves is generally the first few days of the season,” said Jim Hansen, Migratory Bird Coordinator with FWP. “A cool front in early September with nighttime temperatures into the low forties will send a lot of doves south, especially the young-of-the-year.  Adult males tend to be the last to leave.”

Surveys indicate stable numbers of doves over the past 10 years in Montana.

SANDHILL CRANE

Sandhill crane season is set for Sept. 11-19 in permit only areas, and Sept. 25-Nov. 21 in the remainder of the Central Flyway. 

There are two subspecies of sandhill cranes in Montana in the fall, and two hunting seasons based on the number of birds in each population. 

The season for greater sandhill cranes of the Rocky Mountain population is Sept. 11-19. These cranes nest in western and central Montana and surrounding states and number about 20,000.  This population is closely regulated, with only a limited number of permits available to those who applied. Hunting is in three areas in the Pacific Flyway in western Montana and one in the Central Flyway part of the state (Wheatland and part of Sweetgrass Counties), with a limit of one crane per permit.

Sandhill crane hunting for other parts of the Central Flyway in Montana, north and east of Interstate Highway 90, is Sept. 25-Nov. 21. The bag limit is 3 daily and 6 in possesion.

Sandhill crane hunters in this area need a free permit that can be obtained from the FWP Helena office; from FWP regional offices in Billings, Miles City, or Glasgow; or from Medicine Lake or Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuges. 

Cranes in this portion of the state are known as lesser sandhill cranes. They migrate through Montana, but do not nest here. With a population of around 400,000 birds, more liberal hunting is allowed.  Recent research using satellite telemetry has shown that many of the cranes from this population pass through eastern Montana to nest in Siberia and winter in Texas. 

“It’s tough to hunt these migrating cranes,” Hansen said, “because they come through a wide area of eastern Montana and often don’t stop long at any one place.” 

SNIPE

The Wilson’s snipe season is Sept. 1-Dec. 16, with a bag limit of 8 daily and 16 in possession. 

Migratory bird hunters must be HIP certified before they purchase a conservation license by taking a few moments to answer harvest questions.

Regulations for webless species of migratory game birds are available on the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Hunting, and print copies will be available in late August at FWP regional offices and license providers.