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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of shotgun fire for the next couple of months. It’s that time of year again — dove season!

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Last year Texas set a record for the number of doves killed. In all, 1.8 million birds were harvested. But Shaun Oldenburger, the Dove Program Leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, believes this year could be even better.

“If everything goes well, the hunters are out there and the birds cooperate,” he said. “I think it’s gonna probably be… we’re gonna surpass the number we did last year.”

According to Oldenburger,  the dove hunting industry in Texas has boomed with there being more places to hunt than ever before.

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All the rain we had in May and June is also contributing to what experts say will be a record dove hunting season. Oldenburger says the rain helped grow plants that doves feed on. “Based on our surveys, probably the largest numbers of white-winged doves we’re gonna see in any hunting season is this year in the history of Texas.”

There’s around some 1,400 acres of public, federal hunting land in Tarrant County, mostly around Benbrook Lake. The state also has public land available for hunting in Rockwall and Grayson Counties. There are leases on private land available in Melissa, Prosper, McKinney and Frisco.

Dove hunting season in northern and central Texas starts today and runs through October 25. You are required to have a license to hunt and anyone applying for a license must undergo hunter training. Firearms and other weapons, used on appropriate sized land, include shotgun, air rifle or pistol, BB gun or bow and arrow.

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