ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The weather might not be changing, but for many Texans, the season certainly has. September first brings the opening to Dove season and the official start of hunting season in Texas. Taylor County Game Warden James Cummings said local hunters have taken note.

“Oh yeah, this is Texas. Texas is a hunting place… Some people look forward to this year-round. People come from out of state,” Cummings said.

But no matter where you’re coming from, you’ll want to make sure your affairs are in order before you hit the trail. The first day of September also happens to be the day that the license year begins, so all hunters will need to renew before heading out. That can be done at many local sporting goods stores, the State Park, or the Parks and Wildlife office or online.

“You can buy it online, and you’ll get an e-mail, a printed copy, and then you can load an app on your phone, and it’ll qualify as your license,” Cummings explained.

Another box to check is the Hunters Education Course. For those that haven’t had one, there is a one-time one-year deferral, but Cummings shared that hunters will have to complete the course the following year before they can get their license.

Hunting License being printed

When all that is done, there should be plenty of hunting to do. Cummings said the dove populations are looking good this year, especially following last year’s lull.

“Despite the drought, our Mourning Dove numbers are up over 40%, and our White Wing numbers are up over 20% over last year, which is phenomenal,” said Cummings.

Local gun store manager Levi Wolfe added that there are quite a few hunters already geared up and ready.

“This is the first day, and it’s the best sales day we’ve had… Dove hunting is some of the most fun you can have, I think. Just going out with a shotgun. Get some friends out there in the field and sweat it out,” Wolfe expressed.

Guns on display at B&B Guns and Ammo

So before you load up the truck, make sure you take time to check the date on that folded-up piece of paper in your wallet because according to Wolfe, everyone loves a good hunting story, even if you only share it with your friends.

“Go get ’em. Come tell us about it. Get you a new shotgun, and go get some more,” Wolfe said.

“Any particular stories come to mind?” asked KTAB/KRBC.

“I guess I’ll just keep them to myself for now. Tell them they gotta come in to hear them,” Wolfe responded.

The hunting seasons are set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department based on migratory patterns. The next big season will be the Mule Deer Archery season, which begins October 1.