Hot enough for you?

It seems like every time I hear that question, I'm reminded that hunting season is at hand. For example, we're only a week away from deer season opening on private lands in the Lowcountry, and only a little more than three weeks away from the season that opens on public lands. And it's a season that extends until Jan. 1.

And we're only a few weeks away from opening day for another extremely popular hunting activity. The 2010-11 mourning dove season will run Sept. 4-6 (noon until sunset); Sept. 7-Oct. 9; Nov. 20-27; and Dec. 21-Jan. 15. With the exception of the first three days when hunting is noon until sunset, daily hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until legal sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day.

And just as there are a number of public deer hunting opportunities, the public also will have access to 42 public dove fields across the state. A county-by-county list can be found online at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/dove/pdf/dovefields1011.pdf. You can also obtain the list by writing: DNR, Attn: Public Dove Fields, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or by calling (803) 734-3886. The Public Dove Field List is also available at county Clemson Extension Service offices, Soil and Water Conservation District offices, and local DNR offices.

Special regulations are in effect on public dove fields. Entry is not allowed before noon; hunters are restricted to 50 shells per hunt on Wildlife Management Area public dove fields, and shooting hours end at 6 p.m. during the first segment, Sept. 4-Oct. 9.

Hunters must possess a valid S.C. hunting license, a Wildlife Management Area permit and a migratory bird permit (free).

Eight special youth dove hunts are scheduled, including a hunt in Charleston County where no pre-registration is required. Adults are not allowed to shoot on any of the special youth dove hunts.

So, "Hot enough for you?" is a good thing. That means hunting season is at hand.

--The deadlines for applying for public drawing deer hunts are approaching quickly. The deadline for a hunt on Oak Lea WMA in Clarendon County is this Friday. The deadline is Aug. 20 for hunts at Bear Island, Belfast, Bonneau Ferry, Botany Bay, Donnelley, Hamilton Ridge, Palachucola, Croft State Natural Area and Webb Wildlife Management Area.