Jared Langenegger

New Mexico-Mexico border is a hot spot for dove season. Just make sure your dove don’t fall on the wrong side of the border wall. 

Labor Day in southern New Mexico means many things, the smell of roasting green chile, cooler temperatures, and the start of dove season. After a long summer of chasing fish, it’s always a treat to get back to hunting. For those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to draw out for pronghorn or an archery hunt, dove is the first hunting season of the year. There is no better place in New Mexico to hunt dove than around Las Cruces.

Las Cruces offers a plethora of dove hunting opportunities. There are areas along the Rio Grande, next to pecan orchards where dove make their morning flights in droves. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument also has several water holes that attract dove in the evening. My favorite spot is on the border near Santa Teresa. On the border of Mexico and the United States lies cattle pens, operated by the Union Ganaderia Regional de Chihuahua. Here, dove can be found in abundance.

Hunters line the border every year, burning through boxes of shells in pursuit of dove. Mourning, white-winged and Eurasian dove fly in flocks, visiting the cattle pens to feed. Then when opening morning comes, a nonstop barrage of shotgun fire fills the air. Just east of the pens lays a 300-acre piece of state land. However, hunters with permission also flock to private ranches surrounding the pens.

Hunting along the border does have its challenges. It’s not uncommon for birds to fall on the Mexican side of the wall. Unfortunately, even your trained retriever cannot bring these back. After the first couple of days, the dove become smarter and avoid obvious hunters, so camouflage is a must. Also, make sure to take plenty of water, as temperatures can be in the 90s, even in September. Finally, don’t be surprised to see border patrol driving back and forth along the wall.

Hunters willing to suffer a sore shoulder are rewarded with limits of dove. After cleaning your dove, take them back and cook up some bacon-wrapped dove breasts with world-famous Hatch green chile.


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