Are mourning doves tasty?

The mourning dove is a common bird found throughout much of North America. Their cooing call is a familiar sound in spring and summer. Mourning doves are hunted as game birds in many parts of their range, which raises the question – how do they taste? In this article, we’ll examine the evidence on the palatability of mourning dove meat.

An overview of mourning doves

– Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
– Average size: 9-13 inches long, wingspan of 17-18 inches
– Coloration: Light grey-brown overall with black spots on wings
– Habitat: Open country with trees/shrubs, farms, rural areas
– Diet: Seeds, grains, berries
– Hunted as game birds in most of the continental US

Taste and culinary uses

– Meat is dark and lean
– Often described as tasting like chicken or other game birds
– Works well in stews, on skewers, breaded/fried, etc.
– Breasts and legs are most commonly eaten portions

Hunting regulations

– Fall hunting season in most states
– Limits on number of doves per day/season
– Requirement for small game hunting license
– Restrictions on method of take (shotgun, bow, etc)

Table of state-by-state hunting regulations

State Season dates Bag limit
Alabama Oct – Jan 15/day
Alaska Sept 1 – Jan 26 No limit


In summary, mourning doves are considered good eating by many hunters. Their meat is lean and mild in flavor. Hunting is regulated throughout their range, with most states allowing take during fall hunting seasons with daily bag limits. Properly prepared, mourning doves can make for an excellent meal.

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