The day Louisiana hunters have been waiting for is at hand — dove season has arrived, meaning other seasons are not far behind.

Dove hunting opens Saturday and, despite muddy or flooded fields and bird populations scattered by Tropical Storm Harvey’s rains, thousands of adults and youngsters will take to fields from one end of the state to the other for a traditional Labor Day weekend hunt. This is often as much social outing as it is a hunting event.

Hunters may have to wear rubber knee boots instead of leather ones, or even tennis shoes, and they’ll look for the highest ground around, but they’ll be there. It is, in essence, a New Year’s Weekend for them.

And hunters stocking up on various supplies Friday through Sunday, including firearms and ammunition, pay no city or parish sales taxes, and only three per cent state sales tax, instead of the full five percent ordinarily collected.

Many nimrods will take spots on Wildlife and Fisheries Management Area plots or fields leased by the state. They need to remember that traditional lead shot can no longer be used on those areas. Only non-toxic shot, size 6 and smaller (7 1/2, 8 and 9), can be used.

Biologists are concerned about concentrations of lead from spent shot in soil around the plots and the potential exposure to wildlife in those areas. A fact of dove hunting is that most of the pellets in shells fired at the birds end up in the ground, not in the birds.

The lead concern caused rules for waterfowl hunters to change years ago, when lead shot was banned in favor of steel, non-toxic shot.

The Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday was declared by the Legislature in 2009 and has been observed annually since. Until 2016 it featured full exemption from state and local sales taxes, but budget woes that year caused legislators to amend the law to subject the purchases to three of the five percent state sales tax. Next July the exemption is supposed to return to the full five per cent.

Despite the change, the tax savings remain considerable these three days this year to the hunter preparing for his or her seasons ahead.

From firearms to archery equipment, apparel to camping gear, boots to binoculars, and a host of other items, hunters can save many dollars on top of those realized through merchants’ traditional end-of-summer sales.

The savings on a new ATV, for instance, can help pay for camo clothing, ammunition or arrows, and other items; all of which are also exempt from normal taxation.

From corn, milo, or sunflower fields, hunters will turn to ponds, sloughs, and marsh on September 15 for the opening of the special 15-day teal duck season.

Bowhunters in deer hunting Areas 3 and 8, which include most of Vernon and all of Beauregard, will sit on stands beginning September 16, while in Area 2, which has a portion of Vernon, opening for archers is October 1.

Gun season for whitetails opens October 21 in Areas 3 and 8 and a week later, October 28, in Area 2.

On October 7, camps statewide will fill, as families and friends gather for the annual opening weekend of the squirrel hunting season.

Come November, duck hunters get their turn, with different season dates for the East, West and Coastal Zones.