Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Gamekeepers / Summer - Planning a Dove Field

Dove Field Prep attracts lots of wildlife

Dove hunting can mean a great deal of things to those who seek time in a prepared field over the years in pursuit of a small grey bird. Retrieving dogs are in play, perhaps football updates on your smart phone, and some of the best opportunities of the year to give a shout out about someone making a good shot. Making these scenarios come to life requires a commitment of time, money and land management to first attract doves to your field, and then to keep them making annual return visits.
What makes a dove field attract doves like a magnet? Certainly location has a great deal to do with it, a generous food source is also necessary, but sometimes it takes smaller land management tweaks along the way to improve your dove field. Over time land managers recognize when the field needs some discing, mowing or burning in order to tune it up. It takes follow-up scouting with boots on the ground after each field manipulation to better understand what is effective for your field.
Summer 2015 Cover Image

Larger fields of 15-acres or more in agricultural production areas with peanuts, wheat and corn likely already attract doves, and the task is simply how to congregate them into a small enough area to hunt. These type areas are more likely to yield multiple hunts over the entire fall and winter dove hunting season, and can accommodate more hunters. Contacts with these farming operations are cultivated over time by discerning dove hunters.

Before and After dove hunting season begins
Smaller fields of 5-acres have a limited amount of food to offer, but they can also be hotspots that yield one or two very good hunts. An area as small as 3-acres, perhaps along a powerline right-of-way could be an option for small acreage landowners who would like to try and attract some doves, but this type area might only support one or two guns during a dove hunt. The point is that if you want to try and attract doves then let your conscience be your guide.

Like so many other habitat management objectives, a dove field needs a commitment of multiple years in order to derive consistent success. Remember that a well-managed dove field can provide benefits to all wildlife before, during and after the season. When you find out that you are making noteworthy wildlife observations in your dove field all year long, then that’s the true reward for all your efforts.

To join the Mossy Oak Gamekeeper club and receive a hat, Biologic seed samples and magazine subscription click here.

To view past blog entries from Gamekeepers magazine click Spring 2015 - Winter 2015 Fall 2014 - Summer 2014 - Spring 2014 - Winter 2013 

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