Is my dove field legal?
August 31, 2011 2 Comments
I hear that question over and over from hunters around the state. Sometimes they are asking me, but more often they are posing some hypothetical on a hunting forum. Also, more time that not, the person posing the question is trying to skirt the edges of the law to the fullest extent possible.
So how does a hunter go about making sure he is legal. First of all, read the dang law guys! Migratory birds are governed by federal law. 50 C.F.R. 20 provides the nuts and bolts or the do and don’ts so to speak. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks has gone a step further and produced a pamphlet regarding dove hunting.
Now for the CliffNotes version……..
What to do to help ensure a legal hunt if you are not in charge of the field:
- Speak with the landowner or the person in charge of the hunt and express you concerns about hunting in a legal field.
- Walk the field and look for signs of baiting (rocksalt, glitter, grain in piles, wheat spread in excess, top sowed wheat at various stages or growth indicating multiple attempts to bait).
- Make sure you have a current license with migratory bird and HIP endorsements.
What not to do:
- Don’t exceed 120 pounds of wheat per acre on tilled land.
- Don’t toss rocksalt or glitter on your field.
- Don’t toss grain like corn, milo, sunflower seeds, etc. out in the dove field.
- Don’t top sow wheat multiple times on the same field.
- Don’t top sow grain of any type in a clipped pasture.
So how do you prepare a legal dove field. There are a number of ways.
- Burn off a field (be careful with the fire!). Doves love to eat the seed that drops to the ground from a burn.
- Plant sunflowers or milo. When it matures, bushhog and disk a few strips through it beginning three weeks prior to the hunt. Bushhog and disk more strips in the field a week prior to the hunt.
- Bushhog goatweed fields and strip disk.
- Disk a field and evenly spread wheat one time. Don’t exceed 120 pounds per acre.
Any of these legal methods will produce an abundance of doves and you will have a much more pleasant experience should the wildlife officials show up to check the field.