Consider Small Plots for Future Dove Hunting

 

Consider Small Plots for Future Dove Hunting

By Darren Shepard

BFMG Staff

Just about every dove hunter has put up their cash and took a chance on a paid dove shoot.  Many times, the hunt is great and others, well not so much. If you don’t have a farm or buddies, who enjoy a “shoot,” finding a spot for an early fall dove shoot can be tough. Another option to consider might be your own deer hunting property or lease and an existing food plot depending on your geographic location.

Image: Ceil Chapman

One of my best dove shoots was on a tract of land that was barley 2 acres. There was a small pond, a gravel pit, and enough sunflowers to bring in birds. In fact, with just 3 of us on this “spot” a limit was taken in very short order by everyone. It certainly is not a hunt in Argentina or South Texas, but it was a lot of fun!

Creating a dove field at your deer club may be a by- product of your existing food plots for the coming season. If the crop is not right for dove, developing a small area is not difficult and may pay big dividends. Plus, creating a small dove shoot brings a few club members, buddies or family together for a good day plus an opportunity to harvest a few birds.

Get busy and check it out today but first consider a few questions.  Do you have a plot that is not performing well? Perhaps a field that needs to be burned if legal?  What about a water source?  Have you seen many doves on your “club” over the past few seasons?  What equipment, seed and supplies will I need? Is it worth it?  At my hunting club, just about all the equipment is on hand, so creating a small dove shoot is easy to do.  But you need to get started, now!

May is the perfect month for planting. With certain practices for plants such as “Sunflowers’, they need to get into the ground now since it will take about 100 days for sunflowers to reach their full potential. This year our field is planted with Peredovick sunflowers. These grow about 3 feet or so in height and produce small sunflower seeds which are perfect for dove, quail and other species. A 50 LB bag is inexpensive and will cover an acre easily. Row planting is best but, with this seed, if the soil is prepared correctly, can be broadcast across the plot. The next step would be to cover the seed with a solid “drag” behind the tractor or 4 -wheeler and keep hoping for summer rains!  Planting other crops such as brown top millet, corn or sowing fall wheat work well too.  Make sure your food source is ready and check the best times for planting in order to gain the best yield. It is very important to do your research and check both state and federal regulations regarding legal “planting and farming “practices for dove.

Another key advantage of a small field or plot is the fact it is inexpensive to adjust the soil ph, and the use of lime and fertilizer is a key. Check the soil ph and adjust accordingly with goal to reach a 6.5-7.5 level if possible. Purchasing lime or fertilizer is not expensive when you are planting a couple of acres or less. Plus, this will help your dove field now but, enhances the future crop growth you may be planting in this same field for winter or spring deer plots later in the year. A great side benefit as well!

A small plot could be worth the time for a late afternoon shoot or taking the kids after school during a short season.  The small dove plot provides a good chance to increase your odds for a little “filet mignon of the sky” for the grill and is just another way of getting the most out of your time afield.

It is worth a shot, isn’t it?

 

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com 

 

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