How early to mow a dove field

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by Jacobhwrd, May 25, 2016.

  1. Jacobhwrd

    Jacobhwrd 6 pointer

    274
    7
    Jan 26, 2014
    Richmond, Ky
    This is our first private dove field and I don't know how many days before our shoot I should that we should now our millet field? I was guessing 5-7 days. That should give them plenty of time to find it and feed for a bit to get a good shoot. What do you all do?


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  2. bigpuddin43

    bigpuddin43 12 pointer

    4,999
    11
    Feb 21, 2007
    bucktown
    Best case scenario with Miller is cut and bake for hay. Or find someone that can. It leaves a lot of thatch on the ground. Doves love bare ground. We used to cut outs a week before and with no rain it would be baked 3-4 days before.


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  3. BODAB1

    BODAB1 Spike

    64
    35
    Apr 13, 2012
  4. Jacobhwrd

    Jacobhwrd 6 pointer

    274
    7
    Jan 26, 2014
    Richmond, Ky
    That link came up as a 404 error. I guess we could mow it and and run a hay tedder over it to get the seeds off then rake it all off the field to leave it bare. It's only about 1 1/2-2 acres so it shouldn't be bad.


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  5. bigpuddin43

    bigpuddin43 12 pointer

    4,999
    11
    Feb 21, 2007
    bucktown
    Or just rake in rows and leave it that will leave the bare ground in between but would definitely run the Tedder over it.


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  6. Feedman

    Feedman Cyber-Hunter

    7,740
    365
    May 28, 2003
    In the basement
    I would mow a strip 2weeks before season. Another strip a week before season. An depending on how many times you want to shoot the field mow some every week
     
  7. EC

    EC 12 pointer

    3,641
    655
    Jul 13, 2003
    Louisville, KY.
    Try it again. Link worked for me.

    http://fw.ky.gov/Wildlife/Documents/dovefields[1].pdf
     
  8. Bee

    Bee 8 pointer

    763
    18
    Mar 14, 2005
    this^^^^^^^plus disc a few dirt strips through it too
     
  9. Jacobhwrd

    Jacobhwrd 6 pointer

    274
    7
    Jan 26, 2014
    Richmond, Ky
    We will only hunt it for about 2-3 weeks. As soon as it starts to cool off we are after deer only until late in the year. Also that link still doesn't work when I try it

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  10. BODAB1

    BODAB1 Spike

    64
    35
    Apr 13, 2012
    Here is what the link said:

    www.kyafield.com
    HABITAT

    Dove Fields
    How to attract birds to your hunting spot — legally
    Federal migratory bird regulations prohibit hunting mourning
    doves over bait. However, doves can be attracted both effectively and
    legally in Kentucky using managed fields.
    Fields managed as wildlife food plots, or where normal agricul
    -tural practices have occurred, are perfectly legal to hunt as long as
    there is no sweetening of the field with the addition of bait. Baiting
    includes placing grains, salt or other attractants in an area used for
    hunting.
    Generally the most productive fields have sunflowers, but wheat,
    millet and even native plant fields can yield bountiful opportunities
    for hunters.
    Dove field preparation is relatively simple, although weather,
    agricultural practices or other food plots in the surrounding area will
    influence whether the birds will use the field. However, if you select
    your field carefully and manage it well, you are likely to enjoy some
    good dove hunting.
    Field Selection
    If possible, select a field in a relatively high elevation to cater
    to flyover doves. Power lines, dead trees, and other open perches in
    or adjacent to a field are also desirable. Ponds or streams nearby are
    important, too, as doves need to drink frequently. Also keep in mind
    that doves need ample bare ground to feed; heavy thatch may keep
    birds away from an otherwise good field. Obviously, larger fields have
    greater potential for packing in more doves, but even 1- or 2-acre
    fields can be effective for small hunts.
    Finally, if you have some weeds, don’t worry because they’re
    probably food sources for doves as well.
    Winter W heat Fields
    — Fields planted
    with winter wheat during the previous fall for
    wildlife or for a cover crop make excellent dove
    fields. Farmers who rotationally plant tobacco or
    other specialty crops may leave wheat fields intact
    all year. These fields usually just need some strip
    mowing once the seed is ready.
    Spring Planted Fields
    — First, get a soil
    test on your field for the grains you intend to
    plant. Your county Cooperative Extension office
    can help you collect and test your samples. In the
    absence of a soil test, you can apply 200 pounds an acre of 12-12-12
    fertilizer to your field one to two months before seeding.
    Sunflowers take 120 days to mature, so plant them in late April to
    early May so they’ll be ready for the Sept. 1 opener. For conventional
    planting, plow and disk a seedbed then broadcast Peredovick variety
    sunflowers at 15 pounds an acre. Cover seeds lightly by disking,
    cultipacking or dragging.
    For no-till planting into a grass or weedy field, spray the area
    with herbicide on a warm, calm day in mid-April to reduce compe
    -
    tition with the sunflowers. Consult your local farm supply store for
    the right herbicide and always follow label instructions. Next, plant
    10 pounds an acre of Peredovick sunflowers with a no-till drill or a
    corn planter, cross hatching the field if necessary.
    You may choose a 90-day plant, such as proso/dove millet or
    browntop millet, if you’re getting a late start on preparing a field.
    Broadcast seed at 15 to 20 pounds an acre, or 8 to 10 pounds an acre
    for no-till. If you have less than three months before season opens,
    plant the following mixture: Buckwheat, 10 pounds an acre; proso
    millet, 5 pounds an acre; and Peredovick sunflowers, 5 pounds an
    acre. This should give you some mature seeds by Sept. 1 and many
    more for weeks thereafter.
    Weedy Fields
    — Abandoned or otherwise fallow fields can make
    for great dove hunting. Select fields dominated by annual plants,
    such as ragweed, pigweed, foxtail and wild millet. Historically, doves
    probably fed in similar fields created by grazing bison or burning and
    cultivation by native Americans. You can create such fields by spraying
    or disking in late winter to early spring.
    Field Management
    The ingredients of good field management are simple: manipula
    -
    tion in time to attract doves for a hunt, bare ground with scattered
    seeds, and uncut areas for hunter cover. Begin by disking a strip
    around the perimeter of your field in early August. This bare ground
    will attract birds.
    Mow a few 50- to 100-foot-wide strips in your field by mid-Au
    -
    gust. You should attract doves if the seeds are dry. Consider windrow
    -
    ing with a hay rake to expose more bare ground and
    scatter seed if you have much thatch on the ground
    after mowing. Otherwise, lightly disk over mowed
    strips to expose soil and seeds if necessary.
    Mow half or more of the field by opening day,
    and leave strips or small islands intact for hunter
    concealment. Continue mowing, windrowing or
    disking strips every few weeks as long as you wish
    to hunt.
    Consider sowing winter wheat as a cover crop
    once you’ve finished dove hunting for the year. Re
    -
    member, however, that you cannot hunt waterfowl,
    doves and other migratory game birds on the field — or around it
    — until 10 days after all the wheat seed has germinated.
    Go to
    www.fws.gov /le /HuntFish/WhatisLegal.htm
    on the Inter
    -
    net for more details on regulations. For more details on preparing dove
    fields, call 1-800-858-1549 and request copies of our “Annual Grains”
    and “Food Plots” Habitat How-To publications. Good hunting!
    Brian Clark is a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist for the Kentucky
    Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
     

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