Managed dove fields initiative moves ahead in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania game commissioners, at their recent meeting, gave preliminary approval to a proposal that would allow hunting mourning doves in areas where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as a result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed where grown.
That move, if approved at a subsequent meeting, clears the way for the managed dove fields initiative suggested by Commissioner Brian Hoover at a work session last month.
Hoover, of Chester County, wants the commission to experiment with using managed dove fields. They’re fields planted with some crop — like corn or sunflowers – to attract doves. They’re cut down — a few rows at a time, week after week — to attract dove hunters.
The birds come for the seeds and grain, and hunters follow the birds. Cutting the fields down in stages keeps them “hot” for both doves and dove hunters.
“The hunting is just phenomenal, when you get into managed dove fields,” said Hoover, who has hunted such fields in other states, including Maryland and Delaware. He’d like the commission to manage some fields in similar fashion on state game lands.
It’s fast-paced, fun shooting, ideal especially for junior hunters looking for excitement, Hoover noted. Other states are taking advantage of them, he said, and Pennsylvania should as well.
“I think we’re behind in what everyone else is doing,” he said.
Look for a few managed dove fields to be established at the Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, located along the border of Lebanon and Lancaster counties, late this summer.