Pennsylvania Game Commission dove fields popular with hunters
A few years back, I made my first visit to a Pennsylvania Game Commission “dove field” at State Game Land 280, located near Berks County’s Blue Marsh Lake.
I was with a hunting companion and his energetic springer spaniel. That particular field was one of the first created for the enhancement of dove hunting by the Game Commission. It was the second week of the dove season, a mid-afternoon hunt. Because of the time of our arrival, and being later in the season, we assumed there would be few other hunters, and perhaps no dove movement either.
There were no other hunters, but we did harvest a few doves along the edges of the planted organization of dove attractants. Constructing these fields certainly required a sizable effort by a PGC crew, which we were both appreciative of at that time.
Since those first fields were constructed, many more were established. There are now 40 dove field areas on game lands across the state. They all contain components to attract the mourning dove species that move across Pennsylvania. Food sources include sunflowers, millet, sorghum, wheat and buckwheat. There are usually standing cornfields nearby, and wild foods such as pokeweed, ragweed and foxtail may also be found growing on these game lands.
As many of these fields are harvested before the dove season opens, they are then turned into bare dirt locations where doves can find spilled seeds as a food source, and the grit they require for the digestion of the foods they consume.
These areas also are located near water and daytime roosting spots, two more important requirements that make an attractive place for doves to frequent.
Dove hunting is widely popular across America. In Pennsylvania alone, it estimated 16,000 dove hunters will harvest nearly 100,000 birds during their open seasons. With the Game Commission’s strong efforts to improve public places to both attract and hunt this speedy and tasty game bird, it is now a great time to venture afield in short-sleeved conditions and enjoy some fast-paced shooting action.