Dove season 2019 should provide a good opening weekend starting Sept. 1, but birds’ access to food and water will be a major factor in harvest success, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
John Tomecek, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Thrall, said hunters with access to areas where the birds have food sources, water and roosts should have an advantage over areas without.
Tomecek said drought conditions around the state will concentrate dove near resources as they migrate south. So if you want a successful hunt, go where dove can find food, water and shelter.
Dove food sources
Agriculture crops such as sesame, sunflowers and sorghum are attractive food sources to dove. Providing food sources for dove can improve hunter success, but it can also be illegal if state laws are not followed, Tomecek said.
Know what’s legal
Broadcasting seed or grains before and during dove season in an attempt to attract birds is illegal, he said. But broadcasting in the normal act of planting winter forages is legal when standard practices of seed drilling or broadcasting on prepared beds followed by light disking or dragging is incorporated.
“The best way to explain it is that if you put seed or grain on the ground this time of year from a sack, it’s likely illegal,” he said. “If you planted it and it is maturing during hunting season, you can manipulate it in any way to hunt over it throughout the season.”
Advice for crop shredding
“Divide the coverage area by the number of weeks of the season and shred a percentage each week to keep food on the ground,” he said. “Mourning dove need the grain or seed to be on the ground since they cannot perch and eat at the same time.”
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