Planting and cultivating dove fields are popular techniques used by South Carolina sportsmen, landowners, and land managers to attract doves, as well as to provide food and cover for a wide range of wildlife species. Careful planning, and an understanding of the legal guidelines for planting and managing dove fields, is essential to producing a successful and legal dove field. Best management practices for establishing any successful supplemental plantings for wildlife enhance seed germination, plant growth, and provide nutrients for wildlife for prolonged periods of time. With proper planning and management, seeds produced by native broadleaf herbaceous plants (e.g. ragweed, crotons, lespedezas, beggar-weeds, partridge pea) and native grasses (e.g. panic grasses, paspalums, barnyard grass) can also provide food and cover for doves and other wildlife year-round.
This publication provides guidelines for establishing a variety of seed-producing plants preferred by doves in South Carolina, as well as for common and legal small grain agricultural practices that also attract doves. Although doves may be attracted using a variety of small grain agricultural practices, the intent of these practices is for agricultural purposes and not for the sole purpose of luring and attracting doves for shooting, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service defines as baiting. In addition, many of these practices are short-term and do not provide long-term benefits and value to doves and other wildlife, as compared to a variety of well-established wildlife plantings that produce seed, forage, and cover for wildlife year-round.
Practices Not Acceptable and Illegal
John Andrae, Associate Professor, Extension Forage Specialist, Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, Clemson University
Marion Barnes, Senior Extension Agent, Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, Clemson University
Billy Dukes, Assistant Chief of Wildlife, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
David Gunter, Grain Specialist, Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, Clemson University
Gordon Mikell, Conservation Agronomist, South Carolina USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Dick Yetter, Wildlife Biologist, South Carolina USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Greg Yarrow, Professor of Wildlife Ecology; Chair, Natural Resources; School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University
This publication was written in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
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This article is a publication of Clemson University Cooperative Extension's Forestry & Natural Resources team. This fact sheet may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution. If sections are re-used in other states, credit must be given to Clemson Extension and the authors.
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