Public dove fields??

May 14, 2012
9
Parts Unknown
Do they all suck? I have hunted the two closest to me the past couple years and they are pitiful. Went to the field in Lincoln county yesterday and didn't see a single dove. Whatever was planted just looked like every other hay field around. I know some of you fellas kill them on public fields. What are they planting in your area
I hunted the Griffith Woods WMA in Harrison Co the past 6 years on opening day. Three years ago they had it perfect with plenty of Sunflowers and weeds well controlled. Biologist even commented “ they had it finally figured out” when I spoke to him pre season.
This year it has declined drastically.NO sunflowers, NO millet. It was a cut down corn field and hardly a bird around.
We all realize that seed, fuel, labor prices are up but I will tell you that I pay a lot of money every year for non resident tags ( I own my own property for deer/ Turkey) and funding these “Dove Fields” comes from fees gained by licenses ( and other sources) as well as the land owner allowances.
Please, I urge each of you to call the KDFW offices and speak to them about planting these fields to attract doves or the program is useless. There are plenty of dove near my home and a decrease in numbers is NOT the excuse. They will not be getting my extra money any longer to hunt their fields unless the program steadily improves.
 
Jan 16, 2018
61
Louisville
I’ve had mixed results on public fields. It seems some years they’ll plant millet and sunflower in fields near me and have a pretty decent field then the next year it will look like someone just bush hogged and ran a disc around the edge maybe once. My guess is it’s a money issue?

Best I’ve done on public fields is later in the first season or late season. Might also check out other food sources or even water holes on a wma that draws birds. I’ve killed doves next to a wma road where they were flying in to get the gravel. Nothing says you have to shoot them over a “dove” field

Overall I think they could and should be better but small game doesn’t really seem to be the focus of kdfwr
^^Thanks for posting that^^ I've seem some fields I wanted to try for dove but since they weren't designated I felt a little crazy giving them a shot. Not experienced with dove hunting here. Will try this now as some fields on WMA's have food sources AND water nearby but they're not designated dove fields.
 

bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,650
I’ve had mixed results on public fields. It seems some years they’ll plant millet and sunflower in fields near me and have a pretty decent field then the next year it will look like someone just bush hogged and ran a disc around the edge maybe once. My guess is it’s a money issue?

Best I’ve done on public fields is later in the first season or late season. Might also check out other food sources or even water holes on a wma that draws birds. I’ve killed doves next to a wma road where they were flying in to get the gravel. Nothing says you have to shoot them over a “dove” field

Overall I think they could and should be better but small game doesn’t really seem to be the focus of kdfwr
If you disc those fields too much you burry the seed and make them useless.
 
Jan 16, 2018
61
Louisville
My buddy hunted one on opening day near Winchester. Nothing was planted and he only got 2 birds. I was going to try one near Green River Lake, but worked on food plots instead.

We hunted both designated dove fields on Green River Lake WMA Saturday but no luck at all, saw 2 doves total. I did see shells and feathers on the ground though so opening day might have been different.

I'm not an experienced dove hunter but last year there was more bare dirt on the ground and I saw more birds. This year both fields were considerably grassy.
 

Tman6493

8 pointer
Oct 28, 2013
665
Louisville
I hunted public opening day. There was nothing planted just a fresh cut field and I got 8. Lost 2 so should of had 10. And prolly could have gotten a few more but didn’t try to sky bust or shoot when I could tell they were going to go to the next group.

Watched multiple people walk out with a limit. This field was hunted hard for 4 days.

Went back yesterday and from around noon-2 I was the only person there. Didn’t see a single bird attempt to cross the field. Like someone mentioned earlier they got hit hard all weekend. Also not even 1 percent of the people that hunt opening weekend will hunt again so IMO birds won’t get pushed around as much as Thursday and Saturday.
 

KYBOY

12 pointer
Apr 21, 2005
8,643
Floyd,co..Kentucky
I’ve had mixed results on public fields. It seems some years they’ll plant millet and sunflower in fields near me and have a pretty decent field then the next year it will look like someone just bush hogged and ran a disc around the edge maybe once. My guess is it’s a money issue?

Best I’ve done on public fields is later in the first season or late season. Might also check out other food sources or even water holes on a wma that draws birds. I’ve killed doves next to a wma road where they were flying in to get the gravel. Nothing says you have to shoot them over a “dove” field

Overall I think they could and should be better but small game doesn’t really seem to be the focus of kdfwr
Good post. I’ve killed them around waterholes.
To the other point , sadly small game isn’t a focus right now. I know the depts small game people are devoted to their job but I don’t believe that they are getting the support and financial aid they need to accomplish their goals..
Over here in the mountains the dept is so hyper focused on Elk and Bear that small game just gets pushed to the side it seems.
 

1wildcatfan

12 pointer
Jan 2, 2009
14,720
raised n Bullitt Co.
Those unhappy reaching out to F&W? Email and a phone call?
Operating overhead going up and license fees aren't. Bad trend. I would think cut backs in some area have to take place. Don't have any idea if thats the issue with the dove fields.
 

KYBOY

12 pointer
Apr 21, 2005
8,643
Floyd,co..Kentucky
Those unhappy reaching out to F&W? Email and a phone call?
Operating overhead going up and license fees aren't. Bad trend. I would think cut backs in some area have to take place. Don't have any idea if thats the issue with the dove fields.
Im not one who complains about the dept very much. Im mostly pro dept but I have in fact complained about the dove fields and small game in general a few times. Once directly to the commissioner when we ran into him at the black bear festival.. Though, not the current commissioner..
I do agree though, if enough people dont speak up they will never know we are not happy.. We just need to do it in a professional but direct manner and not in a "keyboard warrior" rant type way.. If you want someone to listen, I think thats the best way..
If your unhappy with the fields send a polite but very direct email and if enough of us do they will take notice
 
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bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,650
Those unhappy reaching out to F&W? Email and a phone call?
Operating overhead going up and license fees aren't. Bad trend. I would think cut backs in some area have to take place. Don't have any idea if thats the issue with the dove fields.
Farmers who grow dove fields have to be as cheap as they can to make any profit from the field.
Take the $325per acre and seed millet will cost almost $100 per acre , Fertilizer $50 per acre, fuel and equipment at lest $100 per acre. Spray $130 a gallon and see what you have made off your land. It is not hardly worth the trouble but some people enjoy planting a dove field more than making a big profit.
 

redlickranch

10 pointer
Dec 11, 2007
1,178
Bullitt County
Good post. I’ve killed them around waterholes.
To the other point , sadly small game isn’t a focus right now. I know the depts small game people are devoted to their job but I don’t believe that they are getting the support and financial aid they need to accomplish their goals..
Over here in the mountains the dept is so hyper focused on Elk and Bear that small game just gets pushed to the side it seems.
Not sure what the dept is focusing on???? They are screwing up the Elk herd by having too many tags and shipments to other states. Seems like they could at least plant some crops for doves and waterfowl on WMA's.
 

Little FR

12 pointer
Nov 10, 2021
4,226
West Kentucky
I went to gun range today. There was a dove field nearby. I was showing my wife the empty doveless field.

One ole boy came out there while we were packing up. We tarried a while… never heard a shot. They have been scarce around here even at work. I used to jump 20-30 just driving down the driveway. I haven’t seen more than 4-5 at a time this year.
 

Greyghost7

Fawn
May 2, 2022
37
Texas
I cant speak for yours but they didnt plant the two in Eastern,Ky.. One was taken off the public field list and the other wasnt planted according to a Corp employee I talked too..
I dont know what the issue is but I really wish they would get the fields in order..
I figure if the wildlife department are offering the public lands to hunt on(sportsman pay for it anyway). They at least should plant something??
 

HeadedWest

10 pointer
Nov 22, 2016
1,408
More often than not, the WMA fields will produce high numbers of doves and hunters.This was a bad year. Fields looked like garbage around me…One of the fields had the highest concentration of Palmer amaranth I’ve ever seen.

My frustration is that the co-op fields have not been funded for at least a few years. A few of those co-op fields sucked every year and were a waste of sportsman’s dollars. A lot of those fields were quality fields that produced some awesome hunts for any person willing to brave the crowds. It looks like the field application period will be open through December, I hope that means the department is actively looking to add some fields for next year.
 

bowhunter269

12 pointer
Nov 21, 2006
4,659
Fisherville, KY
Guess it depends on the location. I've had to spend opening day on public fields the last several years. Hunter numbers are typically insane, bordering on dangerous, but plenty of birds are killed. Same this year. I killed my limit but lost 2 in the woods. There was one section in the field that killed 100s. That section had hunters scattered about every 20 yards when we left the field. No way I'm "mixing it up" like that, but there were plenty of birds. I've had similar experiences at least the last 3 years on public. The fields I've hunted have all had sunflowers.
 

Bladefoot

6 pointer
Dec 6, 2010
191
Goodlow Slough
I love to dove hunt us much as anyone. I am a terrible shot but I kept going until my last trip to a public field and I said “never again”. When something starts giving you ulcers instead of curing them it’s time to do something else. I can handle sitting in the sun all day and seeing two doves. What sucks about public dove hunting is when you raise your gun to shoot (probably a miss for me) at one of those two right over your head and some idiot with a white tee shirt shoots at (and misses) the same dove from 45 yards away. I haven’t been in about 15 years.
 


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