Uses: The mourning dove is a migratory game bird that has four basic habitat needs: food, cover, water and grit. These habitat needs must be met to produce more local nesting birds and to attract migratory birds during the season. With the popularity of dove hunting on the rise, hunting clubs and field managers are seeking ways to compete with nearby fields. Planning, understanding the birds and providing necessary habitat will go a long way toward having a successful hunt. Doves also need a water source within one mile of their food source. In addition doves need grit (small bits of gravel and larger grains of sand) in their diets to help grind food in the gizzard. Gravel roads and roadsides are a perfect location for birds to find this grit. Doves are seed eaters with about 99% of their diet in late summer and fall made up of seed.
Pennington's WingMaster Dove Mixture is a combination of small seeded millet, grain sorghum and sunflower that will provide a plentiful supply of seed for doves. This seed combination will mature in a staggered effect with some plants producing seed in as little as 60 days while others take 110 days. This allows for food supplies to become available early to attract and hold the resident birds. As the entire mixture matures, plants will drop seed to the ground, providing an abundant supply of seed for the entire season. It is important to plant WingMaster Dove mixtures no later than May 15 so the plants will have time to mature and shatter seed. Later plantings or time-delayed plantings are preferred if late season hunts and additional field manipulation is required.
Site selection of a dove field is often one of the most important, yet often overlooked field management decisions. Avoid fields near houses, housing developments, highways, livestock confinement buildings such as poultry houses and large areas of woodlands. Also avoid establishing fields too close to existing ones (a good rule of thumb is five miles apart). If this cannot be avoided then cooperate and coordinate shooting days with adjoining landowners. Open fields with plenty of room (10 acres) are ideal areas for establishing dove fields. Keeping safety in mind, hunter placement should be top on the list when selecting a field. Crowded hunting environments can make for a miserable and dangerous hunting experience. In addition, consideration of perch trees (leafless trees or thorn trees), power lines, and proximity to water and grit are all important components of good dove fields. Field manipulation is also important because dove prefer to land in areas where the ground is clean and bare and then walk to the food source
Mowing down strips in your field will open up the ground and scatter seeds in the process. Mowing these strips weekly starting four to six weeks in advance of hunting season will help hold more birds on your property. Disking old mowed strips is also a good method of further manipulating the field and attracting more birds. By having some plants upright, some mowed down and some disked, you will provide a haven for birds. Doves are federally regulated migratory birds, and you should pay close attention to federal and state regulations regarding dove field management.
Available Product Size: 40 lb.