Dearl Sanders, Reed, Donald P., Morgan, Johnny W. | 4/19/2005 10:28:59 PM
For example, field days this year at the LSU AgCenter’s Idlewild Research Station near Clinton have focused on issues related to dove hunting and deer hunting.
Late this summer, more than 120 hunters and other interested participants learned the do’s and don’ts of baiting fields at the LSU AgCenter’s Dove Field Day. And another field day this spring catered more to deer hunters and provided information on how they should handle food plots for the wildlife.
"We are holding this field day to share information with those interested in dove hunting and to let them know the proper way to manage their land for hunting," Dr. David Boethel, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, said at the most recent field day. "We are very excited about the interest in these field days here at the station.
"There are definitely a lot of things that we do at the LSU AgCenter related to agriculture which work ‘hand in glove’ with wildlife management," he said, adding, "We’re trying to bring some research and educational programs to as many people as we can, and these field days are one way of doing that."
The dove field day was cosponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and representatives of the U.S. Department of the Interior also were there to discuss federal rules associated with management of land for hunting doves and other migratory birds.
Dr. Dearl Sanders, professor and coordinator of the Idlewild Research Station, said the dove field day this summer was a two-fold event. He said one topic was how to grow domesticated or agronomic crops that attract doves or other birds and another was how to do it legally.
"That’s why we included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the enforcement division of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries," Sanders said. "We want to educate the public on how to avoid getting charged with a wildlife violation when it comes to dove hunting."
Sanders said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service dedicated a lot of funds under the 2002 Farm Bill to two programs that deal with wildlife. One is called the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), and the other is the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP).
"EQIP involves primarily converting farm land to land for cattle grazing," Sanders explained, adding, "WHIP provides for conversion of farmland into land suitable or attractive to wildlife, so that’s mostly what we’re concentrating on in these field days."
Dr. Don Reed, associate professor at the Idlewild Research Station, said the dove field day was designed to present some scenarios that would show hunters how to legally manage crops for doves.
"Basically anything that grows in the field, whether it’s natural or planted, can be manipulated in a variety of ways such as cutting or burning to make the grain more available to the doves," Reed said.
Maj. Keith LaCaze from the enforcement division of state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cautioned, however, that doves and other migratory birds are protected by federal law. He went on to say that the penalties for hunting over baited fields vary according to the circumstances surrounding the case.
"Since hunting over a baited field is a federal offense, the person would have to go before a federal magistrate, and the fine could range from $250 up to virtually $5,000," LaCaze said. "The more severe penalty is for the person who places the bait. The placement of bait for the purpose of hunting has a penalty that ranges from $1,000 up to $15,000."
LaCaze said there are several different types of doves in Louisiana – with the most common being the Mourning Dove. In addition, officials say there are more than 250,000 dove hunters in the state.
For additional information on the rules and regulations of land management for wildlife, contact your local LSU AgCenter office or the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or visit www.lsuagcenter.com.