More than 120 hunters and other interested participants learned the do’s and don’ts of attracting doves at the LSU AgCenter’s first Dove Field Day on Aug. 28, 2004, at the Idlewild Research Station near Clinton.
Dearl Sanders, professor and coordinator of the station, said the purpose of the field day was two-fold – to learn how to grow crops that attract doves or other birds and how to do this 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.”
Don Reed, associate professor at the station, said the dove field day was designed to present some scenarios that would show hunters how to legally manage crops for doves.
“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 that doves and other migratory birds are protected by federal law. 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. Fines could range from $250 up to $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.”
There are several different types of doves in Louisiana – with the most common being the Mourning Dove. There are an estimated 250,000 dove hunters in the state.
(This article was published in the fall 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture