Herbicides Improve Dove Hunting in the Southeast

Doves over a sunflower field

Doves over a sunflower field

The mourning dove is one of the most numerous, widely hunted, and economically valuable game birds in Mississippi and the Southeast. For decades, landowners and wildlife managers have planted fields in agronomic crops to attract doves for sport hunting—a practice that led to these types of fields being known more simply as “dove fields.”

“…dove fields traditionally have been planted in one or more grain crops such as corn, sorghum, millets, wheat, and sunflowers. Although the concept of planting sunflowers to attract doves is nothing new, their use as a dove field crop has been limited over the years. However, when environmental conditions permit, a well-managed stand of sunflowers can be one of the most productive dove fields in the Southeast.

Weed control is a key component of managing sunflowers for dove fields. Doves prefer to feed in areas of clean, open ground. An effective weed control program will render fields more attractive to doves.

Herbicide applications are the most practical and cost-effective means of weed control in sunflower fields. For many years, only a few herbicides were labeled and marketed for use with sunflowers. However, because sunflower production is on the rise, more herbicides are labeled for sunflowers than ever before. Weed control via herbicide applications is essential for maximizing sunflower seed yields.”

Author: Nelms, K., et al.
Affiliation: Natural Resources Conservation Service & Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Title: Growing and Managing Sunflowers for Dove Fields in the Southeast.
Source: Mississippi State University Extension Service Publication 2725. 2012.

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