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Setting up my first dove field

Discussion in 'Upland Game hunting, Dogs and dog training' started by Turkey Bandit, May 15, 2017.

  1. Hey guys! I am an old hand at dove hunting, but the majority of my experience has been on public land over wheat and corn, and when I was a kid on late season private millet fields in FL. I finally have a private piece of property that I have permission to plant about an acre on, $150 to spend on prep, tools and seed, and a couple of buddies to help. Our tools are rudimentary (think a couple of garden tillers and hand tools). Do you guys have any advice for a couple of amatures? Do you have any suggestions on what and how to plant, and what prep work we should do? My thoughts are to alternate millet (suggestions on variety?) and sunflowers (suggestions on varieties and are we too late to plant them in two weeks?) with a nitrogen rich fertilizer at time of planting. The land is currently a periodically mowed grass field. There is a significant deer pdopluation on the property. I'd like to keep costs down while still building a feasible plot to get a couple of hunts over. Any advice would be very much appreciated!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    longhaulpointer and steveOh like this.
  2. Tiiing one acre by hand is going to be tough. It takes me several hours to get a half acre the way I want it with a tractor driven tiller. I would spray the area with roundup and wait a few weeks. Then till as much as you can and broadcast cheap bird seed in that part and the rest before a rain. Run a drag over the tilled area after broadcasting. Go to Walmart or somewhere like that and get the birdseed with millet milo and sunflower only. No point using seed with cracked corn it won't germinate. You can use specialized seeds too but this works well and is cheap.
     

  3. Well you need to hurry.....our dove field was frost seeded in wheat in February. It is starting to head out now. We will now some strips now and plant rows of sunflowers here in the next week. Mow rows of wheat and sunflowers starting second week of august up through the opener. You could plant wheat now and mow and till rows by the opener and probably have a decent shoot. One word of advice is it is not a if you build it they will come endeavor. Some places just won't attract and hold big numbers no matter what you plant.
     
    Turkey Bandit likes this.
  4. I want to do this for the quail at my place. I have a rear tine tiller but have no intentions of hauling it to the back. If I bush hog spray gly, then brodcast would I be wasting my time? I just got back from rural king with a bag of bird seed with this in mind. Any suggestions on how much or heavy to brodcast?
     
    Turkey Bandit likes this.
  5. I should add, more concerned about winter feed for quail than for doves, so timing isn't everything
     
    Turkey Bandit likes this.
  6. It is better to scarify the soil in some way (disk or lawn aerator) but throw and grow works if you spray the gly and get it to the point where you can see the dirt and have some seed to soil contact. I think millet matures in about 90 days so you have time. I planted some in early June a couple years back and the millet milo and sunflowers all made it no problem. Throw and grow will be a weedy food plot but that's OK for intended purpose. You do have to put it on really thick so it's better to get a local farmer to work the soil if you want to do a big area. If you can get the ground cracking from an early dry spell before seeding that helps. Btw we saw a couple quail around here this year. I am keeping my plots bare this summer and will frost seed switchgrass in January. PM me if you want to discuss.
     
    Turkey Bandit likes this.
  7. Thanks for the info! I will post back with our results.
     
  8. Spray it to kill it, broadcast, mow on top of it. Prime time to plant sunflowers. Sunflowers 10-15 feet wide, sorgum, millet etc. next to that. The spray, broadcast and mow will work if you have enough thatch. You don't want exposed soil as you will loose too much moisture for broadcast seeding to work. Works best into fall seeded rye. Like mentioned above, mow leading up to the season and maybe till a few strips of open ground where the birds can get in there and get grit and sand for digestion.
     
    longhaulpointer likes this.
  9. I bought the mix of milo, millet, wheat, and black sunflower. I did a germination test of a small handful in a wet paper towel and was surprised by the excellent germination rate. So I'm hoping for the best
     
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
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