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Recent entries

Kevin Hahn

Food Plotting

Prepping Sunflower Field for Opening Day

Tue, August 20, 2013

Opening day (September 1st) for dove season is rapidly approaching so this past Sunday Todd Crane, Jeff Zobrist and myself began getting our 5 acre sunflower field ready. This year’s growing season came with many weather related challenges, particularly with the frequent spring rains.  Fortunately we had a small window of opportunity between spring rain storms and got this field planted on May 13th.  Weed control in this field with herbicides wasn’t the best due to the heavy rains, but we were able clean up the weed escapes with a timely row cultivation.  Even with all the early season weather related challenges, I believe the sunflower seed yields in this field are one of the best we have ever had so we have plenty of food for the doves. 

Our activities on Sunday included mowing some strips to open the field up and put some seed on the ground and make it more attractive to the doves since they are on-the-ground foragers.  This will help to hold the doves in the area and build up numbers for opening day.  We also measured off and marked our shooting locations for the group of 20+ hunters that we will have on opening day.  Our final prep for this field will be to mow the remaining sunflowers at about 5 days prior to opening day.

I returned to this field early on Monday morning to get a idea of the number of doves which were using the field.  Numbers of doves looks very good at this point and should get even better as we approach opening day.  I am anticipating and excellent opening day at this location.

Click on this video link below to view some the field prep activities and dove numbers.


Looks like a great set up with plenty of feed!  Out of curosity from a management point of view do you hunt mornings or afternoons? Seems from my experience north of 80 hunts early afternoon say noon to 3 and later as the season progresses.  When I was exposed to central IL hunts it was all morning shoots and they all thought I was nuts when I told them we only hunt afternoons.

Posted by BIGPOND on August 21

Bigpond…we mix up our hunting times between morning and late afternoon in part to reduce pressure on the birds but also afternoon hunts may be the only options during the week with everyone’s work schedules. We always hunt the morning on opening day and usually on day two as well, then may let the field rest on day three, and then resume hunting on the afternoon on day 4.  But we have no hard fast rules with this and a lot depends on how the birds are behaving to pressure, weather, and work schedules. 
Cooper (Kevin Hahn)

Posted by Cooper on August 21

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