Kansas City Mo - The opening day for dove hunting is often accompanied by stifling late-summer heat, but not this year. Rain created soggy fields and cool temperatures in the Northland when the statewide mourning dove season opened Sept. 1.
Wet weather in spring and early also flooded fields planted to sunflowers at some Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) area fields managed especially for dove hunting. Doves flock to such fields in late summer to feed on ripened sunflower seeds. But the large bottom fields at the Platte Falls Conservation Area flooded out twice this year, killing the crop.
Still, some dove hunters at Platte Falls are bagging birds at two smaller sunflower fields on high ground.
“The hunter cards we’ve had turned in show some of them have done pretty decent,” said Chris Blunk, area manager. “The doves seem to be there.”
Hunting pressure or grain harvest in private fields can prompt dove flocks to move into new roosting and feeding locations. Cool weather can also start some doves migrating southward.
But fall weather can also push new flocks of doves into wildlife areas. The shooting may not be as fast and furious as an opening day. But with some scouting of fields and dove flight paths, hunting success is possible into October. Dove season closes on Nov. 9.
“We have guys who walk the (sunflower) fields and kick up doves that are feeding on the ground, and they do pretty well,” Blunk said.
For a map showing sunflower field locations, go to www.mdc.gov and type “dove hunting Platte Falls” into the search box. Follow the links to a listing of all public wildlife areas and watch for those that have links to maps of fields managed for doves.
Next up, teal season opens Saturday (Sept. 11) and archery deer season begins on Sept. 15.