Sunflowers begin to bloom in Mid-Missouri

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Howard County, Mo. – Summertime brings a natural array of colors to Missouri. Notably, sunflower fields begin to bloom in late July into early August providing a scenic backdrop for photographers and visitors.

At Davisdale Conservation Area, members of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) planted several sprawling fields of the tall, bright yellow flowers earlier this year that are now approaching full bloom. While the fields are aesthetically pleasing to the conservation area visitors, they also serve another purpose. These sunflowers will draw mourning dove populations to the area leading up to and during the dove hunting season.

Mourning doves can be found statewide, and they are particularly drawn to crop fields, farms, and yards. They consume seeds which makes a sunflower field their ideal location to feed. While sunflowers mature and bloom, mourning doves will be drawn to them. When dove hunting season begins, these sunflower fields will be a prime hunting spot.

Dove hunting season runs from Sept. 1 - Nov. 29. Hunting can begin one half hour prior to sunrise and continue until sunset. The daily dove limit is 15 birds with a possession limit of 45 total. Hunters need a small game and migratory bird hunting permit in order to partake in dove season. The approved methods of hunting dove are shotguns, 10 gauge or smaller with no more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

The Davisdale CA sunflower fields are open to the public. To visit the sunflower fields from Columbia, take I-70 west, take Highway 40 west 12 miles and watch for area sign. Once at the conservation area, proceed to Horseshoe Lake where the fields are planted this year.