Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alabama Mourning dove season is near - Confusing top-sowing wheat guidelines keep hunters away

Written by  Rob Newman

With mourning dove season only a month away in the north zone, Alabama hunters should welcome a new publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System that outlines a change in wheat-planting guidelines for Alabama.

The new guidelines eliminate the three zones in Alabama and set Aug. 1 through Nov. 30 as acceptable top-sown wheat planting dates.

Alabama has seen a reduction in participation in the time-honored tradition of hunting doves with family and friends in a relaxed social atmosphere because of the fear of inadvertently running afoul of hunting regulations.

Landowners and leaseholders were often confused about guidelines for top-sowing wheat. The Extension System updated the planting recommendations this year and produced brochure ANR-1467, “Mourning Dove Biology and Management in Alabama,” which is available for download at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authority over the management of migratory birds, but relies on the respective extension systems to recommend what constitutes normal agricultural practices in each state.

The brochure states that multiple sowing of seeds on the same ground without a valid reason (drought or flooding) would not be a “normal” agricultural practice.

It would also not be considered “normal” if wheat is piled, clumped or concentrated. The planting rate for top-sown wheat should not exceed 200 pounds per acre. Specific guidelines must be followed with top-sown winter wheat.

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