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Seasons and regulations
Hunting Fields: Is it Legal?
The traditional September
1st dove season is almost upon us and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources
Agency (TWRA) is reminding hunters to check any dove field before they
begin hunting to make sure it is not baited illegally.
It is the responsibility of every hunter to be certain that he is not
hunting over a baited field. So how does a hunter know if it is legal to
hunt a particular field? The key to determining whether or not a field is
legal is whether bona fide agricultural practices have been employed. If
corn, milo, wheat, or some other grain crop has been planted and harvested
in a normal manner, it is perfectly legal to hunt. However, if cracked
corn, wheat, or some other grain has been poured on the ground in big
piles, that is not a bona fide agricultural practice and would be
Every hunter should check the field before beginning a dove hunt. If a
field has been freshly disked and has a large concentration of doves,
check to see what type of grain is attracting the doves. If there is
cracked corn, soybeans, sunflower seeds, or other grain, and no evidence
that those grains are simply typical remains from harvesting the crop that
was grown there, it is best to leave. If grain is present along with crop
stubble that makes it apparent the crop was harvested from that field, it
Wheat is sown at this time of year in Tennessee as a standard agricultural
practice, so if a hunter checks a field which has been disked and sown
with wheat, it may be legal. But the wheat must be evenly distributed,
not sown more than one time in the same area, and cannot exceed a normal
planting rate. If the wheat is in piles or deep strips, it is illegal.
If there is an excessive amount of wheat, even though it is evenly
distributed, it is illegal.
One thing a hunter should ask himself is, how well does he know the
landowner? Does he always comply with wildlife regulations? Remember, an
area is considered baited even ten days after all the bait has been
removed. This regulation is to protect the doves, because they will
continue to come back to a baited field for up to two weeks after the bait
has been removed. If a hunter has any doubt that a field may be illegally
baited, the best thing to do is leave the area and contact the TWRA. In
west Tennessee, contact the Region I office in Jackson at 1-800-372-3928
or (901) 423-5725.
is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing
area and host of The Outdoor Channel's television series IN-PURSUIT.