Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
2070 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025
Hunting doves over manipulated fields that were planted in the early spring or in the early summer is a legal activity and by far the most common situation in Georgia.
Manipulation means the alteration of natural vegetation or agricultural crops by activities that include, but are not limited to, mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning, "hogging" or herbiciding. This method of dove field management and hunting requires advanced planting of crops two to four months prior to dove season.
Hunting doves over manipulated fallow fields (native vegetation) is legal.
Hunting doves over fields planted in late summer or fall is legal provided that the field has been planted as part of a normal agricultural operation. Normal agricultural operation implies a planting that is conducted in accordance with the official recommendations of the university of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Aerial or top sowing of small grains without covering the seed is not a recommended practice by the UGA Cooperative Extension Service. Dove hunting over a field planted by top sowing is illegal. Normal plantings do not involve placement of grains in piles or other concentrations. The application rate guideline recommended for all small grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats) planted for crop or forage production is 1.5 to 2.5 bushels per acre.
The UGA Extension Service has stated that specific conditions exist whereby top sowing without covering of small grains is recommended and would allow the grower to achieve acceptable stands of cover crop. These circumstances are rare. Examples are: 1) wheat or rye aerially sown over cotton or soybeans prior to leaf drop; and 2) top sowing for soil stabilization for post-mining land reclamation on areas with steep slopes. Hunters should check with WRD or the US Fish and Wildlife Service before hunting in either of these situations.
Small grains and canola planted within the range of dates listed below are official recommended practices of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service. Hunters may not hunt doves over or around late summer/fall planted fields if the plantings are outside of the following dates:
9/1 - 11/15
9/15 - 12/1
9/15 - 12/1
10/1 - 12/15
10/1 - 12/15
* Small grains include wheat, rye, oats, and barley.
** Planting canola in the mountain region of Georgia is not considered a practical agricultural practice.