If rainfall totals are any indication, dove fields across the state should be stellar.
“Based on what I’ve heard from the field staff, our dove fields are looking really good. Everything was planted on time, and we’ve had a good bit of rain. I’m hoping for good seed production on all our fields,” said Greg Balkcom, WRD’s migratory game bird coordinator.
This list of public dove hunting opportunities seems like it grows a little more each year.
2017-18 Dove Dates
Sept. 2-17; Oct. 14-Nov. 2
Nov. 23-Jan. 15
You’ll see several fields are labeled as “VPA,” which stands for Volunteer Public Access. These public hunting properties have grown in recent years.
“When WRD applied for and was successfully awarded a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture back in 2014 named the Voluntary Public Access/Habitat Incentive Program (VPA), we knew that we wanted to concentrate more on providing public dove hunting opportunities because of the high demand and popularity of dove hunting on our existing WMA dove fields,” said Don McGowan, WRD’s region operations manager for Game Management. “This VPA grant program provided funds for us to engage private landowners and develop some 1- to 4-year agreements for additional public dove hunting opportunities that WRD could provide.”
Two new VPA fields are in Region 2: Glokrest Dairy and Seabolt Farms. Both will operate under the quota system. The two quota hunts on Glokrest Dairy will actually fall into the October season. The first hunt on Seabolt Farms will fall on Labor Day and not on the Sept. 2 opener.
“Both are planted in corn, and both should offer great dove hunting. This year, all of the VPA dove quota hunts in Region 2 will allow you to bring a guest or two with you if selected,” said Kevin Lowrey, a WRD biologist in the region.
To review the quota-hunt selection odds table, log on to georgiawild life.com/hunting/quota#odds. This will guide you into how many, if any, priority points you’ll need when applying for a hunt. This year, there are 23 hunts to choose from, up from the 19 that were offered last season.
Youth will have 10 different adult/child quota dove hunts to choose from when applying. A quota-hunt selection odds table is now also available for the youth dove quota hunts. Last year’s hardest adult/child draw with no priority points was at River Creek WMA, where only 26 percent got on the field with no priority. Still, you’ll see that the majority of these quota dove hunts were filled with hunters using no priority.
Adult and youth dove quota hunts must be submitted online each year at by Aug. 15. Youth need their own online account to apply.