LITTLE ROCK — Cooler weather and rain may bring mixed emotions for wingshooters looking forward to some September seasons. Cloudbursts brought on the wings of Hurricane Laura have transformed some areas of the state overnight, affecting the prospects for dove hunting and early teal season this year.
Rain may put a little damper on dove fields in many areas this season, particularly those prepared with top-sown wheat.
Many of the fields prepared by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fall into the top-sown wheat category, so hunters would be well advised to make an additional trip or two to the field before opening day Sept. 5.
“We have a few fields that are crops that have been mowed, and staff was able to get out and prepare them before the rain set in, but any of the top-sown wheat fields should be checked before you head out,” Garrick Dugger, assistant chief of wildlife management for the AGFC, said. “Most of our dove fields on WMAs are top-sown wheat because most of the areas we own usually are too wet in spring and early summer to plant agricultural crops for the dove opener.”
Top-sowing wheat offers two benefits to hunters: It serves as an attractant for doves before the seed sprouts, and it creates forage for deer, rabbits and other wildlife later in the season as the wheat grows.
“We have to manage for many species, and those wheat plots fulfill a dual purpose many hunters can benefit from,” Dugger said. “But please check the website to make sure those fields have been prepared before you head out this week to scout for doves. With the amount of rain most of the state has received, some of these fields may not be as attractive to doves on opening weekend.”