Not all hunters get a chance to ride though the countryside looking for good dove fields, and sometimes, the best fields may just not be available to all hunters. Fortunately, every hunter with a game-lands license can have access to public dove fields. While they makes up only a small fraction of the two million acres of public land, public dove-hunting opportunities are scattered across North Carolina.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has designed fields on 23 game-lands tracts specifically for dove, with brown top millet, buckwheat, sunflower and sorghum making up the primary crops.
The Commission manipulates crops throughout the season to keep seeds available to doves and other species of wildlife. Since none of these crops are intended for harvest, all seeds will be left on-site for wildlife, and doves are top priority in the designated dove fields.
With rare exceptions, the dove fields maintained by the Commission are immediately adjacent to prime roosting habitat. Depending on the weather and crop yields, some exceptional hunting is possible on these properties.
While some public dove fields can be hunted by permit only, the majority are walk-in and available to hunt at will during the designated hunt days specific to each game land. All of the game lands are easily accessed from public roadways. Directions and specific information about each public dove field can be obtained from various Commission publications and on its Website (www.ncwildlife.org) under the “Dove Fields Map” link in the “Public Places” section. Just before the opening of dove season, the Website will contain an update of each dove field’s condition.