NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2012 dove season. The first phase of dove season opens at noon on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Mourning doves are a popular game bird and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species combined in 39 of the continental states. In Tennessee, about 40,000 hunters harvested approximately 300,000 mourning doves last year.
Landowners can earn up to $3,000 for providing a dove field for public hunting. These fields must be available for a minimum of three priority hunt dates in September.
TWRA began its leased dove field program in the late 1980s and the program has been very successful in providing quality hunting opportunities for hunters. In addition to leased fields, many public dove fields are provided on wildlife management areas in each TWRA region. The TWRA website has specific information about WMAs and leased dove fields in each region.
The standard fall leased field is a harvested grain or millet/hay field to which TWRA leases the hunting rights for three priority dates. Rates paid to landowners for traditional fall leased fields will be $75 per acre for a maximum field size of 40 acres for a total contract of $3,000 per field. These fields will be signed up by Sept. 1.
Anyone interested in leasing a dove field to TWRA should contact their TWRA regional office. The TWRA has four regional offices across the state that interested landowners can contact: Region I (West Tennessee) 731-423-5725 or toll free 1-800-372-3928; Region II (Middle Tennessee) 615-781-6622 or toll free 1-800-624-7406; Region III (Upper Cumberland) 931-484-9571 or toll free 1-800-262-6704; Region IV (East Tennessee) 423-587-7037 or 1-800-332-0900. For additional information, contact Tim White, TWRA Migratory Game Bird Program Coordinator at (615) 781-6610.