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Farmers can earn $10,000 in Cooperative Dove Field Program; Enrollment period ends March 1

Farmers can earn extra money and support Kentucky’s hunting heritage by participating in the Cooperative Dove Field Program offered by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The program leases privately owned and managed fields for public dove hunting in the fall. Enrollment is open through March 1, 2021.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is particularly interested in landowners willing to sow multiple crops. Landowners can receive up to $10,000 in the program by earning $300 per acre planted.

Under state law, landowners who allow the public to use their property for outdoor recreation without charging a fee are provided legal protections. These protections extend to those who lease land to the department for public hunting access.

“We want farmers to sow strips or plots of wheat, millet, corn, and sunflowers,” said Wes Little, a biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Multiple crops are best because if you have a failure of one crop, you still have three others to attract doves.”

Participating fields must be at least 10 acres. Additional lease payments are available for landowners who plant borders around the hunting fields.

Little said dove field leases usually run from 20 to 30 acres. Payment amounts can vary based on the number of acres enrolled, crop type, and fulfillment of the field management agreement with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is interested in reaching agreements with property owners who have acreage in underserved areas that have significant numbers of dove hunters. In the western part of the state, this includes Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Daviess, Fulton, Grayson, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, LaRue, Logan, Lyon, Simpson, Todd, and Trigg counties. Boyle, Cumberland, Laurel, Lincoln, Pulaski, and Wayne counties are areas of interest in southcentral Kentucky.

The department also encourages applications from counties near cities with populations greater than 20,000 for the program. To get the process started, contact your regional Fish and Wildlife private lands biologist or Natural Resources Conservation Service liaison.

For more information, visit fw.ky.gov or call 1-800-858-1549 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST) on weekdays.