As dove hunting season is in full swing, you may have already bagged a bounty of birds, or you might be hitting the fields soon. Regardless of when you join in on the hunt, you’ve probably heard that doves enjoy congregating on power lines.
Indeed, doves love to perch on power lines before making a move for food. This can make it tempting for hunters to try to snag a bird or two while they are on the line.
Regardless of how tempting it is, you should never shoot at power lines because electrical equipment is never in season. Let’s dig into why doves flock to power lines, how gunfire towards electrical equipment can be detrimental to the surrounding area, and alternatives you can use to power lines to attract doves.
Why do doves like to perch on power lines?
If you drive down the road before the weather gets cold, you will likely see a bird or two perched on a power line as you pass. Doves, like many birds, use power lines for a variety of reasons:
Taking breaks from flying
Gathering with other birds before migration
Protection from predators
Doves are especially attracted to power lines because they like to have a good view of corn, wheat and other crops in fields below. Rural distribution lines are enticing spots for doves to land for this reason. Many hunters use farming land for hunting because the doves return for food each season.
Why you should never shoot at power lines
Shooting at power lines is always a bad idea. Powerlines are a great place to identify and find doves, but you should never hit a dove while it sits on a line. Doves perched on a line may look like an easy target, but projectiles from gunfire can damage a power line, costing thousands of dollars in damage and leaving businesses and homes without power.
In addition to delivering power, many cooperatives use lines to distribute high-speed internet to their members with fiber cables. They are attached to power lines, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire too. Fiber cables are difficult and expensive to repair.
Damaged power lines are inconvenient, expensive and dangerous for those in the surrounding area. Energy from broken lines can produce a high-temperature arc that can set fire to surrounding vegetation. Shooting at power lines can cause a wildfire to spread.
The use of electrical equipment to draw in any wild game is dangerous. One electric cooperative lineman reported seeing decoys fixed to electrical equipment. While birds can sit on wires without any effect, hunters who make contact with electrical currents can be seriously injured or killed.
Dove Wire: An alternative to hunting power lines
If you are looking for a great way to draw in doves without relying on live power lines, creating “dummy” power lines or “Dove wire,” as it’s commonly known, is a method that is growing in popularity. A “dummy” power line is a fake utility line you can set up in a field that doves can perch on during the season.
Some hunters create temporary “dummy” lines with PVC pipe and nylon rope, while others have full-scale replicas of power lines installed on their property. Your budget will limit how much you can spend on a set up to attract doves to your hunting property, but there are affordable ways to create lines for doves.
Remember, if you feel unsure about how close you are to a power line, you are probably too close. Ensure you know where all of the power lines and other electrical equipment are before you begin hunting. If you don’t have a premium spot, check out a list of public conservation areas like this one.
If you want more tips on electrical equipment safety while you’re outdoors, check out our Members First blog for more great content.