In the Wild with Greg Wagner


Here’s some really neat video taken this morning on the dove hunting season opener here in eastern Nebraska. In the video, you’ll see what appears to be a bird of prey pursuing rotary dove decoys. This is from my good friend Jim Druliner of SilloSocks decoys @

Remember, on a hunt bagging game is secondary, its stuff like this in nature that makes the memories priceless. Thanks for supplying the video, Jim. Hey, let’s go dove hunting this weekend, To heck with the doves, I’ll be toting my camera! See you out there, buddy!


BANDS AND WINGS by Greg Wagner

A mourning dove being banded.

Nebraska’s dove hunting season opener is fast approaching! It is this Wednesday, September 1st. At Game and Parks, we want to remind you 14,000 dove hunters who harvest some 320,000 doves during the season annually, that you are the critical link in assuring the success of dove banding studies. By reporting any banded doves harvested, you add valuable information which will help us manage this important migratory bird resource.  

Note the leg band.

If you harvest a banded dove, please call 1-800-327-BAND (1-800-327-2263) to report the band number. Bands can also be reported by accessing the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory web site at You can keep the bands and will be provided a certificate identifying the age and sex of the bird, as well as the date and location the bird was banded.  

Some of you who hunt doves will be asked to provide us with some dove wings. This is also very important.    


Wings from harvested doves can be used to determine the age ratio of doves in the fall population. This ratio, expressed as the number of juveniles per adult, allows biologists to determine an index to recruitment, or breeding season success, of doves. A high level of recruitment is necessary for mourning doves to maintain stable populations.  

We thank you for helping the dove resource by furnishing band info and, if requested, wings from doves you harvest. Enjoy your dove hunt! Shells, yes shells, bring lots of shells. 


See you out there!



Sunflower plantings for doves.

Just received an e-mail message regarding plantings for doves on state wildlife management areas in southeast Nebraska from Pat Molini who is oversees the management of those for us at Game and Parks. I’m sharing his information with all of you.  


Twin Lakes – Sunflowers 6 fields totaling 27 acres, Oats 6 fields totaling 24 acres  



Pawnee – Sunflowers 2 fields totaling 8 acres  

Wildwood – Sunflowers 4 fields totaling 13 acres, Oats 4 fields totaling 5 acres  

Conestoga – Oats 4 fields totaling 5 acres  

Branched Oak – Sunflowers 4 fields totaling 20 acres  

Yankee Hill – Sunflowers 3 fields totaling 7 acres  

Olive Creek – Sunflowers 1 field totaling ½ acre  



Rakes Creek – Sunflowers 4 fields totaling 7.5 acres (very weedy)  



Osage North – Sunflowers 3 fields totaling 18 acres, Wheat stubble 3 fields totaling 17 acres  

Osage SE – Sunflowers 1 field totaling 4.2 acres, Wheat stubble 1 field 5.7 acre  

(Sunflowers are very poor condition.   Due to cool, wet weather, poor germination and inundated with cocklebur. Not a lot of dove use expected on Osage.)  


Scouting is a must!!!!!!!!!!!!  


Pat Molini  

SE Wildlife District Manager  

Nebraska Game & Parks Commission  


See you out there, scouting state wildlife management areas for dove activity!  

Doves perched on sunflowers.


It’s so hot and steamy outside here in southeastern Nebraska, I’m indoors tonight. I’ve been watching too much of the Food Network on TV though, so I’m in a recipe giving mood. That being said, and with Nebraska’s dove hunting season opening just around the corner on Sept. 1, no better time than the present to pass along one of my favorite, but simple recipes from Field & Stream magazine for absolutely delicious dove breasts. You gotta try this, wild game chefs and hunters! Here it is:  



De-boned dove breasts   

1 can jalapeno peppers   

1 tub cream cheese   



Photo courtesy of Field & Stream magazine.

1. Pre-heat grill  

2. Rinse and dry dove breasts.  

3. Slice jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise. (Remove seeds and veins if you prefer less heat.)  

4. Slather cream cheese in the open cavity of each jalapeno. Top with a dove breast, wrap in half a piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat will all breasts.  

5. Grill poppers over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. Salt and pepper to taste. WOW!  

Photo courtesy of Field & Stream magazine.

See you out there on Sept. 1 trying to connect with those speedy, erratic-flying, elusive doves! Hmmm … I better go buy some more shells, don’t ya’ think?