Tennessee hunter accused of baiting doves, killing 74, now can’t hunt — and owes $500

Wildlife officials in Tennessee confiscated 74 doves after a hunter was accused of using bait to lure the popular game birds.

The Cumberland County man, who was not identified, pleaded guilty to charges of baiting on Oct. 7 and was ordered to pay $499.50 in fines and court costs, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said in a news release over the weekend.

He also lost his hunting privileges for a year, officials said.

Cumberland County is in Central Tennessee, about 75 miles west of Knoxville.

Dove season in Tennessee opened Sept. 1. It’s divided into three season — from Sept. to Sept. 28, Oct. 9 to Oct. 31 and Dec. 8 to Jan. 15.

Hunters typically shoot at the fast-flying birds as they approach a field to feed or a body or water to drink.

Hunting can start up to a half hour before sunrise and continues until sunset, according to Wildlife Resources.

Tennessee state law bars hunters from using bait to hunt wildlife “unless the bait has been removed and any electronic feeder disabled at least 10 days prior to hunting,” officials said.

Baiting refers to deliberately placing food such as corn or wheat to attract birds.

According to the state agency, an area is considered baited for 10 days because birds will return to the same spot for several days even after the food supply runs out.

Federal hunting regulations do, however, allow for dove hunting in areas where grain is “distributed in the ordinary course of farming activities,” officials said.

“Doves may be legally hunted where grain, salt, or other feed is found scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural planting or harvesting and distributed or scattered as the result of bona fide agricultural operations or procedures,” the agency’s dove hunting guidelines state.

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