Avoiding birds on utility lines

With dove hunting season in full swing, you may have already caught a fair share of birds or might be hitting the fields soon. Regardless of when you head out for the hunt, there’s an important safety practice that we urge you to remember. You’ve probably heard that doves love to perch on power lines before making a move for food. This can tempt hunters to try to snag a bird or two while they are on the line. However, no matter how tempting that shot may be, you should never shoot at any utility lines, as it could seriously damage the equipment.

Let’s consider why doves flock to power and utility lines, how gunfire towards equipment can be detrimental and what alternative methods can be used to attract doves.

Why do doves like to perch on utility lines?

Doves, like many birds, use power and utility 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, which means rural distribution lines are enticing spots for doves to land. Many hunters use farming land for hunting because the doves return for food each season.

Why you should never shoot at utility lines

Doves perched on a line may look like an easy target, but gunfire can damage a utility line, costing thousands of dollars in damage and leaving businesses and homes without power or internet and phone services.

Along with delivering power, many co-ops use these lines to distribute high-speed internet to their members with fiber cables. They are attached to the same utility poles, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire too.

Damaged power lines are inconvenient, expensive and dangerous for those in the surrounding area, and energy from broken lines can produce a high-temperature arc that can set fire to surrounding vegetation.

The use of electrical equipment to draw in any wild game is dangerous. 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, create “dummy” power lines or “dove wire,” which 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. Never attach dummy lines to existing utility poles.

If you feel unsure about how close you are to a power line, you are probably too close.  Be sure you know where all power lines and other electrical equipment are before you begin hunting.