High above the ground in a bucket truck, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op Lineman David Brown attaches a power line to a newly erected pole above the green fields of the Sumter National Forest’s Long Creek dove field. But instead of providing electric service to an outbuilding or an adjacent housing development, Brown’s hard work is aimed at improving the forest’s dove field.
Blue Ridge Electric Co-op is partnering with the forest to install “dummy” power lines at the dove field to make the area more attractive to doves, creating conditions for hunters to be more successful at bagging their game.
“The installation of these lines will provide perching areas in close proximity to food sources for the birds,” said Chris Holcomb, U.S. Forest Service wildlife technician. Holcomb explained that the Long Creek dove field, located on the Andrew Pickens Ranger District in Oconee County South Carolina, is open only to youth and mobility-impaired hunters. Thus, the new power lines help make the doves more visible to young hunters who are just getting involved in the sport and to men and women who may have limited mobility in the field.
The time and talents of many partners help the forest to successfully manage natural resources and improve recreational opportunities. Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, which has a long history of community service and environmental stewardship, was eager to help in this endeavor.
“We’re committed to serving our community and helping wildlife,” said Rex Ramsay, vegetation management supervisor for Blue Ridge Electric Co-op. “Many of our employees are hunters and fishermen and love the outdoors, so they’re eager to do what they can to help.”
Long Creek dove field is one of several sites on the Sumter National Forest managed to provide habitat for game and non-game wildlife species and to provide recreational opportunities to hunters, birdwatchers and others. The management of dove fields, waterfowl areas, wildlife openings and linear strips is an important part of the Sumter National Forest’s wildlife management program.
For more information on habitat management or hunting opportunities on the Sumter National Forest, contact Jeff Magniez, zone wildlife biologist, at (803)637-5396.