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Georgia DNR plants sun hemp in Perry field to provide shade for dove hunters

A Georgia DNR biologist says the tall plant will provide shade and camouflage the hunters as they take aim

PERRY, Ga. — Hunters across Georgia add about $977 million to the state’s economy. Dove season kicks it all off and it’s always the first Saturday of every September.

This year, hunters will get a little break from mother nature when they take aim at the birds.

Department of Natural Resources biologist Bobby Bonds says he enjoys hunting and has fond memories of doing it as a youngster.

"Back when I dove hunted, I hunted on fields not nearly as good as we produce now," he said.

Bond likes to brag about the dried-up crusty earth that provides the backdrop for dove season.

"The Perry field is one of the larger fields that we have in this part of the state," he said. "It's 74 acres in size, where some of the other WMAs are going to be 40 acres or less."

But the spacious spots can get downright sultry, so DNR put in another plant to line the plot. It's called sun hemp.

"This was planted for cover and to shade, and also to camouflage our hunters somewhat from the doves themselves," he said about the plant that sits about 12 feet tall.

And like its flowery friend in the field (the sunflower) it too will brown and fade as time goes on.

"This is an annual plant, so if it's deemed a success we would have to come back and plant it again," he said.

This kind of hemp is not at all related to marijuana. It's just a tall harbor to keep sportsmen from sweltering in the sun.

"We'll probably do it again next year if everybody likes it," said Bonds.

This year, the Perry site will open at sunrise on opening day and close at sunset.

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