Dove hunting, which starts on September 1st, is the annual kickoff for fall upland bird hunting. It is an outright ritual for family and friends to get together and enjoy the opening weekend of dove hunting. The weather is great, the birds are plentiful, creating a lot of action, and the camaraderie is unsurpassed. It’s a good time to sharpen up the “old shooting eye”.
Thus, I thought I would pass on some tips to help you have a successful dove hunt:
Now is the time to do some pre-season scouting. Many walk-in-access properties and state lands offer excellent dove hunting. Also, now is the time to contact landowners to obtain permission, not on opening day.
For those of you who are new to dove hunting:
-Doves prefer to roost and loaf in tree groves that are near a water source and food source.
-They love wild sunflower seeds and winter wheat.
-They will move from the trees, to food, then to water and back to the trees. They will do this all day long.
Set yourself up along a tree line where you have seen doves flying. Sit or stand in a shadowy area. Then doves are less likely see you. Wear lightweight camo clothing with colors that coordinate with your surroundings. I like to use decoys, as they will attract the doves towards you. Set them in visible tree branches or on barbwire fences. A flock of 2 or 3 will do the trick.
-A chair or bucket with a swivel top is great.
-Lightweight camo clothing. -2 - 3 Dove decoys.
-Plenty of shotgun shells. Birds are very numerous and are elusive targets to hit. 12, 20 or 28 gauges with 7 1/2 or 8 shot are great for doves.
-Sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent and rain gear.
-Plenty of water for you and your dog. This is a great opportunity for your dog to mark birds and work on retrieving.
-Orange flagging to mark your position if you are hunting with several others.
-A day pack to carry above items.
Be sure to have a small game brochure with small game regulations with you. The Eurasian or collared dove species inhabiting most states are an invasive species. Many states allow hunting them year around with no bag limit. The thing to remember is when transporting them they need to be fully feathered to not be counted toward your morning dove or white wing dove harvest. Check your regulations for details.
Shawnee and I are looking forward to the upcoming season as I am sure you are as well. We will see you all again next month. Our best to all.
CJ & Shawnee