DOVE HUNTING: TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Dove hunting is a fall ritual in many parts of the country. It's a lot of fun and trust us, it requires some decent shooting. So stock on shells and read the dove hunting tips we have for you below. It will be a hunting activity we believe you will enjoy greatly!
Having Fun Dove Hunting
Dove hunting provides hunting fun year round. Doves provide good game hunting and good eating. Doves live all over North and South America providing great hunting year round. Hunting dove gives hunters opportunities to use different types of equipment, experience the outdoors, and go on great hunting adventures.
Good dove hunters use specific equipment, helping them bag doves. Hunting these birds requires a good shotgun. A 20, 16 or 12 gauge shotgun works fine. Many dove hunters prefer auto-loaders. This gives them three quick shots before reloading. Make sure to read and follow regulations detailing rules for repeating shotguns in the area you hunt. Hunting doves requires only small shot size. Hunters recommend shot sizes 7 1/2, 8 or 9. Doves have keen eyes, so proper concealment increases success rates. Good camouflage provides another necessary piece of equipment. Another great piece of equipment is decoys. Using dove decoys bring doves into shooting range, allowing hunters to bag more doves. Buy decoys at sporting goods stores or on the Internet, or make decoys out of cardboard. Proper equipment makes for successful hunting.
Successful hunting of dove requires time spent studying doves, scouting, and practice shooting. All these activities provide fresh air and fun. Doves eat seeds and grains. They also tend to be predictable. They fly out of their nighttime roost to the local watering hole, before finding a nice, often freshly harvested grain crop to feed on. With this information, scouting is easy. Simply identify the watering holes and feeding areas on the land you intend to hunt, and then find a nice spot. Sit quietly watching for doves. Once the doves are scouted and identified, pick a nice spot to conceal yourself and practice shooting. Work on accuracy within a specific target area. On actual hunting days, this practice makes for more bagged doves.
Another great thing about the hunting of doves is going on great hunting adventures. Different states have different seasons for hunting doves. Trips to Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona and more provide different seasons for hunting doves and many different adventures for dove hunters.
Argentina offers what is perhaps the best hunting experience. Millions of doves inhabit Argentina and the Argentines provide a great hunting experience. There is no hunting season in Argentina, so doves are always in season. Resorts in Argentina offer affordable, five star trips, complete with gourmet meals, beautiful rooms, equipment rental and great service. To learn about the seasons for dove hunting in each of the states and about dove hunting in Argentina, simply get online. Go to Google and type in "dove hunting." Adventure waits.
Good hunters use proper equipment and follow hunting regulations. To learn more about hunting doves, get on the Internet and do some research. The last thing to research before going hunting is how to cook a great tasting dish with dove.
Dove Hunting - Tips on Getting Started
Dove Hunting is a great sport for all ages. Whether you are 12 or 50, it can be rewarding. I started at age 17 and haven't missed an opening day since. As the summer begins, my heart and mind always go to September 1st (opening day North and Central Zones in Texas). Every year my dad, brother and I have a competition, called 'The Top Gun', and whoever kills the most birds gets their name on the Top Gun plaque for the year. (Dad wins every year) I've started my two oldest sons out and this year they are in the competition too. I'm looking forward to many years of time with them With all that said, if you would like to try it out I have some practical things for you to do to make getting started easy.
Getting started falls into two basic categories:
What to purchase?
What to do?
What to Purchase
I know, you are thinking this is going to be expensive. It can be (if you have the money), if not, you can start out on a shoestring budget, like me. There are many items that make dove hunting more comfortable but they are not necessary to begin hunting. I'll begin with the bare necessities.
A shotgun I don't think there is any way around this one, unless you are real good with a sling shot. There are many options when it come to a shotgun. The basic categories are; pump action, automatic, and over-under. All three have their advantages and disadvantages. The other things involved in purchasing a shotgun are , what gauge and what brand.
A pump action shot gun is the least expensive type of shotgun. Pumps can be purchased for around $300. Winchester and Remington have decent entry level pump shotguns. A pump simply means that the discharging and reloading of shells is done by pumping the gun backwards and then forward. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done very quickly and a lot of birds have been shot with a pump. A pump's advantages are it is a great starter gun and the cost will keep some money in the bank if you are on a budget.
An automatic shotgun is an upgrade from a pump. An automatic shotgun ejects the spent shell and reloads the chamber automatically (hence why it's called an automatic). Both the pump and automatic hold three shells (with the plug in). For a beginner and even for me (as I shoot an automatic), the third shot can be a life saver. Automatic shotguns can be pricey though. I shoot a Remington 1170 (left handed ) and it cost around $850. the price range is from $500 and up. I've never had any problems with my gun but some critics of them say they over heat and run out of gas if you do a large amount of shooting.
Over-under shotguns are probably the most popular in the target shooting world and a lot of bird hunters use them. They have two barrels one on top of the other. they are know for their accuracy and reliability. Both my brother and my dad shoot them. They are the most expensive starting at around $700 and going up from there. If you've got the cash, you can't go wrong buying one.
Gauges: When buying a shotgun, size does matter. The smaller the number the larger the shell. 12 gauge is the most common and then 20 gauge being the next. Although there are many different gauges, all you need to know is the bigger the gauge the more it kicks. Don't get to excited. None of them really hurt unless you shoot many rounds, then you might be a little sore. I recommend 12 gauge for adult males and 20 ga. for adult women and kids over 13. For youngsters, I recommend .410 gauge.
Brands: I've had good luck with Remington and Winchester. Both are low to medium price range. Mossberg also makes entry level shotguns, but my brother had all kinds of problems with his first pump, in a short period of time I might add. Benelli and Beretta are also good brands, but in the medium to high price range.
A place to hunt
I'd say this is a necessity. Here again, this depends on your bank account. There are several ways to hunt without paying an outrageous amount of money. In Texas, they have public land and for around $50 one can access thousands of acres. In Missouri, as another example, there is plenty of free public land. The trick is finding a spot with birds. There are also day hunts for around $100 per day, and even some leases for around $150 per season). If you've got the money, look for some established leases in the newspapers. They can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 per gun. Again, a gun is no good if you don't have a place to shoot it (preferably with birds on it or flying by).
I don't think this needs too much elaboration. Depending on your state, should be around $40.
You can really go crazy here if you want, but there are a few 'must haves'.
Shells. I could write a novel on this, but to start just buy some 8 shot dove load. Buy a case (10 boxes), should be around $60.
Bird/bullet bag or vest. Around $30.
Stool. They are cheap $40 max.
Camo clothing. Depending on your climate, you'll need pants and a shirt. The more pockets the better. You might want to buy some boots too. We'll say $100.
Other accessories you might want to get could be a water bottle (camo, of course), flashlight, a new cooler (to put all your birds you kill in), camo hat, and polarized sunglasses. For now i won't figure these into cost.
That's it! The grand total to get you into business is around $700-$800. It sounds like a lot, but if you don't wait until the last minute you can budget it in over time.
Dove Hunting - Tips on Picking a Good Spot in the Field
Who hasn't done it, shown up for a big dove hunt and put yourself in a bad spot. It is simply miserable to listen to all the blasting around you as you contemplate everything from moving spots to what you did to deserve this. The best bullets, most expensive shotgun, and best trained dog cannot make up for picking a bad spot when dove hunting. Let's look at how we can prevent singing the 'no dove blues'.
First we will look at the three basic ways to get a good spot when dove hunting and then we'll breakdown what to look for when scouting.
Scout the field: If you don't have a sixth sense like my dad does, then it will pay to do a little scouting before you show up for the hunt. You can learn a lot about the dove in just one afternoon. Pay attention to their flight patterns, the sun, and the time they start to fly. Pick a few spots that look promising, just in case someone beats you to your first choice.
Early bird gets the worm: And the early hunter gets the spot and the birds. It's really not a good plan to scout out your spot and come driving up too late to get it. Surely, if you've picked a decent spot it won't last long. Whether you are hunting the morning hunt or afternoon, don't dally, get to the field, take your spot and prepare to be the one making everyone else jealous.
Be still: If your new to dove hunting, then you probably haven't witnessed a pair of incoming dove break into evasive maneuvers on the slightest movement by you. After a dove has been shot at a couple of times or, as Tim Lilley from Game & Fish calls it, educated, they become very jumpy and will change course on any ground movement. This can be devastating to even the best spot. Expert dove hunter, Will Jester, thinks that being still and keeping your dog still is more important than the fanciest camo you can buy. Sure, you'll want to wear some camo but if you are jumping up to shoot way to early the camo won't help.
Those are the basic steps to getting a good spot to hunt. Now let's look at what actually look for when scouting or looking at a field for the first time.
The sun: Get your bearings and figure out east from west and then position yourself with the sun at your back. The sun can really hinder your ability to spot dove much less shoot dove. If having it at your back is not possible try to face where it is not directly in your eyes.
Structure: Dove structure is basically something other than food or water that attracts birds. These structures effect the dove's flight patterns in a field. It could be anything from a group of trees to an old barn in the field. These structures will be a staging area for the dove to hold at until they leave to feed or water. Finding a position within range of these structures can make for some prime real estate in the field.
Bare Spots: A bare spot in the field can be a great place to find holding dove. Dove need to have a certain amount of gravel and sand in there diet. Will Jester says, "These areas can be ideal, food on the ground all over the field will obviously scatter and disperse the doves. A hunter sitting near a visible patch of grit will often get a concentration of birds headed for one place that offers more than one of the things they need." Of course you don't want to sit in the bare spot, just in shotgun range of the spot.
Watering Holes: Dove usually go to water after they eat. Keep this in mind if your considering setting up near water. If there are many hunters set up where the food is, they will get the first crack at the dove. Don't get me wrong there can be some fantastic shoots by water, but if it is a large field with many hunters, I wouldn't recommend it as your primary spot.
If you take these points into consideration when scouting, or heaven forbid, just showing up to hunt, your chances of a successful hunt will improve greatly.