When we think of doves, we think of the beginning of your hunting career. Maybe you went as a small child, because it is a staple hunt.
Or maybe your new to hunting and you’ve heard that hunting dove is a great first hunt to explorer.
The truth is that dove hunting is a great hunt to get started with. With that being said, lets get into some of the basics of hunting dove.
Right after the sun rises, doves can be found at any given source of water, be it a lake or pond. They usually take off by dusk, but they don’t really go too far, so you can bet you will be seeing them not too far, if not very soon the next morning at the same spot.
After their early morning session at the water sources, they usually perch up on power lines, fences and tall trees. Make no mistake; these birdies like to hang in high spots, so it’s best to get them before they take off to feed in these high perching spots.
When we head out on our dove hunts, we will want to pinpoint the types of doves in our area to hunt for. There is also different bag limits depending on the type of dove. This entails knowing a bit about the different species of dove out there. Let’s explore.
Types of dove:
Mourning Dove: the mourning dove is incredibly common to find throughout the United States. This dove has a long tail. The mourning dove may be the easiest to hunt, due to their tendency to gather is very large flocks. Even though these doves are very migratory, they can be found in pretty much all seasons. The fall is the best time to hunt for this species. Also, it should be noted that mourning doves nest in shrubs, trees, and sometimes in flat high grasslands.
Ringed turtle-dove: The ringed turtle dove can be very white in color. However, usually these birds will have darker feathers on the top, and a white belly. These doves usually can be found alone, and the only time they form flocks is when they are feeding and drinking around water sources. Just another type of bird to find by the flock when eating! The little time they are in flocks they will be very noisy, so listen up for repetitive dove roosting.
White-winged dove: These nice looking birds can be found nesting in shady trees found many times in your own front yard. Like most doves, these birds fly out to the surrounding agricultural spots to feed. You can rack up some serious numbers hunting down this type of bird, as their population size is phenomenally large, and they are quite accessible when flying to their feeding zones. Don’t be surprised if your hunting dog is bringing back quite a bit of these birdies.
Eurasian collared-dove: Like its name denotes, these doves come from Europe and Asian areas of the world. These birds are almost fully gray, with a black band of feathers usually found around the back part of their necks. Throughout history, these doves made the trip across the Atlantic, and now are prevalent in many places here in the USA. These doves will likely be hanging around more populated areas, specifically populated centers along the countryside. They are quite intelligent, and if you happen to shoot a few down, be proud of your abilities in dove hunting. These birds can also be found year round.
Rock dove (pigeon): Ah yes the most notorious dove of them all, the rock pigeon. Surely you will know this one the most, as you will see pigeons in almost every major US city. However prevalent this dove may be, they are still quite intelligent. Even though these are true city dwellers, you can still find pigeons out in the countryside, so they are also fair game for hunting.
Best dove hunting shotgun
Let’s consider doves for a second here. Doves are small birds who maneuver quite quickly. They’ll flap away in an instant, and before you know it your prize for the day has taken off into the sunset. Now think, what type of gun, pertaining to size, should be the best for this type of bird? You got it! Light and maneuverable just like the bird.
However, when we think of shotguns we don’t necessarily think of light and maneuverable. Shotguns are more associated with close range power. So we want to make our shotguns as convenient as firing of rounds as possible
For dove hunting, most shotguns will kill doves. But we want the best shotgun right? Our shotgun should give us the best chance to kill doves on any given hunt, so if we want to have a one gun fits all for our dove hunts we will have to get a specific type.
Here we would like to go with around a 24” barrel. Just about all shotgun gauges are sufficient for this bird. For hunting dove we’d recommend a shot size of 6-8.
Doves have very good eyesight, so we’ll have to pay extra close attention when considering out hunting apparel for dove hunting. Many hunters don’t even bother with camouflage, but we suggest you all at least wear a nice camouflage vest or top so that you aren’t too obvious when hunting. What’s most important is that you don’t make any sudden movements, or these birds’ eyes will catch you in an instant.
If you are serious about this though, a seasoned and successful dove hunter will undoubtedly go hunting decked out in camo. You need all you can get out there if you are going to rack up your dove hunting stats.
Here are some other things that are very useful for dove hunting wear.
Hat or Sweat Headband: We want to have super clear eyesight, and that means no sweat in our eyes. Try to get your hands on a camouflage one.
Bird vest: You’ll want to have a bird vest on so that when you are walking around in a good spot you’ll have a place to keep those downed birds, this will also be the best place to keep tons of shells on you.
Sun Screen: You’ll be exposed to the sun a good amount.
Snake Pants: Depending on where you are, these will prevent from serious snake bites, or thorny brush giving you a little needed headache.
Boots: You will want to have some good boots, something you will feel comfortable walking around in for the morning or evening. Also something that you will feel comfortable walking around through weeds and brush.
Eye and Ear protection: Always thinking safety.
Shells: The average hunter will take 4-5 shots for every one bird they hit, so be sure to bring enough shells for the hunt.
So remember to bring those on your dove hunting. If you have any suggestions yourself, let us know!
Ready for the dove hunt?
Dove hunting is one of the most easily accessible hunting sports. Doves are plentiful year round and can always be found somewhere close to your home.
When you’re out on your hunts just remember that doves are small birds, and if you don’t have a hunting dog, it will be very easy to lose these little birds in nature.
Remember to visually set markers for where you shot down a particular bird and until you perfect it, try to only take down one bird at a time. There is nothing worse than hitting an animal only to never find it again. Perfecting this fine art will give you great dove hunting stats in the years to come and we know you’ll have fun, because frankly, all types of hunting are a great joy.
So take this advice to heart and start right now to prepare for your next dove hunting adventure, and let us and everyone else know how it goes!