Dove season is one of my favorite social events. Laughing, shooting and good times had by all. I also love the way dove taste. Here are some tips to make your next hunt tremendous:
1. Bring a stool or bucket. Unless the action is super hot, you’ll want to sit. A bucket with a spinning top gives the added advantage of allowing you some storage, but I prefer a folding stool since I use a backpack for storage. This lets me shoot any dove I see on the way to my spot.
2. Wear a bird hunting vest. When I’m walking to retrieve my downed dove, I often have other dove fly over head. With a vest, I have a place for extra shells and somewhere to put the birds once I’ve picked them up.
3. Don’t forget your retrievers. My favorite are little kids under 10. They love chasing down your birds, and it’s an easy way to introduce them to hunting. They don’t have to be still or quiet, and its action packed. Do bring a BB gun for them to play with in case the birds aren’t flying. Or bring your dog.
4. Mojo Dove. This and other decoys aren’t necessary, but are fun when they work. I’m not sure how much longer they will, because ducks wised up pretty fast. But for now Mojo’s are still pretty effective.
5. Off/Thermacell. Forgetting this can ruin your hunt. The sun, poison ivy, cactus and snakes will usually be present yet avoidable. But if the skeeters are active, you have little hope.
6. Drinks. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to walk back to the truck for a drink and watched as dove flew right over where I was sitting. Bring something cool to drink.
7. Neutral colored, light weight clothing. I’ve killed limits in blue hospital scrubs, blue jeans, and even a floral Hawaiian shirt, but I think the birds flare more if you wear bright clothing. You can do it in shorts, but long pants help when the birds go down in high grass or thorns.
8. 12 or 20 gauge shotgun and 7.5 or 8 shells. I’ve killed hundreds with an improved cylinder and modified choke. However, with an increase in the number of Eurasian Collared Dove, or if there are pigeons where you hunt, 6 and 7s kill a little better.
9. Game Shears. I pluck the vast majority of dove, but not their wing tips. These get snipped in the field along with their feet.
10. Friends. Dove hunting is a social event and should be treated as such. Multiple hunters improve hunting by keeping the birds on the move. Share the fun.
Pretty simple list, but if you forget any of these it can negatively influence your hunt. If you dove hunt regularly, what do you consider a must have when you go out?