Dove Hunting Tips Proven to Bag More Birds
7 Dove Hunting Tips to Help Fill Your Limit
Dove hunting is a treasured tradition for many hunters. It combines the thrill of the chase with the camaraderie of friends and family. Not to mention it is usually one of the first hunting seasons of the year. These agile birds provide excellent sport, challenging marksmanship, and tasty rewards for the hunters who choose to partake in the pursuit. Whether you hunt doves every year or are thinking about starting, here are 7 dove hunting tips valuable to even a seasoned dove hunter.
Our 7 best dove hunting tips include:
- Review Area Hunting Regulations
- Scout Multiple Locations
- Concealment is Critical
- Stay Still and Be Patient
- Use Decoys Where Allowed
- Choose the Right Shotgun
- Hunt Optimal Times
Planning for Dove Hunting Season
The start of September means one thing – dove hunting season. Before you post up on a local farm or public game lands, consider these dove hunting tips.
- Review Area Hunting Regulations: Before packing your dove hunting gear, always familiarize yourself with federal, state, and local regulations. Know the season duration, bag limits, and license requirements.
- Scout Multiple Locations: Doves are common and can be found on most rural lands. They group up, particularly on agricultural lands where food sources like standing and cut corn (and other grains) are abundant and water and roosting sites are close by. By using a hunting app like TrophyTracks, you can record scouting logs and mark potential dove hunting locations.
When it comes to scouting, private land is your best bet. Engage with landowners and ask permission to hunt doves. Many farmers have no issue with dove hunters as long as they are safe and respectful of their property. Once you have secured several areas to hunt, use your scout logs from TrophyTracks to key in on the best sites from documented flight lines and sightings. Weather predictions within the hunting app also give you the best days to plan your dove hunts.
Dove Hunting Tips for More Birds
Unlike hunting other animals, dove hunting success is dependent on a few simple elements.
- Concealment is Critical: Doves can spot movement from a distance. To improve your chances, you need to stay hidden. Camo clothing is a must. Match the time of year with camo that has more greens than browns. Also, conceal yourself in field edges or standing corn to ambush flying groups of birds.
- Stay Still and Be Patient: Find a comfortable position while you are concealed. One of the most important dove hunting tips is to wait. Even in areas with a large dove population, you need to be patient and put in time to be able to be successful.
- Use Decoys Where Allowed: If regulations permit, dove hunting decoys can give you a huge advantage. Decoys will attract doves to your position and more importantly get them in shooting range. Place decoys in open areas just inside shotgun range of your concealed location.
- Choose the Right Shotgun: Shotguns with a gauge of 12, 20, and even 28 are popular for dove hunting. Use the one most comfortable for you. More important than the shotgun gauge is a good trigger. Perfect your trigger pull and shooting technique to be able to hit these quick-flying birds. In addition, light loads will do the job. Choose #7.5 or #8 shot game loads to maximize shot density.
- Hunt Optimal Times: Doves are most active during the morning and late afternoon. Mornings are best for dove hunting, but doves are also active during the late afternoon when they are leaving roost sites and searching for food and water. As mentioned before, your hunting app can be a critical piece of your dove hunting gear. For example, if you have scout logs documenting when you are seeing the most doves on a property you can plan your hunts to maximize your chances.
Additional Dove Hunting Season Considerations
Doves are not all that sensitive to hunting pressure. However, you can ruin a property by consistently taking limits in multiple days. This is why scouting and having multiple locations is an important dove hunting tip. If you only have one location to hunt, consider letting it rest for a few days between hunts. On public land, areas can be shot out quickly where there is high hunting pressure, although as pressure decreases other doves will quickly move in.
Practice ethical and responsible hunting practices by taking responsible shots and collecting all harvested birds. Always know your shooting lanes and avoid shooting at low-flying doves or ones that do not provide an appropriate shot. It is much better to let a dove go than take a bad or dangerous shot.
In conclusion, success can be drastically improved by considering these dove hunting tips. They will elevate your skills and give you an edge over others pursuing doves in early fall. Dove hunting season marks the start of hunting season in general for many. It is an enjoyable way to head to the field as well as a great eating game bird. Put these tips to work and load the freezer with these tasty morsels.