10 Dove Hunting Tips
Finding 10 dove hunting tips to follow is, relatively speaking, a tough task. In the world of upland game hunting, birds like quail and pheasant dominate the scene. Dove hunting, though, can provide the same level of excitement and enjoyment that any other upland game does. In fact, doves are often even more challenging because of the speedy, unpredictable nature of their flight patterns. In effect, using these 10 great dove hunting tips will give you the extra advantage necessary to bag a limit in the field.
- Get a dog. Upland game hunting is traditionally done with trained game dogs. It’s their job to sniff out and scare the birds in the air. Without one, you’ll likely just be wandering around the field with a gun for a few hours.
- Get your gun. Because they’re so small and quick, a lot of dove hunters choose go with a bigger-than-traditional upland game shotgun. Perhaps the most popular is a twelve gauge pump action. The increased size and quick action will help you to hit fluttering birds.
- Walk, walk, walk. Before setting foot on the dove hunting ground, make sure you’re in good enough shape to do some serious walking. Dove hunting often requires that you cover miles before running into a flock of birds.
- Invest in protective gear. Unlike hunting for other species, you will be shooting a ton when going after doves. Most upland game hunters prefer a vest with an added protective shoulder pad to cushion intense, continual shotgun recoil.
- Bring several boxes of ammo. In the same vein, the sheer amount of shooting in dove hunting means that you’ll need to bring a box or more of shotgun shells. You don’t want the lack of ammo to be an affecting factor when trying to take your limit.
- Practice your shooting technique. Clay bird shooting is one of the best technique-honing activities that a dove hunter can engage in. When you’re not in the field, get out to the shooting range as often as possible – those doves are far from easy to hit.
- Set your gun up for doves. Most shotguns come with an adjustable choke that regulates the size of your shotgun patterns. When you go dove hunting, make sure it’s set nice and wide to give you a better chance of making kills.
- Train your dog on doves. The game of choice for most upland game dogs, of course, is fetch. One trick to help get your dog used to bringing you doves is to freeze a couple of them, and use them as fetch toys for your pup (outside, preferably).
- Use group communication. This dove hunting tip pertains to the fact that dove hunting is usually a team sport. Develop a quick series of signals with your hunting buddies to optimize your performance in the field together.
- Scout the area, or consider a guide. If you’re going to be dove hunting in a familiar spot this year, make sure you get out there beforehand to see where the doves are. It will save you a lot of walking when the time comes to hunt. Similarly, your hunting group might consider throwing in on hiring a guide if taking a trip to unfamiliar terrain in search of doves.