Dove hunting is an entertaining, fun yet pretty difficult form of hunting. The season of dove hunting sees new participants learn the trades of game hunting and while this particular hunting requires a unique skill set and a precise shooting skill, there are tips to guide you to become a pro at hunting doves this season.
Hunters from far and wide converge together during dove hunting seasons in dove fields spread across the nation to try to take down as many doves as they can, while many new hunters would hardly hit a dove due to the complexity of dove hunting (these small creatures are very acrobatic and faster than several winged creatures, thus require a little more detailed shooting than just aiming at the birds.)
If you are a newbie in the game of hunting, but you’d like to try your hands out on dove hunting due to the simplicity of the preparation of hunting doves, then you are luck. This text would aptly cover useful tips to ensure you don’t just burn several shotgun shells while hoping to bring down one of these winged birds. It’s a good start if you have a younger lad you’d like to introduce into the hunting world.
These are 13 Dove hunting tips to ensure you shoot as many doves this hunting season as you’d like to take home.
PS: You don’t have to be the best shot gunner around to have a worthwhile dove hunting this season, just try to remember these tips and watch how you’d take home a ton of birds.
Dove hunting tips
Rule 1 - Always pick out a bird: No matter how many doves approach (many doves move in groups heading to the feeding area), don’t start firing sporadically and trying to take down several of the birds at a time. This has been proven to be one way to go home empty-handed. Instead, concentrate on one bird in the group and keep shooting at it till it gets hit.
This way, if you can effectively shut out the rest birds from your mind and take on that one bird, it won’t be difficult getting two or three birds before the flock has left visibility range.
Rule 2 - Increased pellets size, reduced numbers: The numbers of pellets used for dove hunting should be considered before you go into the field. On a general faction, most people make do with 7.5 or 8 shotgun shells for doves, however, if you take into consideration the number of pellets in the shells, you’d realize they are a lot and can pulverize the doves not just bring them down.
Also, at long range, the pellets which are usually very small would lose traction and effect when shot. Increasing the size of the pellets would see the effect of the shot take form at long range, causing more knock-downs than the smaller sized pellets.
Rule 3 - Consider using decoys: While decoys are not mandatory, you can always consider using them. Decoys have been proven to help hunt doves at a closer range if strategically placed. For one, you can try to space say four or even five decoys out then have a pair doubled up.
You don’t need to keep any pattern when arranging the decoys. You should note that not all dove decoys are legal to use in hunting areas, so be guided accordingly and find out if what you have in mind is legal in your hunting area (for instance the spinning wing dove decoys).
Placing these dove decoys strategically is also key to a successful hunt. You can have them placed in places where they’ll be seen by several flights of birds entering a feeding area. Some good spots are bare limbs, fence wires and so on.
Rule 4 - Place your focus on gun mount: Before even going all out on the birds, ensure you have mounted your gun perfectly and are ready to take on hunting those really small, acrobatic birds. Remember not to shoot sporadically, rather take your time to watch, and aim before shooting. Also, try not to shoot high by ensuring your cheek is on the stock.
Rule 5 - Take a sit and shoot: Being relaxed while shooting doves is the key to a good hunt, so you need to take a sit and shoot. You can do well to practice hunting by shooting clays while sitting too, just before the start of the duck hunting season.
Rule 6 - Flat-foot stance: Once it comes to hunting birds, your shooting stance should always be considered. Always try to keep your shooting stance 100, by staying flat-footed. Try to maintain a level ground no matter where you are stationed. I.e. if you are hunting from a rough unleveled ground, try to have the area on which your feet would be stationed leveled. This way, you have a leveled ground to take on better hunting.
Rule 7 - Be disciplined/Gun Control: Being disciplined in this sense is more than having a little careful behavior. Gun control here tells the tale of a less lax usage of the gun. You shouldn’t just go dove hunting to listen to the sound of your shotgun crack down without leaving the hunting ground with any trophy game.
Being in total control of your hunting season is the key to a great hunt. Having a shotgun fully prepped and ready to take down those small birds is one thing, being able to effectively hit the target is another thing.
Don’t be in haste to shoot and just keep wasting pellets on the acrobatic birds; a little gun control would do you much good. Know when to swing your gun, change position and aim right for an effective hunting season.
Rule 8 – Practice head control: It doesn’t matter if you are a professional dove hunter or a newbie in this competitive sport, for an effective hunting of this little flight birds you do need to follow through with this simple rule. If you plan to aim right and bring down several of the birds, you should keep your head down on the stock.
Having your head in its proper position would let you aim right and shoot right. Else, you’ll be shooting high. Also, don’t forget to have your cheek gently placed near the comb of the stock. If you don’t do this, you are most definitely having unstable swings side-to-side.
There’s also the issue of extreme angle shot leaving you with a sore looking lump if you don’t follow through with the head control practices.
Rule 9 – Position Matters: Your hunting position is another key consideration for a successful hunt. If you can, try to select your shooting area before the date for the hunt.
Although there’s a probability that you won’t be seeing the routes the doves would be using for their food quest, but you make do with a map of the terrain, what’s in the vicinity like trees (mostly those with bare branches which are stationed near the field), hills, areas with the most winged movement such as power lines, and other natural areas.
Also, don’t forget to be stationed where you’ll have access to incoming and outgoing birds. This can be your defining moment in your hunt as your shooting average could skyrocket if well selected.
Rule 10 – Practice makes perfect: Before going into a duck hunting field, you might want to practice a little with some friends. Set up a make believe dove field and try to throw and shoot. This would prep you for the big day.
Try several things, stances, even guns till you get what you feel would work for you to bag a lot of doves. Consider altering distances too while shooting to get the fixed point that works for you.
Rule 11 – Catch it when it’s coming in: A good time to hit your gun’s trigger is when your gun’s barrel block a dove that’s coming in and about to hit a fence or descend on a decoy or land on a crop field or power line. Ensure you take it out once it has begun its descent not while still high above the ground.
Rule 12 – Catch it when it’s going away: Just like when it’s coming in, another good time to hit a bull’s eye when dove hunting is when the dove comes from your back and makes to leave from your front. You would need to be precise and aim just a few inches below the bird to get it down in front.
Rule 13 – Exaggeration pays off: When dove hunting, note that exaggeration pays off. Try to overshoot. There’s a laid out principle when shooting targets which are floating in the air; this principle dictates that one inch of barrel is equivalent to one foot of distance (in air). So try to exaggerate by six or more feet.
Dove hunting isn’t so difficult if you plan your hunt well. Memorizing these dove hunting tips would see you load full duffel of hit birds after your hunt.