Dove season is here! Check out these five simple dove hunting tips and some top gear picks.
When September rolls around each year, I know that it’s time to put down my bass rod and break out my bird gun; ladies and gentleman, dove season is back upon us.
Though aiming at large droves of birds might seem like a simple task, filling your daily limit on this fast flying fowl can be rather tricky. Take these five simple tips and top gear picks to the field with you to help fill your game bag.
1. Face Decoys into the Wind
As hunters, we need to stack the odds in our favor as much as we can, especially when trying to take aim at a fast flying bird.
By facing your decoys into the wind, other birds will likely approach from the same direction and will be slowed down. Take aim and shoot when the bird stalls in mid air.
2. Hunt with a Group
Not only is dove hunting a great time to enjoy the outdoors with both family and friends, it’s also extremely helpful to have more hunters out in the field.
Birds that are being shot at from one hunter will continue to fly out and away, whereas birds that are being shot at from multiple directions will continue to fly between your group of shooters.
Strategically place your group around the perimeter of your hunting area and always be careful when taking shots at low flying birds.
3. Swing Through Your Shot
The deer hunter in me always wants to point, aim and shoot. However, it didn’t take me long for me to figure out that dove hunting is not deer hunting.
Whether the birds are up high or flying low and across, always remember to lead the bird with the barrel of your shotgun and swing through your shot. Many missed shot opportunities are the result of falling behind the bird.
The less focus that you put on the bead of your shotgun and more that you put in front of the bird will help drastically.
4. Take Birds Within 30 Yards
Though today’s ammunition market is filled with great rounds that help deliver tight patterns at long distances, sometimes being able to shoot further isn’t always the answer.
Taking birds within the 30-yard mark is enough room for your pattern to spread out, but close enough to not become too wide and not have enough knock down power. Delivering the maximum amount of shot within a 25- to 30-inch radius is going to be what you’re looking for.
Be sure to shoot your gun ahead of time at some clay pigeons and know how what your pattern looks like within 30 yards.
5. Flock Up
As with most decoy setups, the more that are out, the better off you are. Dove hunting is definitely no exception. Tricking overhead birds into thinking that their missing out on something on the ground is key.
By setting up a number of different decoys you will improve your chances of having more inbound birds. Use a combination of flying decoys and stationary ones to create a realistic flock on the ground.
Top Gear Picks
Here is some gear to take with you to the field this season.
1. Mojo Voodoo Dove Decoy
The Mojo Voodoo Dove Decoy is an absolute must to bring along. The magnetic detachable wings are super easy to pack up in your vest and quick to set up in the field.
2. Cabela’s Men’s SUPERTEC by Medalist Short Sleeve Top
Finding lightweight clothing that is still rugged is often difficult to find. The Cabela’s Men’s SUPERTEC by Medalist Short Sleeve Top will keep you cool all day and will stand up to the elements of being out in the field.
3. Filson Mesh Game Vest
The Filson Mesh Game Vest is made of extremely dependable tin cloth; paired with large pockets and a spacious game bag, this vest will help you easily pack in and out gear and birds this season.
With the right gear and a few good tips, you should now be ready to fill your limit of those tasty little birds!