I know, we’ve all been waiting to shoot at something. It seems like the last few months have drug by slower than any off-season in history, but alas! Here we are! It’s Dove Season!
Dove hunting is the perfect way to kick off hunting season. Whether you a beginner who is just getting into wing shooting, or a veteran who bucket sits every year, dove hunts are a really fun way to get the gunpowder flowing.
Dove seasons usually start on or around Labor Day through the end of September, and then there are a couple more short sessions in November and December. The VAST majority of fanfare is around September shooting.
Safety First – Be sure you know what you are doing out there. Get your hunting license. Remember eye protection, keep your safety on, and don’t bury your barrel in the dirt. Never point your gun anywhere below your shoulders. It’s the first hunt of the year, and everyone is going to be jacked up, so remember the fundamentals.
The Location – Dove hunts fill up quick, so if you are reading this now, then it’s probably too late for this season, unless by some miracle a spot opens up. Get to work early on securing your spot in some dove hunts. Networking is key here. Know the right people, and as I’ve said a million times before: be a good dude. Be easy to hunt with. Don’t steal shots or claim birds. There are always more.
The Right Gun – Doves are like silver lightning bolts, so most hunters prefer a fast, auto-loading shotgun as their dove hunting weapon of choice. Misses are plenty, but follow up shots need to be fast and accurate. A 12- 16- or 20-gauge shotgun will all get the job done. For shells, dove loads are usually very easy to find, look for something in the 1200-1300 fps and around a 7.5 load. Most dove are shot within 40 feet of the end of your barrel, so patience is key. Moon shots don’t pay off. Trust me – I’ve tried.
The Get Up – Dove are really smart birds that can sense danger. You’ll need to wear some sort of camo/natural color for concealment. Light, technical fabrics are your friends here. Shorts are OK here, as it’s usually as hot as the dickens. Boots are important as well, as you’ll be trudging through a field. You’ll position yourself under or next to some sort of a structure (a fence, a tree, etc.) or behind a blind. Don’t forget a hat.
The Bucket – The piece of equipment that is most synonymous with dove hunting…we sit and wait. And we sit on a bucket. There are all sorts of fancy dove buckets out there with swivel seats. A great hack is to grab the Yeti Load Out Bucket and an Allen Swivel Seat (it fits perfectly). Let’s keep it high class…
The Fun – Dove hunts are fantastic. They are usually preceded by some sort of BBQ, followed by claiming your spot in the field. I always bring a small cooler with beverages, a big bag of sunflower seeds, and a portable radio to listen to college football.
Get a few decoys and a few Mojos in place, and you are ready to rock. Then it’s time to sit…which as Tom Petty so eloquently put it: ‘the waiting is the hardest part’. But they’ll come flying in, when the fun begins.