As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Our Associate portal can be found here
What does it take to shoot down the most doves on a single hunting expedition? In most cases, the first time and experienced hunters can shoot a large number of doves without breaking much of a sweat. It comes down to the right preparation by getting the right accessories and hunting skills. As you look forth to the upcoming dove season, this comprehensive guide can help you make the most of the limited time window.
When Is Dove Hunting Season?
The first of September often marks the beginning of dove season. Most hunters begin making relevant preparations in August. You will notice the proximity of dove season by the increased number of visitors to the shops selling hunting paraphernalia. Do not let the opportunity pass by making relevant legal and technical preparations for the dove season.
Valuable Dove Hunting Tips
While hunting for doves, you should;
• Camouflage– While hunting for doves, you need to get an attire that blends perfectly with your environment. You should try an attire of dull-colored clothes to hide from the keen eyes of doves. You may fashion blinds from local materials or corn stalks and camo tape to conceal your Gun. Camo grease paint and mask hides are effective in reducing the shine on your face.
• Select a Strategic Point– Choosing an ideal ground requires an exceptional understanding of dove habits. Before the hunting season, take the liberty of identifying private and public locations for hunting doves near you. You shall need to study your terrain early, to get the best point that allows you to shoot and recover the birds with much ease.
• Use A Decoy(S)– Decoys play an essential role in attracting the birds to enter within your shooting range. You can place decoys on open ground, nearby fences, or dead trees at a distance of at least one foot apart while facing the wind. It is an optional addition to your collection that comes in handy in making your hunting more fun and productive. Here is a nice place to find good dove hunting decoys.
• Understand Habits of Doves– The different species of doves have slight habitual differences that you should consider while out hunting. Dig more information on the feeding habits of doves and specific areas where they seek food. Doves visit the watering points at least thrice each day. Understanding such habits allows you to set camp at an ideal spot.
• Scout for Doves– scouting enables you to decide on the exact time and point for shooting down doves in each location. The best time for scouting is before 9 am or after 3 pm as the birds are moving. To get the best location, you should visit several hunting sites and spend more time observing movement patterns and other outstanding features.
• Use the Right Gear– You need to get the ideal equipment required to maximize your outdoor experience. Above all, you should get the right attire, shotgun, ammo, chair, and enough space to carry all your paraphernalia. You can also get sunscreen earplugs, insect repellent, refreshments, binoculars, a pair of sunglasses, and other tools to make you comfy.
• Use A Legal Field or Seek Private Permission– you can hunt for doves in federal and state areas, public and private lands. Ensure that you have a license and relevant permission that you need to hunt for doves. Before the hunting expedition, familiarize yourself with the boundaries and regulations in your hunting area. On private lands, you should seek permission from the owner beforehand.
Dove Shooting Tips
To make the most shots, you should;
• Maintain your Gun in perfect shape– when the dove season arrives, you’ll be in for a big surprise if your Gun has been in storage for long. To make your experience worthwhile, you should clean your Gun once in a while to prevent function problems. A rusty gun ridicules you your dove hunting buddies.
• Know Your Range– you need to understand more about your strengths and weaknesses to improve your performance. Let the doves within 25-35 yards before taking a shot with more accuracy. With more practice, you can learn how to judge the distance and make accurate shots before the bird escapes from within your grasp. Range markers can prove to be highly effective.
• Mount your Gun appropriately– As you take cover, you should focus more on mounting your Gun most appropriately. Mounting reduces your chances of losing clear shots each time you raise your shotgun. You can mount the Gun at a fixed point or use your shoulder in making more accurate shots at the birds.
• Sharpen your Shooting Skills– Practice is ideal in putting you on the path towards perfection. Before the hunting season, you should spend more time on improving your sharpshooting skills to kill more of the swift birds. Shooting at different angles improves your chances of killing doves entering your shooting range from different directions.
• Pattern Your Shotgun– Before you start shooting down doves, you should pattern your shotgun. Never assume that patterns are uniform if you need to enhance the integrity of each shot you take. In case your patterns show open holes, try changing to a different load. You can experiment to determine the right shot size for your shotgun and choke tube.
• Avoid Crowded Fields– Surveying the fields enables you to discern how you can shoot down the most doves each day. You can let the morning shooters have their time before you start your shift at about 10 am. If your field has fewer visitors, you can utilize the morning and afternoon shifts.
• Use the right Choke– Your accuracy is linked to the type of choke you are using. You should take the time to select a good choke for your dove gun. Most preferably, it should not be too tight nor too loose. Wing to your preferences, you may prefer a tighter pattern of the modified in shooting long-range or a full choke on the second barrel.
• Protect your Eyes– Colored lenses play an important role in improving your vision and ability to separate targets with much ease. The rose-colored lenses are more effective as they improve your depth perception, and easier to tell the difference between the target and background. It allows you to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
• Protect your ears– shooting down doves without ear protection can impair your hearing. You can use earplugs, wear earbuds, or use the time to listen to some music on your earpiece. It might be discomforting for you to wear them all day, but you shall hear words even after engaging in dove hunting for several years.
How Can I Shoot the Most Doves on My First Day?
As the dove season gets closer, you should take the liberty of understanding different locations for dove hunting. On the designated day, pick an ideal spot and set camp away from the keen eyes of doves. Be patient and let the bords venture into your shooting range before taking a shot. With the right timing, you can make one or two shots before the birds fly away.
When taking a shot, shoulder your Gun quickly, keep your head on the stock, swing through the dove, and pull the trigger. More practice lets you take perfect shots at the doves within your range. For every shot, maintain a good lead on your target depending on its speed, wind speed, and the distance between you two. It might take a few errors before you can make accurate shots.
When you bring a dove down, focus on the spot that it has fallen to make its retrieval much easier. While making a run for the downed dove, you should refrain from taking more shots at the doves within your shooting range. Ona good day, you can bring a fetching dog along to make your work more simplified.
Best Dove Hunting Gear
As you go hunting for doves, you can get these pieces to make your experience better.
• Best Dove Hunting Vest – A dove hunting vest makes your work easier by making it easy to carry your provisions. In that conjunction, you need an ideal vest to improve your chances of moving effortlessly with the right tools. The vest also works in keeping you warmer and concealing you from the birds. The ultimate dove vest is a product designed to give you the best experience.
• Best Dove Hunting Shotgun – Getting an ideal shotgun requires knowledge of the available types of shotguns. You can play old or new school, depending on your shooting expertise, preference, and availability. You can make a comparison of the available brands before you get the best shotgun that you are most comfortable with in the field.
• Best Choke for Dove Hunting– Basically, you will find a hard time in getting the single best choke. With the wide range of chokes to choose from, you can get one that works best for you. You can an interchangeable or fixed choke. For dove hunting, you can get either the modified or improved cylinder choke to improve your accuracy and extent of the damage.
• Ear Protection Devices– the sense of hearing is ideal for your survival and making the best shots at doves. You need to get earbuds to protect the delicate ears from loud gunshots. You can also use special hearing aids to enhance your hearing and get low-level animal sounds from a safe distance.
• Best Ammunition/Shells for Dove Hunting– In most cases, you might get some difficulty in getting the best type and size of ammunition. You should select shells that are compatible with your shotgun. In addition, you should also bring enough ammunition with you on the first day. On subsequent days, you can make easy choices on the best type and size of shells.
• Hunting Stool– You might discover that standing or staying seated for hours on end can make your experience less fun and more cumbersome. A hunting stool lets your sit down and a from the comfort of your seat. You should get a stool that is portable, comfortable, waterproof, and durable.
• Dog water bowl– A dog serves you well by keeping you company, protecting you, and fetching the game you shot. Your dog needs to stay dehydrated to perform the best while outdoors. The Browning water bowl ids effective for outdoors as it is portable and highly effective in feeding and drinking your dog.
• Knives– On the outdoors, you need a knife for your protection and cutting through the game or specific objects in your way. You need to get a multi-purpose knife to ensure that you can handle different tasks with a single piece. The Reactor Multi-tool SOG knives, for instance, are effective in serving various purposes as you are hunting for doves.
• Right Clothing– Your clothing should be unique to ensure that your cover is safe. Dove hunting is quite demanding compared to other hunting expeditions. In this case, you shall need to ditch the conspicuous clothes to get some dull colored clothes that blend perfectly with your surroundings. While surveying, you should also consider the surroundings to get proper attire.
How do I Choose the Right Loads for Doves?
Due to the size and speed of doves, you need to have the right loads to bring down doves. The recommended shot pattern is about 230 pellets for a strike within a thirty-inch circle. These sizes are ideal in bringing down the highest number of doves possible.
- 12-gauge 1 1/8 ounces of #7 ½ or #8 shot (lead), 1,180 fps
- 12-gauge 1 ounce of #7 shot (steel), 1,300 fps
- Two ¾ inch shell
- 20-gauge 7/8 ounce of #8 shot (lead), 1,200 fps
Understand your accessories deeper so that you may know how to use it to your advantage.
How to Dress your Dove
Spread the doves out so that they may cool. Taking one at a time, snap the wing bones close to its body. Twist the wings and watch them come off easily.
The second stage is plucking off the breast feathers only. At this point, ensure that your hands are clean and dry. Place each bird away from the feathers so that they are not blown onto flesh.
Slide your thumb cautiously under the tip of the breast and pull out as you pull the viscera and body of the bird on the other hand. You should exercise caution to avoid having feathers on its flesh.
Put the remains in a plastic bag so that you may dispose of them as recommended. According to the guidelines, the head or one fully feathered wing should be left attached while in the field and during transportation.
When you get to clean water, you can wash the meat to get rid of the remaining traces of feathers.
At home, put the breasts in plastic to make the freezing process simpler and more effective. Let them stay refrigerated until when you are ready to enjoy the delicacy.
Golden Tips for Mourning Dove Hunting
• Get a license – Most importantly, you should get a license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) before you start hunting mourning doves. You shall have to abide by the available rules and regulations governing the hunting of mourning doves in your region.
• Learn when and where to hunts – Identify the ideal locations for mourning doves. The mourning doves are available in large numbers across the eastern and central united states while they are the most common bords in the Northern parts of the United States.
• Sharpen your hunting techniques – Before you go out hunting for doves, you should take the liberty of improving the skills you need in the field. Most importantly, you should better your shots and camouflage for hours without blowing your cover to make your experience better.
• Use the right equipment for Mourning Dove Hunting – you need to accessorize before venturing out to shoot down mourning doves. Get the appropriate shotgun, ammunition, and other materials that you may need on your first and subsequent dove hunting experiences.
Dove Hunting in Texas
Texas is an ideal state for dove hunting when the season arrives. However, you need to adhere to abide by the guidelines for dove hunting as dictated by the state. Above all, you should get a license and HIP before venturing into the field.
There are few guidelines on the best weapons that you can use in hunting doves. For every single day, you need to stay within the acceptable standards. Across the state, you are allowed a bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 45. Avoid legal woes by adhering to terms and conditions.
For the first two weekends for the special white-winged dove days in the South Zone, you are allowed to hunt from noon to sunset with a daily bag limit of 15 birds. In that case, you are permitted to include a maximum of two white-tipped mourning doves. During the general season in the south, the aggregate bag limit is 15 and a maximum of two-white tipped doves.
Tips for Safe Hunting
- Point the muzzle in a safe direction
- Handle every firearm like it is loaded
- put your finger on the trigger only when you are ready to shoot
- Put on some blaze orange
- Study your target, what is in front and beyond it, make sure it’s safe
- Learn more about hunter safety and get certified here
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Time to Hunt Doves?
In the mornings in September, but usually just take advantage of when you see them flying.
What Do I Need for Dove Hunting?
While dove hunting, you need a dove hunting shotgun, shotgun shells, an ideal location, and optional paraphernalia to make your experience better.
Do I Need Permission to Hunt Doves?
You need to get a license and HIP before you go out hunting. Never forget to carry your credentials when you go hunting.
What Color Should I Wear While Dove Hunting?
You should wear camouflage clothing. Refrain from orange hunting clothes and other bright colors.
Can I Hunt Mourning Doves?
Yes, you can shoot down mourning doves as per the guidelines of your state.
Dove hunting is an exciting sport that serves well in passing the time. However, to make the most out of it, you need to make adequate preparation in terms of paraphernalia and license wise. You need to discover the essence of sharpening your shooting skills before the dove season. With time, you can be able to make more accurate shots at the swift birds within your shooting range. Most importantly, you should consider your safety and that of fellow hunters at all times.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.