I hope this article gets you in the spirit for dove hunting, with the season right around the corner. For those of you new to the sport, I wanted to share a few tidbits of advice before you head afield!
This is part of my Girl’s’ Guide to Dove Hunting series.
Though I’ve hunted many other game animals, I always come back to my first love: dove hunting. Dove have long been my favorite animals to pursue and I bet you will enjoy it as well.
Advantages of Dove Hunting (over Deer or Turkey Hunting)
Dove Hunting has a lot going for it, hence my love for it!
- There are more chances to shoot. (ie. you can bag 15 dove in one day, whereas you can only bag a couple deer.)
- Hitting moving targets (dove) is a lot more fun and challenging than hitting a deer that is standing still.
- You don’t have to worry about being silent.
- It’s a social activity–you can do it with other people and make it an evening out.
- You don’t have to wake up early. (Can I get an amen?)
- Cleaning a dove is pretty easy.
- Weather during dove season is much more pleasant than deer season.
- You don’t have to cover yourself in camo — though natural, neutral colors like brown and olive are recommended.
Disadvantages of Dove Hunting
- The meat isn’t as plentiful as with deer or turkey. Dove are small little suckers!
- Dove can be hard to hit. They fly at a steady pace but you have to be good at judging distance.
- Some evenings you won’t see many dove flying. Weather, your location, and availability of water are a few factors–and who knows, the cosmos and feng shui might also play a role (some nights I have wondered…) But in those cases just try to focus on the pleasant evening.
Dove Hunting Styles
I like to say there are two types of dove hunters: those who like to sit peacefully in one spot, soak in the scenery, and chat with their hunting partners (ME), and those who like to walk around in pursuit of the birds, not stopping until the sun goes down or they get their bag limit. (MY HUSBAND.)
How to Be a Good Hunting Buddy
The best people to hunt with are those who don’t give up, who stay optimistic even when no birds are flying, and who chip in on the cleaning.
Having a good shot around doesn’t hurt, either, but don’t worry about that on your first trip out.
Don’t be Afraid to Shoot at a Lot!
Key word: at. Shoot at.
“Big shots are little shots who keep shooting.” – Christopher Morley
This is one of my favorite quotes, but it especially is perfect for dove hunting. You will need to take a lot of shots when you are first starting out so you can figure out what birds are in range, which angles you are better at, and so you can get comfortable with your gun. You might just miss a few–or a lot–and that is okay. But if one thing is true, you will NOT get any better by being timid and only taking a few shots. Use an entire box of shotgun shells before taking a rest.
Of course, always stay within your bag limit.
Hunting with the Guys
There are a few things you need to know about dove hunting with guys. Disclaimer — a) this has just been my experience and b) not every guy is like this. Thank you to my husband for not being like this!
They love to brag about how many birds they bagged. Don’t let that intimidate you.
They shoot a lot, so if you want to keep up with them you need to keep shooting.
Nearly every hunter has a set way they like to do things when hunting. “THIS is how you aim your gun,” or “THIS is how you clean a bird” etc. I suggest listening to their advice, because it may be great, but also keep in mind it’s not always the voice of God and you should trust your own training and knowledge too.
One Final Word on Being a New Dove Hunter!
You don’t have to grow up in a hunting family or be the world’s most avid dove hunter in order to appreciate a good hunt and be a part of the fun evening. Anyone, young or old, male or female, new hunter or seasoned veteran, can pick up the sport easily and appreciate the beauty of a soaring dove and the hope of good meal.
Happy hunting, ladies!
Here are some other dove hunting posts you might like: