For many hunters across the country dove season is the first opportunity to get into the field and enjoy some high paced wing shooting action. With most seasons kicking off September 1st, the weather is starting to become more mild making for some really enjoyable hunts. Dove hunting allows for more talking and movement than deer or duck hunting, making it a great option for introducing kids or new hunters into the sport.
All and all dove hunting has a fairly low barrier of entry compared to other hunting pursuits. That being said there are a few pieces of dove hunting gear that you’ll want to have to ensure a successful hunt. The first thing you will need is a reliable shotgun. Both twelve and twenty gauge loads are sufficient for dove. Doves are small birds and not terribly difficult to knock down. 7.5 or 8 shot size are more than adequate for cleanly dispatching doves and smaller shots sizes such as these allow for more bb’s in the shell which come in handy on the fast flying small birds.
Next I would recommend getting a good portable chair. Dove hunting requires a lot of sitting, but the action can happen fast and when it does you want to have a solid shooting platform. A hunting stool like the CHAMA Vaquero Chair is a perfect option. The CHAMA Pursuit Chair is a portable hunting chair that swivels 360 degrees making it ideal for passing shots on doves. Another excellent feature are its adjustable legs that allow you sit level on any terrain. The backrest also comes off, effectively making your chair a swivel hunting stool as well. This feature is especially nice because it allows you to wear your dove hunting vest without the back of the chair getting in the way.
Much like ducks, doves respond really well to decoys. Dove decoys can help bring realism to the area you are hunting and the flash provided from decoys like the MOJO Voodoo Dove help draw attention from doves that are flying by. If you are hunting near a water source or in an open field you can use a dove decoy tree. Using one of these trees will allow you to elevate your decoys off of the ground making them visible from a greater distance. For public land hunters a dove decoy setup can set you apart from other hunters and bring more birds within shotgun range. If you haven’t used them before, consider throwing a dove decoy or two into your vest this season.
Depending on where you are hunting I think it is important to talk about snake boots. I have run across my fare share of rattlesnakes hunting in western Kansas and south Texas. I recommend the Danner San Angelo Snake Boot. Not only are they extremely durable they are comfortable enough to wear all day. Another great snake boot option is the Chippewa Men’s Descaro Brown and Olive Round Toe Snake Boot. I owned a pair of these for years and they ended up being my go to boot for just about everything. While on the topic of snakes, it’s important to note that if you are going to be hunting with a dog that you understand the appropriate steps to take if your dog is struck. If I am hunting a new area I always do some research and find the nearest ER Vet and save their number. You don’t want to be caught off guard if your four legged companion takes one on the nose.
LOCATION HOT SPOTS – FIELD, TREES, WATER
Doves are migratory birds, so population numbers will depend on the timing of the migration and where you are hunting specifically. The Texas dove season starts September first along with Kansas, while other hot spots like Alabama and Georgia start later in the month. No matter where you are hunting there are a few things you can key in on that will help you bag more birds.
Food is one of the most important factors in finding birds in large numbers. Because doves migrate they need a lot of calories and crops like sunflowers, soy beans, wheat, or milo are all excellent food sources for doves. Food sources are great places to target both in the morning and the evening. Water sources also make for a great hunting spot. Doves will often return to water after feeding and small ponds are perfect because you can often shoot all the way across them. Using a dove decoy setup can really shine while hunting over water. Lastly, roost trees are another thing to look for. Doves will often return to roost trees late morning after feeding and again in the evening during the last few minutes of legal shooting light.
My ideal hunting location would be on the edge of a crop field, with a row of roost trees behind me and a pond somewhere close by. When you have all of these key factors available to you, it really gives you the best chance to be where the birds want to be. If you can find food, water and roost trees and the migration is strong in your area you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun and will likely struggle to keep your gun loaded!
FINAL THOUGHTS & HOW CHAMA HELPS
Dove hunting can be an absolute blast and is a great way to kick off the fall hunting season every year. Not only is it fun, but doves make for great table fare as well. Whether you are an experienced dove hunter or hoping to get into the field this year for the first time I hope these dove hunting tips help. If you have any questions or dove hunting tips for us please give us a shout! You can reach us on social media and we are always happy to talk hunting. If you have a CHAMA send us your photos, we love seeing the chair being used by happy customers in the field.