Dove hunting can be a lot of fun for beginners. The doves are easy to shoot, and they’re abundant in the Midwest. However, if you’ve been thinking about trying out this sport for yourself, then this is the perfect guide for you!
I am going over the basics of what you need before heading out into that field and then giving some tips on finding them when they fly up in front of your scope. These tips are targeted towards beginners who have never been dumb hunting before, but experienced pros will enjoy these helpful hints too if they’re looking for something quick with just their phone during downtime at work or school.
I want to cover three main topics for you in this dove hunting guide. The first is what type of gear doves require, the second where can you find them, and lastly, once I get my gear, where should I hunt?
It’s crucial to ensure that dove hunting should not cost too much to get started as a beginner. Luckily, it doesn’t because most things are cheaper than some other hunting, such as waterfowl, but one could spend more money on equipment if not careful.
Gear for Hunting Dove
You only need three main things for dove hunting: a gun, shells, and a license. Other pieces of gear can make for more effective or comfortable hunts, but if someone has those three essential items, then they’re ready to go out and hunt doves. Some of these gears are not limited to khaki shorts and light camouflage t-shirt.
Shotgun for Dove
Shotguns come in many different calibers for hunting, but the most commonly used shot is between 12 and 20 gauges. An affinity twelve-gauge that has been modified to be lighter weight makes it easier to carry when out on hunts or while traveling through brushy areas where shots are not always easy due to overhead obstacles like branches.
If I were to pick one gun, it would be a light semi-automatic 20 gauge. This type of firearm is accessible on the shoulder and has minimal recoil, so you can go out shooting all day without getting sore from firing rounds excessively. The ammo for it will probably have an ounce of 7 1/2 or 8 lead shot in them.
Steel shot has become the go-to ammunition for dove hunters that don’t want to fill themselves up with lead. Some states now actually mandate its use inside your dove loads, so when people are shooting steel, they typically go with a size of six just because steel carries less energy downrange.
License for Hunting Dove
The last piece of gear you’re going to need is your hunting license and hip number that sometimes may cost as little as $23. I typically buy mine online, but it’s always good to have a paper copy of it in the field just if you do get checked out by a game warden.
The most challenging area for finding doves is going to be agricultural fields like cut or standing corn. I know that Milo Millet and all those other grains make excellent dog food. So if you can find areas with either cut or standing grain corn–you’ll likely see some dove activity there too!
Hunting Fields for Doves
If you’re looking forward to hunting dove, Virginia has some excellent dove fields. You can find an up-to-date list by doing any basic Google search or talking to one of the game officials in charge there. The first result on that website will be all public ground maintained doves sites within this state.
If none are nearby, then start driving around agricultural areas; sometimes, they’ll assemble near powerlines where it is possible to hunt them down with your shotgun! I had a fantastic hunting experience this year. I was able to go dove hunting in Virginia and found doves on private property that I didn’t own, so of course, the first thing you want to ask is if it’s okay for you to hunt there.
However, after asking permission from the landowner and making sure they were alright with me going through their field looking for game birds like pigeons or, more specifically, Eurasian collared-doves (or ringed turtle-dove),, then everything should be fine! Just make sure not to get caught trespassing by sneaking into someone else’s territory without getting explicit approval.
Hunting Doves in the Morning or Evening?
I’d recommend going in the morning or evening; that tends to be when doves are most active. Make sure you keep a mental note of where they’re landing and go out hunting once you’ve found a place with some doves, but before you hunt, make sure dove season is open!
As a hunter, it is vital to know the regulations in your area. Depending on your state of choice, hunting may occur in the morning, afternoon, or evening during weekdays or all days on Saturdays and Sundays. If this isn’t within what’s allowed in your state, then be sure to check before heading out!
Identify a Spot for Hunting Doves
A few different approaches to hunting doves, and the first step is picking out the spot. If you have done some scouting or acquired Intel about where they will be landing, this can give you an idea of what type of strategy would work best for your particular situation.
Two good methods include trying to get under their flight line and getting near where they’re going to land to increase your chances of success without them flying away before shooting at it again if possible.
You’ll want cover nearby because while doves aren’t super wary, most times/situations are not ideal conditions either- sitting with no tree cover often leads hunters to take longer shots than those who find better protection by hunkering down along trees or brush lines closer together.
Get A Dove Stool!
One thing you might want to bring with you when hunting is something like this, a dove stool, or what many people use are just five-gallon buckets with lids on them. You can put your doves inside the bucket and store shells there too!
The bucket doubles as both a seat for hunters and storage space – it’s convenient. If sitting in one specific spot all day long isn’t working out so well, then try adding some decoys around that area; having multiple plastic ones placed strategically near fences or fields will help attract more birds into those areas where other hunters quickly shoot at them.
Latest Spinning Wing Decoys for Dove
Do not forget about spinning wing decoys that work wonders if you try to lure these beautiful creatures over from another location.
One of the best ways to lure in a dove is with the mojo doves spinning wing decoy. They simulate birds coming into land or just sitting there flapping their wings, and it does not matter what type of day you are having.
Do you want to hunt or shoot doves?
First, load your gun and get ready. One thing that is important when shooting something with a shotgun is the effective range of lead shots. Lead shot’s effectiveness ranges from about 45 yards out in front of the shooter’s position at an angle up towards their target area (almost). That means if anything flies by within this distance, they will be hit directly on with all those pellets!
If a bird is coming towards you, let it get within 15-30 yards. That’s the bread and butter range with a shotgun when giving birds in range, only half of the battle is over, but shooting doesn’t end there; on top of having them in your gun site, they have to be lead effectively. When wing shooting something like doves, for example, you need to aim out front as they’re flying because they’re going faster than your shot downrange.
When you’re shooting at a bird, make sure to adjust your lead on the fly. If it’s just too far away for this type of shot, then try lengthening up or shortening down and find that sweet spot where all those pesky birds will be yours!
Ethical Dove Hunting
Once you connect with your first bird, it’s important to go and pick up each one as you shoot them down. It can be easy for a hunter to get carried away while shooting at the doves by not picking any of them off or even being aware that they are still alive after falling into some tall cover like bushes or trees.
Birds may fly away if dropped in an area where there is no sightline so make sure when hunting, once you have shot a dove it must die before proceeding onto another one; this will allow ethical hunters to avoid losing game from hitting too many birds because they didn’t take their time on making every single kill count!
Have Fun While at It!
Don’t forget the main point of dove hunting is to go out and have fun. Don’t get too worked up about how many birds you shoot, whether you shoot one or fifteen. Try and enjoy nature as much as possible while not forgetting your limit depending on which state you are hunting.
I am a hunter, and I love it. Hunting is not only about shooting birds but also bonding with your friends, family members, and dogs over the great outdoors. Don’t neglect to have fun while you’re working because this will lead to more enjoyment for all of your hunts in the future!