Hunting and Outdoors

Give Dove Hunting a Try

Dove

If you are new to dove hunting, it can be a humbling experience. Hitting a fast moving object with another much faster moving object is even harder than it sounds. Practicing with clay pigeons will help, but only so much. A few days ago, I had the pleasure of hunting in some prime dove country in west Texas. I’ve been dove hunting multiple times a year since I was in grade school, but some of my compatriots did not grow up so blessed. They were visibly excited to give it a try.

Dove Resting on a Tree
Dove Resting on a Tree

A friend invited us out to a lease he had for the season. When late afternoon came, we took a jeep down a very rocky trail toward our hunting spot. We drove for what seemed like miles while the large rocks in the road made it feel like we were riding in a giant paint shaker. At the end of the trail, a barbed-wire fence wrapped around a large sunflower field. The open area was huge; over 50 acres of dove-magnet brush lined with cover for easy hunting. The layout looked just about perfect. My blood started pumping as I climbed out of our vehicle. Almost immediately, I heard that fluttering noise combined with that unmistakable cooing chatter that doves make. They were flying overhead in groups of two, then five, then six—and they just kept coming.

I ripped my shotgun out of its case and fed shells into the chamber as fast as my fingers could move. I wasn’t sure how long this level of activity would last. Hunting in Texas most of my life, I learned that animal patterns are just as erratic as the weather. The slightest change in light or environment can shift nature around in an instant, and I knew our presence might disturb their behavior.

This field was the best upland game bird hunting ground I’ve ever seen. We blasted at birds for almost three hours. Our shoulders were a black and blue monument to our fortunate situation. We barely had time to fetch our birds between kills. As soon as you would blast one, two more would come around. Running out of shells was soon becoming a real possibility, and we had only just arrived. We still had two more hunts scheduled for the weekend, and things were looking good.

When the feathers settled and the smoke cleared, we tallied our birds. I gave my friends a decent ribbing for throwing so much lead into the air and not limiting out. Most of them are avid deer hunters, and before the hunt, I got the impression that dove hunting to them was like fishing for perch, it just seemed too easy. However, they had what they described as a humbling experience. Doves fly with an unnatural, erratic pattern which makes them particularly hard to follow, especially for an inexperienced hunter. I don’t care what anyone says, doves can dodge a shotgun pattern—I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

If you haven’t had a chance to get out and shoot some doves this season, I urge you to give it a go. I’m sure there are tougher animals to hunt, but dove hunting to me is one of the most rewarding and fun experiences one can have in the outdoors.

Have an interesting dove hunting story? Share it with us below!

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Comments (2)

  1. Went out Labor day of this year. Shot at one and it immediately flipped on it’s back and started a free fall… As I proudly watched him plummet, my happiness turned to embarrassment as the dove flipped back over and flew off after about five feet!

    I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure with those moves he was a “Top Gun” graduate!

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