John's Journal...

The Mystery Dove Field – Why Birds Came There

Day 5: Tips for Improving Your Dove Hunt This Year

Click for Larger ViewDo you want to shoot at doves, or do you want to take doves? I’ve missed as many doves as anyone you’ve ever known, but here are some simple tips that have helped me take more doves on every hunt I’ve attended. Many times small things make a difference when it comes to wing shooting. For instance, one of the first things I have to remember when I start getting ready for dove season is that I have to tell myself every time I see a dove I want to take, “Fool, put your cheek on the stock. If you don’t have your cheek on the stock, you’ll miss the shot for sure.” I have to call myself a fool to get my full attention. These suggestions are ones I’ve gleaned from some of the best dove hunters I know.

Click for Larger ViewTip #1: Buy quality shot shells. By paying $1 or $2 more for higher-quality shotshells, you drastically can improve your average for doves taken. Shoot the best grade of trap and skeet shells, rather than the cheap, rock-bottomed-priced shotshells. The higher-quality trap and skeet shells produce a better pattern with fewer holes to increase your odds for taking doves.

Tip # 2: Don’t pull the trigger, until you can feel the stock against your cheek. One of the reasons most hunters miss doves is because they’re looking at the doves, instead of having their cheeks against their stocks. To make accurate shots on doves and get good sight pictures, keep your head down, and look straight down the barrel. If your cheek isn’t against the stock when you pull the trigger, you more than likely won’t take the dove.

Tip #3: Purchase a quality pair of sunglasses, since often you’ll be looking into the bright sun, which puts a strain on your eyes. A quality pair of sunglasses not only will enable you to see more and better with less eye strain but also will protect your eyes from falling shot.

Click for Larger ViewTip #4: Use decoys. Several types of decoys can increase your odds for taking doves - the standard dove decoy that hooks onto a tree limb and a spinning-wing decoy that operates off batteries. Doves are flock birds and like to be with other doves. If a dove sees another dove, there’s a strong likelihood that the dove in the air will turn and come toward the decoy. One of the most-effective decoys I’ve ever used is the Mojo Spinning Wing decoy. I’ve seen that decoy pull-in doves from several-hundred yards away. However, when the doves come-in to the decoy, they often will drop-down at 50- to 100-yards away and come-in really low. If you plan to use a spinning wing decoy, set-up on the edge of a field where you can take low birds without endangering other hunters.

Tip #5: Blend-in with your surroundings to take the more doves. Mossy Oak makes a wide variety of camouflage patterns that allows you to pick the one that will blend-in with the foliage and the terrain in the area where you’re hunting and also break-up your silhouette. Study the terrain where you’ll be hunting doves, and choose the best camouflage pattern for the foliage and the terrain.

Click for Larger ViewTip #6: Practice at a shooting range before the season to tune-up your shooting. To drastically improve your odds this season, go to a sporting range, and pay a shooting instructor to walk behind you at every stand to teach you what to do and how to shoot better at the different targets on the range. One wing-shooting tune-up a year can make a big difference in the number of doves you take, and how quickly you get your limit throughout dove season.


Check back each day this week for more about "The Mystery Dove Field – Why Birds Came There "

Day 1: Why Doves Came to a Field that Had No Food
Day 2: Taking 15 Doves with 20 Shots for a $100 Reward
Day 3: The Best Dove Shoot Ever
Day 4: A Four Generation Dove Hunt
Day 5: Tips for Improving Your Dove Hunt This Year

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Entry 630, Day 5