John's Journal...

Dove Hunting Vs. Dove Shooting

Day 3: Dove Calling

Editor’s Note: Dove season arrives soon all across the United States. As a sport, dove shooting is as traditional as a southern barbecue. But something new has been added: calling and decoying the gray speedsters.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewBelieving that dove hunting could parallel waterfowl hunting, and seeing that decoys worked for doves just like they worked for ducks, I began to wonder if doves couldn’t be called to, much like ducks were. On a turkey-hunting trip, I presented this problem to a good friend of mine, David Hale, one of the co-founders of Knight and Hale Game Calls Company in Cadiz, Kentucky. “Sure, you can call doves,” Hale told me. “And you’re never going to believe what I use to call doves.” He reached into the pocket of his turkey hunting vest and pull out a round, wooden owl hooter that he had been utilizing that morning to make turkeys gobble. Blowing on the call while covering the front hole of the call and then releasing it, Hale gave-out the perfect cooing sound made by the doves. “I’ve called in plenty of doves on the owl hooter – especially in roosting areas,” Hale explained. “I’ve never tried it in conjunction with dove decoys, but I’m sure calling will work with decoys. If the doves can see and hear what they believe to be other doves, they’ve got to investigate. I believe your idea about using decoys and calls for doves, just like we use decoys and calls for waterfowl, should work.”

Click for larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWith this new information, I took my Quake Industries’ Stag All-Terrain Seat ( my dove decoys and my Knight and Hale Owl Hooter and headed for the pond where I had spotted doves. If there ever was a hunter ready for dove hunting, I felt I was thoroughly prepared. I set-out my decoys, and when I saw doves approaching the pond, I gave calls on the owl hooter like Hale had taught me. You could see the doves respond to the calling and the decoys. Just like waterfowl, the doves would bank, turn and come into my “spread.” Decoying and calling to doves really became exciting. Although I knew I wasn’t the world’s greatest duck hunter, I found out I could work mourning doves in to range. And, the satisfaction that came from good calling and decoying welled-up inside of me. I realized that doves could be worked around water in much the same manner that waterfowl were worked over water.

How to Hunt Deer Like a ProTo learn more about John E. Phillips’ beautifully-photographed books, many complete with how-to videos, go to, type in “Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and when that comes up, click on the John E. Phillips’ author’s page to see a list of about 20 of his outdoor e-Books available on Kindle.

Tomorrow: The Flight Patterns of Doves and Where to Make Decoy Spreads

Check back each day this week for more about "Dove Hunting Vs. Dove Shooting"

Day 1: Hunting the Beginning of Dove Season
Day 2: Dove Hunting – Not Dove Shooting
Day 3: Dove Calling
Day 4: The Flight Patterns of Doves and Where to Make Decoy Spreads
Day 5: Other Areas for Calling and Decoying Doves

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Entry 680, Day 3