Finally, the first shooting season is upon us as we open this week for doves. I have to say dove hunting for me is the most exciting wingshooting of the season because they are such incredible flyers and are a real challenge to hit on the wing.
I have seen veteran bird hunters become very frustrated when dove hunting because they often confuse a dove with a pheasant or duck. Doves can come into the decoys at speeds up to 40 mph and the "lead" is way different than your typical duck or pheasant lead. I coach hunters to lead the doves at least 6 feet and sometimes more, depending on the wind velocity. Most hunters can get the lead down after a couple of hours but even veteran dove hunters can have bad days shooting.
Don't forget the decoys ! There are a ton of manufacturers that now make plenty of dove decoys to choose from. I like to mix my motion or spinning wing decoys with standard feeding doves in a nice grouping. There's nothing better in wingshooting than watching 20 doves hovering above your decoys.
The three ingredients you need for a good dove hunt are a grain field such as oats, rye or wheat. Large, shade producing trees along the field are great for daytime roosting and of course, water nearby is always a plus.
Once you try dove hunting, you will be hooked for life....and bring plenty of ammo!
Steve Carney is The Flag WZFG Outdoors expert. He can be heard every Thursday morning at 8:05 on AM1100 WZFG. Check out his weekly podcast on am1100theflag.com and hear his Outdoors Angle reports every Friday on AM1100 WZFG. You can also visit stevecarneyoutdoors.com for more information.