Dove hunting is one of the most fast-paced and challenging pursuits many hunters will encounter. These quick, erratic flyers have been known to cause even the best wingshooters some frustration from time to time.
Although it might be a bit backward to make your first dove hunting trip a high-volume shoot in Argentina, there’s no question that this trial-by-fire provided me with a wealth of experience that might have otherwise taken years to acquire.
If you plan a dove hunting trip, your gun choice isn't the only thing important. Consider other gear you'll need to take along for this exciting hunt.
When the quick passage of time has caught you on the short end of the preparation stick for the opening day of dove hunting season. Don't fret. A few weeks to prepare is better than no time at all. The following tips will help you play catch up and be ready for opening day.
1. Shoot Your Shotgun
Mourning doves are, without question, the most popular game birds in the United States, and perhaps in the entire world. And more and more, dove hunters and landowners are looking for ways to attract them to their property. For hunters, more doves equal more shooting opportunities.
Dove hunting in the Missouri Bootheel is centered around agriculture. Vast fields of corn, soybeans, milo, rice and wheat provide plentiful food supplies both from waste grain and annual weed seeds which grow in the crops. Corn is normally harvested prior to the September 1 dove opener, creating tens of thousands of acres of fresh food supplies. However, when crops are harvested late, usually due to wet spring weather, dove hunters have to hunt alternative food sources, including watermelon fields.
My absolute favorite dove spot is a lone power pole, dead snag, or tree located in or near the middle of a harvested field. A spot like that offers a 360-degree view.
An overgrown ditch or gully that juts way out into a field is another good spot, as are corners and points along fence lines that sit squarely in the flight paths.
Sometimes you must set up in a row of trees bordering a field, but try to find a place where there is a gap or opening so you can get a clear view of doves rocketing in from behind.
Intensive agricultural practices, which include tens of thousands of acres of corn, melons, milo, soybeans, wheat, popcorn and rice, make Southeast Missouri the Mecca of dove hunting activity in the Show Me State.
Doves frustrate the most experienced wingshots. They're fast. They're small. They're hard to hit. If you can down one bird for every three shots fired, you've earned a nickname like "Deadeye" or "Killer."