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dove hunting, newbie

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by borrowedtime69, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. borrowedtime69

    borrowedtime69 Well-Known Member

    hello, im looking to you experianced dove hunters to share your wisdom please. this is going to be the first real year im gonna try dove hunting. i have decoys, both the plain solid ones and the ones with the spinning wings. im using a mossberg 500 20 ga with winchester 2 3/4" 7 1/2 shot size. got plenty of camo and alot of patience.

    i tried last year to hunt on the plains of CO at an area that had a handful of small lakes, some tree lines, high marsh grass, and a cornfield in the middle. this is about the only decent hunting area availible to me nearby.

    if i take a very long day i could hunt near a medium size river thats pretty popular.

    can you give me any tips for a more successful hunting season this year?

    do i need a blind of some sort? how far should i sit from the decoy spread, are there better times than others? will my medium choke be ok?

    thank you all in advance! - Eric
  2. gunmn74

    gunmn74 Well-Known Member

    I have been dove hunting in Colorado and Kansas for 25+ years and
    what you describe is more than I use. In Colorado I hunted in yuma
    county every year and there was a nice almost dry river with lots
    of sand and plenty of trees we shot are limit just sitting in the
    shade letting them come to water.:)
    I now live in central Kansas I hunt a spot with a lake on the next
    property. I sit with my back to the lake with a tree line between
    the lake and me. I have decoys out in the bean field in front of me
    and they come flying over from the lake and spot the deeks and put
    on the brakes.:D
    It is so easy the challenge is not who gets thier limit, it is who gets
    thier limit in the least amount of shots.
  3. islandphish

    islandphish Well-Known Member

    you've got the right equipment.

    Hint: find ditch weed(marijuana) they feed on this HARD!

    Hint2: Canyons help channel the birds to water.

    I would sit withing a short-medium shot of your decoys.
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    So you find decoys to be useful?

    I've asked people here, and most say they don't use them. That, of course, means they don't KNOW if they'd work.:)

    I'm trying to find places that aren't so crowded this year, and I figure that something that will bring doves in will help make the hunting worthwhile in marginal spots.

  5. Kilgor

    Kilgor Well-Known Member

    The mojo (spinning wing) decoy works very well. The stationary, not so much.

    Be near food, water, or gravel (preferably all three at once).
  6. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member


    Find a flight line, that a lot of doves use to get where they are going.

    Most of these are overlooked.

    When a place I like had not had any water, the only thing that draws birds to that place, we found where the doves flew, while going to another water hole that always draws a crowd of S***Heads, we stayed miles away from that, and had a great season!
  7. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    Big Al, hope I wasn't one of the S*** heads. ;)

    We have a favorite area out on King Anvil Ranch that we usually limit out in 30 minutes. We don't even hit the tank until around 8 am.

    Borrowedtime69, add your name to the list on the sticky under hunting mentors and see if you can hook up with a local. When I first started out I hooked up with a work buddy and he taught me well.
  8. Davo

    Davo Well-Known Member

    I too am going dove hunting for the first time early next month and am very excited. I need to get out and practice with my shottie a bit.
    Can anyone recommend a good loading for dove? Will the walmart bulk-packs be ok?
  9. Rey B

    Rey B Well-Known Member

    7 1/2 or 8 shot buy in large quantity. Those little critters are fast!:what:
  10. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member

    No Lenn

    The place I am talking about is up north,

    Last time anybody I know actually went there for dove, there where S***HEADS shooting at them apparently on purpose. I mean show up late and some is already there pepper them with shot till they leave type S***heads.

    Then almost as bad is the "I'll shoot over your head at bird that isn't even in range of your shotgun crowd, because after all why should they give you a FAIR CHANCE"

    I have a spot or two up my sleeve, that will get me AWAY from those types, and get me doves!
  11. Davo

    Davo Well-Known Member

    Man thats too bad, but Im not suprised it gets like that.
  12. birdbustr

    birdbustr Well-Known Member

    Before I offer up my 2cents worth..... Does anyone have a dove field for the beginning of the season in Eastern Colorado? Willing to pay a reasonable fee.

    Best all around set up in over 20 years of dove hunting is a 28 inch barrel with modified choke. On a good field you should pick your shots at 30 yards.
    My shells will reach out to 50 or so yards, but they are heavy reloads of 12 gauge 3 1/4dram powder and 1 1/8 oz shot of #7 1/2 and/or #8. These give me about 1300 fps, so I don't have to lead them as much either.
    Never needed to try decoys. Either they are coming in or not.
    What to wear: Doesn't really matter as long as it is a darker color. Just don't make any "jerky movements" when they are coming towards you and they will go wherever they are intending to go. You don't need the face camo, etc. I have seen lots of people hunting in blue jeans and a dark colored shirt kill their limit easily.
    Be considerate: 1. don't park yourself any closer than 75 yards (more if the area allows) from the next guy (don't cut them off either). 2. Don't shoot over 50 yards (because you aren't going to do anything but change their direction). 3. Don't shoot ANY LOW birds: not less than 45 degrees depending on the terrain. (this is not quail, pheasants, or ducks where you know where everyone is all the time. People and dogs are constantly moving about retrieving birds and whatnot. 4. communicate: I make a whistler or just a low yell to tell the guys around me when I see something coming their way. This won't spook the birds as long as you don't make any jerky moves. 5. Help others find their birds if they fall nearby. 6. Get yourself a bucket with a spinning top to sit on.
    As long as you can find a place where the birds are coming in, you'll do fine and not piss anyone off as long as you follow these few ground rules.
  13. sm

    sm member

    I don't do camo.

    Just how raised. Nobody owned much less wore camo. Folks I hang with, still don't buy camo.
    I wear neutral natural earth tones.
    Hat - prefer a "cowboy" style, keeps sun off neck, ears, and if it rains, keeps rain off these areas too.

    Rubber sole , leather upper LLBean shoes or boots.

    I /we read flight patterns before season. I /we do this with new folks and have them step off distances.
    Then pattern shotguns to see what load and choke works best in their gun.
    Gun fit is critical , not only for hitting what pointing at, it also lessens felt recoil.
    Lots of bone stock Skeet Guns, with Skeet choke and #8 shot used.

    New Folks , especially kids -they are the reason for being out, not us.
    It is all about them, we don't "hunt", we just assist and back up new folks, especially kids.

    Now when "we" hunt...
    We have a 15 bird limit, one gets 15 shells and the game is to see who fells limits with fewest shells.
    Or gets the most birds with fewest shells.

    We use a lot of 28 gauge shotguns, we also have fun limiting ourselves to Single Shot shotguns, and even just to single shot .410s.

    We be shotgunners.

    Buckets, white, orange, blue, gray, green, just whatever is normal to be seen on a farm, ranch is what we use to tote and sit.
    Just a board set atop for a seat.

    No "decoys" - not store bought anyway.

    Gray Shop rags. This goes back to the 50's when I was a wee brat.
    Mentors were doing this before I was born.

    Shop rags double for distance markers.

    Now take a Shop rag, loose knot in one corner and get say 3 or 4 of these tied together with a cord.
    Toss these on the ground , like in the middle of dirt farm/ranch road, or the "T" of these roads, even Crossroads, and the slight breeze will have these look like doves on the ground.
    If the wind kicks up, just a rock in the knot for a bit of weight.

    Fence/fence post, brush, shrubs, trees....
    Looks like doves, distance marker and one can tote quite a few in that bucket.

    Now years and years ago, I come up with a idea, it worked.
    Doves needed "flaring" our way.
    Seems the folks "over yonder" that used to shoot 4 boxes to fell 4 doves, were not going to hunt a area.

    Bikini life sized cardboard displays , from the Liquor Store were being tossed out and my buddy at the Liquor store said I could have these.

    Picture a bikini babe leaning on the fence. :)
    Doves would flare to the tree line and get popped.

    Being a "equal opportunity" host, I got the same life size cardboard displays with the "whoa baby! Studs" for the gals.
    Ladies liked this, really really liked this. *grin*
    "Carry my gun and stuff, this stud is coming home with me" :p
    I guess you had to be there, still the gals were sure more than happy to tote back in the "studs".

    Still, many of us wears jeans [busts that myth don't it?] and tennis shoes.

    So yep! I have no problem wearing jeans, white tennis shoes, long sleeve oxford, button down collar, shirt in green, and using a single shot shotgun.

    Tradition is, we give the new shooters a pocketknife, especially kids, on first dove hunt.
    We prefer carbon steel blades.
    One dad has already gotten his kids yellow handled Case Peanuts, with CV blades and had their initials engraved on them.

    We save all that money for camo and decoys for the traditions we do, like the knives and BBQ spread.

    It is only a little gray missile about so big that zips, dives, shucks and jives.
    Ain't no thang.

    Hit the pattern board, then the skeet field and shoot from low gun.
    Just have the puller "pull" without calling for the bird.

    Focus only on the leading most edge of "bird".

    Oh everybody knows, a stick of beef jerky in your hip pocket makes one a better shot.

    Have fun!
  14. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    Unlike sm, I do wear some sort of camo. I use the same camo that I deer hunt with down here in Az. Seclusion 3D open country. The birds seem to come in a bit closer when I'm wearing it opposed to jeans, tee shirt of normal colors.

    For dove loads I use HS-6 under 1 1/8 oz loads of 7 1/2 shot.

    If you don't reload, then get a case of the field loads from Wal-Mart. Buy plenty cause if your new or rusty with the shottie then you'll need them.

    Big Al, sorry to hear that. If your near Oracle, give the area just off the turn off (rt side) from the Biosphere road a try. Couple of ponds there and the dove use it frequently. Not many folks go out there.
  15. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member


    I know those tanks a little,

    A couple of good friends, now I hope finding good sport in the great beyond, used to hunt the Anvil quiet a bit, been there once or twice myself, but generally ended up somewhere between the Indians...... and the San pedro, up north, With the old LA brand ranch as a kind of home base! That brand was kind of a joke, about city slickers, Ole Woody was quite the character to boot!

    One of the friends, A jolly old big sun of a gun, got stuck with being the BIG Stinker because of his size and intials.

    the other by desposition and old deeds, was the way to serius Ole Clown.
  16. sm

    sm member


    You know about planes. :p

    Camo, well...this goes w-a-y back.

    Birds , like other critters, have some gifts, just the way Nature does to give a critter what they need in this Predator-Prey relationship.
    Eyesight is one, hearing, and taken note of surroundings to name a few.

    Now the Sunflower, Milo and what all gets cut. Well birds, take note of flight paths.
    Just like a pilot that flies the same route, gets used to landmarks and all.

    So a field is yellow, green, and has dark brown "roads"
    Field gets cut, and now the field is a tan, brown, gray "appearance.

    Green Camo screams "Not Natural!"

    Black, even at night, contrary to what some believe is not "camo". *grin*

    So folks run out to the box store and gets Green Camo plus whatever shells, license at the last minute.

    New "tan" or khaki is Not natural either.

    I've climbed up a tower, atop a barn, even been in a crop duster/ single engine plane and spotted Dove hunters.
    I mean it is that obvious.
    I sure don't have the eyes birds do.

    Mentors & Elders shared this with me as a kid.

    I have shared with others as they did with me.

    One trick has always been "'tater sacks" or "peanut sacks". Burlap sacks.
    Natural Neutral Earth colors.
    New stuff like camo vests , are best washed and made to look "faded" and "worn"

    Take a Green Camo vest, new or washed, a new khaki , a washed khaki and just hand out in a field. Tree line, fence, whatever.
    From the ground, one can see the difference, from the air for sure.

    We'd hang "sacks" near spots we were going to shoot weeks and weeks ahead of time. *wink*
    Doves get used to seeing these spots as being normal.

    Gun Barrels. Ha!
    Folks bought into the marketing of covering blued barrels for doves, and duck hunting.
    Green Camo tape come out and I kid you not! You can spot this as NOT being natural.

    Glint of sun is normal, farm / ranch equipment, buckets, pumps, irrigation, all "glint".
    There is no green camo on this stuff. LOL

    Flooded timber, duck blinds, goose pits and these waterfowl are the same way.
    They are accustomed to a Stanley Thermos, White 9.9 outboard motor in a green or aluminum Jonboat.

    Stick a green camo gun barrel out and "Hey, lookee there, we got a duck hunter that went and bought camo tape" . :p

    I pulled the same deal on some folks I hang with in regard to Black at night.
    Black trash bag and fishing pole.
    It was pitch dark, and I reel this bag in and they hear it, and spot it immediately!

    I later did the same thing with a gray trash bag, and they heard it, but could not see it, or find it.

    One year I stood in front of a Blue Ford Tractor and all 15 doves taken were felled coming into me. Just fell at my feet, or I caught them with weak hand.
    Wearing jeans, just like the old boy that used that tractor.

    Done the same thing in front of a John Deere Combine. JD green and yellow, all that glass glinting sun and felling doves.

    Folks all hid in the tree lines and there I am in the middle of field.

    One spot I use is directly under a Irrigation "A". Bright shiny Steel/ Aluminum and ...I'm there to remind folks to NOT shoot the $$$$ equipment.

    "Gumdrop" is long passed. A Lab/Collie/Something mix.
    Farm Pond with a Pier and we would fish off the pier, great buds we were. He minded me better than the folks that owned him.
    [I spoiled him better]

    We'd sit on the pier , doves come over, I'd shoot and Gumdrop would retrieve doves out of the pond.
    Get a bit upset after limiting out, so we would catch bream and crappie.
    Danged dog would jump in and following the fish in. :p

    Doves, bream, and crappie makes for some good eating!

    Property owners, their kids, and myself took a lot of doves from around that pond, cane pole fishing and popping doves at the same time.

    The Grandma used a Apron for a shell pouch. :)
  17. KiltedClaymore

    KiltedClaymore Well-Known Member

    i have never hunted dove with decoys or camo. hunting near a stock pond or field of some sort (grain, alfalfa) is great. but without a dog, dove are hard to find if there is groundcover (tall grass). i just sit under a tree and wait. filled my limit every day last year. and see if the local hunters have a time they go out, like in the morning. here, no one goes oput in the evening, so you get all the dove to yourself. but avoid crowds, because the dove will be more careful in primetime hours. and its a good way to get shot (happend to me last season, caught a backfull of birdshot cause someone tried to shoot a rabbit).
  18. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    I use sm's method.

    I usually go out and stand behind my barn, wearing jeans, a grey t-shirt, and maybe a shell vest (old, khaki one). I get plenty of shooting.

    It's the same barn where I feed the chickens, get the eggs, fool around with my tractor and do my gardening close to. Sometimes we shoot clay pigeons from just outside the barn door. And it's pretty close to where I play with the grandkids.

    The doves get used to the routine of people being around, even shooting guns. When season starts, they don't change their flight paths (well, at least until you miss a few dozen of them).

    Best way to sneak up on a turkey or deer on my place is to drive up to them in a diesel John Deere. Once I passed a young buck on my way to the river on my tractor. When I came back twenty minutes later, he was still grazing in the same spot.
  19. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    I'd re-think the thing about cheap Wal-mart shotshells. I tried to use them on sporting clays and found out the difference between those and something better. I'd use either 1oz or 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2's or 8's. Higher velocity is better. I'd use the high velocity Winchester AA's. Those little buggers can twist and turn pretty quick.

    As for camo, maybe not absolutely necessary, but it can't hurt. Birds can see color extremely well. Khaki or green would probably work, but any kind of sand or natural color has to be better than a blue that would be out of place. Birds may be used to someone in a barnyard, but it's different out in the field.

    Mod choke should be fine. Limit your shots to 30-35 yards. Take plenty of water. If it's hot, take a plastic bag and cooler with plenty of ice to put the birds in as you shoot them. Some guys breast them out right away.

    BEST TIP: You want to stay away from tall green trees. The birds will clear them by 10-15 yards and put you out of range before you start. The best place that I've found is one that has dead trees or other roosting next to water.
  20. KiltedClaymore

    KiltedClaymore Well-Known Member

    never pile your birds on the ground, ants have a tendancy to think that your birds are theirs.

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