Dove hunting only sounds easy. You take a shotgun, walk into a field, spook a few unsuspecting birds into flight, pull the trigger and let the dozen of little shotgun pellets that fire out do the rest. Down they come and you just collect the goods for the grill. Simple enough right? Well, not so much. First of all, have you ever tried sneaking up on a dove? They’re usually up in the sky heading for cover in a matter of seconds, before you can even take a step in their direction. Apparently these little birds have great vision (or an amazing 6th sense.) So how do you even begin to aim at something that’s moving before you can even point your shotgun at it? First you camo up. Dove can probably still see (or sense) you, but there’s good indication that it’ll buy you an extra second or two before they scatter away. Next, you use that extra second or two. And, this is where those little shotgun pellets come in handy – you just kind of aim in the direction of the bird, try to anticipate its line of flight, and then hope that one of those fiery steel balls spewing out from your shotgun hits it. That’s right – hope. Because it’s not easy aiming at a flustered bird. In fact Texas Parks and Wildlife recommends a visit out to the shooting range to brush up on aiming skills and strongly advises hunters to take plenty of extra shotgun shells on their dove outings, way more than they think they’ll need – for back up of course. How much more? Well, their studies indicate that hunters average about 3 birds bagged per 25 shots. Considering a bag limit of 15 per day, that’s at least 125 shells assuming you’re an average hunter. So why do hunters even bother with dove? It’s all about the chase, the excitement, especially on group hunts when people work together to spot them and increase their odds of each bagging their daily limit. And of course, jalapeno dove poppers make for tasty meal. Read more about the basics of dove hunting here.
(Photos borrowed from here: Hunter, Mourning Dove)