View Full Version : Need help with Dove Hunting

September 14, 2006, 11:36 AM
I know squat about dove hunting, as a background... Went last Sunday evening for just about 1.5 hours in the evening, just before dusk, and actually had what I thought to be a good spot, as I had seen a lot of doves there the day before (while goose hunting, but wasn't about to spend $2 per shot #2 Rem hevi-shot on a dove!).

The doves, however, on both days, were all flying around *extremely* high, near some water. No problem, I thought - that's what decoys are for. So I set up with 6 decoys about 80 yards from water and only 15 yards from a big patch of sunflowers, thinking this was a sure thing. Well, the decoys did not cause them to come down - they all stayed WAY up there. And I was hidden and camo'ed pretty well, so I don't think that was the problem. I cannot really even guess with any amount of accuracy, but they seemed to be 80-100 feet up or even more. They fly in every direction, but just won't get near the ground. They would get within sight, 1-2 doves about every 3-5 minutes. Some were way up AND way out there, so didn't even try of course in that case.

So of course once I realize this, that they're not going to come down, I start taking shots at them. Gear is 12 ga, 7.5 shot, 1 1/8th oz, 3 dram equiv. modified choke, 22" bbl. But I was only able to get one of those bastages, out of about 20 shots (and even then I couldn't find my one, as it fell in in bunch of very tall grass. :( ).

A lot of the problem *could* be my skill (not leading enough, etc.), or it *could* be not enough shot size or choke or powder or shot load for the situation, or it *could* be that you just shouldn't try to shoot doves 100 freakin feet in the air, or it *could* be any combination of the above.

Bottom line, does anyone have quite a lot of success with shooting them WAAAY up there? Also, is there a better trick to get these wary doves to come down? Got a feeling they've been shot at in every county from here to Canada already. Anyone use a motorized mojo dove to bring them in? I've heard they work well. Is morning much better than evening for them, or what? I know I should get closer to the water if possible, but (most of) the water there is actually on the next property, and I didn't want to set up *right* beside the fence, and have my game falling over the fence, and having to climb over and trespass to retrieve them.

September 15, 2006, 10:20 AM
for the way up there birds, I use #6 shot and keep a turkey choke on hand. Additionally, 100ft up aint all that high, lead a bit more and swing the bbl to stay ahead of the bird when you shoot. As far as bringing them in closer, let me know when you find a way.

September 15, 2006, 10:41 AM
Thanks Zeis - I noticed on the one I got, I did lead it a bit more than others, I think - so a lot of this is lack of skill. So thanks; next time I'll try 6 shot and x-full, and quit wasting money on decoys! And heck, they may have been 150-200 feet up - I dunno - seemed like a very long ways up. But I had the dangdest time trying to laser-range them. :)

September 15, 2006, 11:10 AM
Not bagging on the decoys, a guy I was hunting with had one of those MOJOs and had dove landing near it, I just usually move around a bit while dove hunting and decoys tend to anchor you. But they do, or will work.

September 15, 2006, 11:32 AM
I don't know about dove decoys. I have seen a lot of them sold, but never tried it. When I was a kid, my dad taught me that dove hunting is pass shooting. Like zeisloft said, gotta lead 'em. A lot. And bring lots of shells. The little buggers fly 30-40 mph, and they are a small target.

September 15, 2006, 11:54 AM
Doves get skittish after opening day.

Camo? Don't own any, never have, don't care for it, won't use it.

Main thing is movement and human eyes. Birds have better eyesight and will pick up the whites of your eyes, or glint of sunglasses.

I use only clear aviator style shooting glasses, for all shooting, including hunting. I want shooting glasses to ride high on the brow. IF frames are too low*, one raises head and looks up to see a miss.

Shotgun and ammo sounds fine - IF the gun fits you. IF the pattern board says that ammo and that barrel shoot POA/POI and pattern density is there for yardages.

Shotguns are pointed - not aimed. Gun has to fit, otherwise one will not shoot where looking*.

*I see a LOT of this with folks shooting shotguns.

Good idea to practice shooting from low gun. Correct basic fundamentals of mounting gun to face. 25 Repetitions a night and work up to 100 a night.

Follow Rules of Dry Fire Practice.

Decoys, I had them, just something else bulky to lug out and back. When I was a brat, and I am over 50 now, Mentors set out grayish shop rags, at distances. Some tied together so would not blow away, still move a bit.

Great for yardage markers, decoys, light to carry, not expensive, and gotta rag if need.
Morning and evening doves head out, drink eat, and eat gravel come back.

Tree lines are great for "bringing them down". I sit on a white paint bucket, let them come to me, head down and at the last second ,focus on the most leading edge of target, ease up, mount gun to face and about the time buttstock hits shoulder pocket - slap trigger and keep swinging through.

I believe I wore white tennis shoes, faded jeans, Charcoal oxford shirt last time out, or did I wear a blue oxford, don't matter.

Using a NEF Youth Single shot in 20 ga, fixed mod barrel and whatever shells tossed my way. Took 6 doves with 5 shells. Day before took 5/5, just a quick run down to piddle.

With a 870 in 28 ga, fixed skeet barrel took a limit of 15 using 12 shells.

Had to razz a lady that I instructed, opening day, she felled 15 birds using 13 shells with a 870 in 20ga with fixed IC barrel. She wore her jeans, white tennis shoes and Tobasco shirt.
She was "hot" opening day. :)

Beef Jerky in the hip pocket or on person makes one a better shooter.

Doves will show up when I lit a smoke, take a sip of coffee/water , or go take a leak .

Gotta be careful taking a leak and shooting them where they fall at your feet , happened to me the other day - again.

*ahem* if you are not busy, catching when they fall saves that step or two or three.

I never subscribed to the notion Dove hunting was invented by shotshell mfgs.

September 15, 2006, 03:50 PM
she felled 15 birds using 13 shells

Hee hee.

September 23, 2006, 11:27 AM
Doves will show up when I lit a smoke, take a sip of coffee/water , or go take a leak .

Deer are the same way. I refuse to be interupted no matter which of the 3 I'm doing.

I've had good luck with Mojo's. Seems they work better in pairs or more. I don't necessarily hunt over them. Sometimes they seem to change the doves flight pattern & I move around accordingly.
Most of the places I've hunted the doves develop a flight pattern and I position myself accordingly. Then the doves change their flight pattern. Seems like they fly all over the place when there's a front coming through.
I like the 1300fps loads in 7/8, 1 or 1 1/8 ounce. Winchester Super Speed Xtra's or sporting clay loads. I use whatever choke is in the gun. I never know for sure which choke I will be needing so I don't even look. It's not a bad idea to pattern your gun with a few differant shells. I have a briley choke tube that threw a huge pattern. I shot at an old entrance door and covered the whole door. It was supposed to be a 16 yard trap choke. I think 40 yards is probably a good average shot distance.

Had a guy wearing blaze orange at the patch get his limit in under an hour.

You might want to check with the local game warden if you are shooting geese near sunflowers. We were told no can do. We would have to be 600' away from the sunflowers or something like that. I've never understood why mowed sunflowers is baiting for geese & not for dove. I've only seen geese in the sunflowers once in 12 years. But we have daily opportunities to pass shoot them. & I'm sure they would come in to a few decoys.

Art Eatman
September 23, 2006, 03:48 PM
100 feet? 33 yards. That's easy Modified or even Imp. Cyl. distance.

For a crossing shot: Figure a dove's flying at 40 mph or 2/3 of 88 ft/sec. Call it 60 ft/sec. It's close enough to figure shot at 1,200 ft/sec. A twelfth of a second for the shot to travel the 100 feet to the dove. 60 ft/sec and 1/12th of a second means a lead of five feet.

So, lead the bird some five feet. Don't stop the swing when youi press the trigger. Keep on swinging, the "follow through".

Mourning doves? #8 or #7-1/2 is plenty big. Whitewings, I prefer 7-1/2.