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Any Dove Hunters on Here?
With deer season gone here I am relegated to ducks in the morning and doves in the afternoon. One of the things that has always been frustrating to us is that, in the early season, we need ~200 birds using our field to have a good shoot. In the late season we only have a few of us that shoot, but we can have 140 birds using the field but they come in in 2 or 3 very large droves and you do not kill a large enough fraction of the birds using the field.
I hunted with a guy last year on a different field that used a dove call. I am 51 and have been shooting the little gray rockets for over 40 years and candidly I scoffed at it. By the end of the afternoon I was a believer.
Fast forward to this year, I took my new dove call hunting yesterday. It was a resounding success. By using it every few minutes we had the birds tricking into the field 2 to 8 at a time rather than them staging around the field and flying into in a large drove that you shoot into and if they pass 3 guns you may kill 4 or 5 out of it.
I post all this to say, it added a new dimension to the hunt and was resoundingly impactful. You do not blow the call and zzzzzinnng they come to you on a string. Instead, you blow it and a few minutes later a couple birds will venture out of the surrounding woods and circle the field. It was a reliable enough pattern that it left me with very little doubt as to the effectiveness of the call.
I absolutely love dove hunting! Never knew they made a call. I'm very intrigued! Do you have a link to a seller?
This is the one I bought and like - I think the wood makes a good sound. https://www.faulkcalls.com/product-page/dove-call
Never used a call just me and my trusty retriever.
I love dove hunting. I hunt them in Ks and usually just early Sept. Most years by mid Sept, they’ve flown south. We hunt them over food plots and waterholes, usually with a mojo and a few clip on decoys on a fence if possible. This past Sept was one of the best for us, after several poor years. Never tried calling them.
Missouri’s season is sadly only in the early fall, unfortunate because they’re usually everywhere while duck hunting
We have invasive Eurasian doves year-round. No limit no license required only a hunter ed card. Haven't ran into big numbers but we always have a few around.
Considered song birds in CT, no season. But, just next door in RI there's a season. But I haven't hunted RI in 20 years even though it's a mile away.
Love our dove hunts here in Florida.This was just a couple weeks ago.
Where you dove hunting in JAN. AZ?
I can make a dove call with my hands. Sounds just like a dove. In the spring I would sit on my deck with my daughters and I could call doves to within feet of us until they couldn't sit still any longer. During doves hunts I will be seated a half hour before light and you can hear the waking doves calling. Then I start and a good portion of the time they will head my way. I have seen doves calls on Amazon that the reviewers swear by.
Been years since I've been dove hunting. Never new they made a call either, thanks for posting.
The juice was never worth the squeeze for me, mostly because I couldn't hit the little bastards. My shell costs per bird killed made them some of the most expensive meat I've ever eaten. ;-)
Love dove hunting,and I would bring out my 410 and lots of shells.huntng wth a 410 makes you pick your shots rather then just blasting with the 12 ga. Here in Illinois the first couple of days is best than its done.
I absolutely love to hunt and eat dove. Unfortunately here in Colorado we typically only get a couple of weeks of good hunting in early September before the birds all migrate out in front of the first cold snap, but I have a group of friends that gathers every year in Eastern Colorado for the opener. Like Glunt said, Eurasian collared doves are unprotected with no season and no limit, but they tend to hang around the city limits and rarely can you find a concentration where we hunt. I’m envious of those of you who are still hunting them now - I never get my fill in our short season. They’re delicious too! Poudre
I dove hunted for the first time 2 seasons ago. I thought I was pretty good with the old shotgun, until I started shooting at doves. We used decoys, I will talk to my hunting friend about calls and try one next season. Thanks in advance for the info.
Our last organized shoot for the season.Good numbers and those that could shoot did well.
Our last organized shoot for the season.Good numbers and those that could shoot did well.
Damn, Poudre…. You and I must have the same favorite recipe.
I grew up in Denver, so I learned to hunt on doves. I never got too good on ‘em, but my brother…. One day he and I had walked different fields… Asked him “How’d you do?”
“DAMN! I don’t think I even heard 7 shots!”
“Well, I only used 5 shells.”
He shoots right-handed but is left-eye dominant. I think his custom-stocked shotgun has paid for itself 3 times over, one shell at a time. He was smart. Bit the bullet in his early 20s when he was guiding out of an Orvis shop and got the pro-deal.
Don't think I ever seen an Eurasian collared dove in Ohio, they are not what we call pigeons are they? I know our city pigeons are invasive species, open game yearround and quite a bit bigger than our mourning doves, I think they are actually called "Rock Doves" in Europe...
I assume these doves with seasons are "Mourning Doves", or are there other species to hunt and eat? Speaking of eating, anybody have good recipes, that dish of PoudreCanyon's looks good...
What about the "White Wing Doves" Stevie Nicks sings about, don't think I've ever seen one of those neither...
Eurasians are different than rock doves. Eurasions look similar to mourning and white wing but slightly bigger, collar around the back of the neck, and not a pleasant sounding call just before landing.
Not much corn agriculture here so dove shooting is limited. I still like to take the O/U 20 gauge out when I find a place where some are flying
Eurasian collared dove.
Eurasian collared dove.
Back in the late 70s and early 80s, before I started bow hunting. I spent a lot of time in September hunting doves near my home in Erie, CO. I would come home early, if I wasn't flying, and hunt along Coal Creek or in ag fields I had permission on. I could walk out my door for many of those areas. It wasn't uncommon to knock down two birds with one shot, even with my 20 gauge. Once, I had 13 doves with 12 shots. It was rare for me to need more than a box of shells for a 15 bird limit. Those areas are totally built up now.
Zbone, if you haven't seen any yet, you likely will soon. They were 'accidentally' introduced to the Bahamas in the early 70s and made it to Florida soon after. They have since spread north and west to most of the country. Ohio seems to be just starting to get them as they head northeast.
Besides being a bit larger than mourning doves, and the obvious neck marking, in flight, they have a squared-off tail that's rounded when flared and has a broad white band.
We have Eurasian Collared Doves over a bunch of BC. Even into the northern reaches.
I wish we had the season here in Michigan. It’s a fun hunt with a group of people. I learned it’s hard to get 1 bird for every 2 shells.
All though I already posted it, this photo shows the differences in size and color pretty well between mourning doves and Eurasian collared doves - the collared dove is the one on the far left. As already stated, they are quite a bit larger, are much lighter in color, and have a squared off tail, as opposed to the pointed tail on mourning doves. No difference in flavor to my pallet - they’re equally delicious:)
Thanks for Dove Class 101 guys, much obliged, and thanks PoudreCanyon for the photo, gives me the perspective of the Eurasian Collared Doves size... Now what's your recipe for that dove dish...8^)
Zbone - breast out your doves, and fillet the breasts off the breast bone. Soak the breasts in heavily salted water over night. Then marinate the breasts in Italian dressing for several hours. Put a slice of fresh jalapeño and a dollop of cream cheese between 2 breast, wrap the whole package in half a slice of bacon, and put it on a bamboo skewer (you can get about 7 on each skewer). Throw them on a 300-325 degree grill, turning occasionally, until the bacon is brown and crispy and the dove is medium rare. Serve with potato salad, cornbread, and cold beer:)
Yummm, sounds good, thanks...
Salt water overnight then Italian dressing is how I do filleted wild turkey breasts... Thanks again...
“I wish we had the season here in Michigan. It’s a fun hunt with a group of people. I learned it’s hard to get 1 bird for every 2 shells.”
I think the national average is seven shells per bird bagged. Apparently a lot more people shoot like I do than like my brother does…..
I find it rather interesting that morning doves are holding their own in states where they get hunted, they are not booming in population where they are not hunted, and somehow the Eurasians are expanding their range. I suppose maybe there is an enormous ecological niche left wide open by the extinction of the passenger pigeon…. I’m not at all opposed to leaving them unprotected, but I wonder what native species they might compete with? Some days and introduced species (thinking pheasant, chukkar, etc.), which is fun to hunt and good to eat is maybe not all bad… beat the snot out of pigeons and starlings and house sparrows. But I guess I will leave carp out of the conversation for now, since they are more of an acquired taste for anglers and diners alike. Here in Connecticut, they are now regarded as a “trophy fish“ and there is a strict bag limit on them…. which is none too popular with people who used to like to go bow-fishing for them.
Doves, at least in the south, are pretty good breeders and hunting has a relatively low impact on the population. In South Carolina (which is where I live) they made a pretty drastic change to the structure of the hunting maybe 20 years ago when they require that you cannot top sew wheat but have to have a planted crop for them ("normal agriculture harvest" similar to waterfowl - except with doves you can bushhog it or combine it back into the field). This seems to have made zero impact on the dove population which seems to be more tied to how prolific agriculture is in a given area (personal observation) more than any other factor.
I would give a testicle to have good upland hunting back down here. I grew up quail hunting and it is not a great use of time without significant resources for management. We do not have the soil quality to support pheasants (apparently some mineral deficiencies in this area result in the eggs structural failure).
Here are a couple more pictures of last weekend here in Florida.There is no shortage of doves in the south as far as I can tell.As long as there are backyards with bird feeders and golf courses there will always be doves. We plant year round for doves here.I dedicate about four to five acres on several ranches for dove fields.Something is always growing and we till every month a few rows.Candor is correct in that doves in my experience breed year round.We shoot young birds throughout the entire season down here.The other interesting thing in Florida is that we really don't grow any grain crops.Mostly cattle ranches or vegetable farms.But there are plenty of doves(wild quail).I also in the off season between crop rotations supplement feed for doves.This keeps plenty in our areas so when the crops start to mature there is always feed.When you have feed you have frisky doves that seem to breed constantly as long as there is food.By August here it's wet so when Sept. rolls around the dry ground with the grain gets hit hard by the doves.
"introduced species (thinking pheasant, chukkar"
I knew Ringnecks were introduced, but did not know chukkars were, I thought they were native... Where are chukkars native lands?
Zbone Asia from the Himalayan foothills of Nepal west to around Jordan would have been their native range.
My boy loves him some dove hunting at the end of a long summer!
Coincidently, I just finished reading a book on hunting upland birds that was published in 1967.
In the Dove hunting section one of the techniques they discuss is calling.
An interesting observation on mourning doves:
Doves have been moving further and further north through the years.
I live in northern Quebec in a community located on the southernmost bay of the Arctic Ocean (James Bay).
Almost forty years ago I spotted two of them on an island at the mouth of a river that empties into the bay.
Back then that was unheard of, and according to the books at the time they were more than 800 miles from their maximum northeastern limit.
Many years later we would occasionally spot one, with those sighting becoming more frequent as time went by.
We feed birds year round and Doves started showing up at our feeders about 9 years ago. At first there were only one or two per year, but that number kept increasing, and in 2022 I had eight in my backyard at one time.
There is no dove season in Quebec.
I am envious of you all that get to hunt doves. Here in Maine and New Hampshire they are considered song birds with no open season. Don't tell the teen agers.....
A few years ago I was selling timber on the land around the Sanford Maine air port and had entry to drive around the back side of the run ways. I was coming out late one evening and came across a pickup truck with a guy in the back with a shotgun. They were trying to reduce the number of mourning doves. They asked if I had seen any as they weren't seeing any. I suggested they shut the flashing yellow light off and they should be able to drive right up to them. I had just flushed multiple birds just feet from my bumper driving out. In 3 days they had killed 400 birds. They were constantly harping on me to have the flashing light for safety. Something about not getting hit by a plane...... The next day you couldn't tell a dove was missing. It was the federal animal damage control trying to reduce plane strikes.
Another non-native upland bird introduced here, is the Hungarian (Grey) Partridge, or Hun. They are some wild flushing devils. I’ve been seeing several coveys of them, plus piles of pheasants out in the snow covered ag fields and alongside the roads, the past week or two. We’ve had subzero temps and they’re hustling to find some grub wherever they can find it. Lots of grain trucks hauling corn right now, and there always seems to be a little leakage from the grain trailers, so they congregate alongside the roads. Got to pay attention. They can easily wipe out a grill on a vehicle. We have a gaggle of about 20-25 ringnecks that are living in the CRP along our dead end gravel road. I’ve been sprinkling out about a gallon jug’s worth of shell corn, down the road for them every day or so. I need to put out a trail cam and get some pics of them. They are fun to see.