By S P Griffin
Who hasn't done it, shown up for a big dove hunt and put yourself in a bad spot. It is simply miserable to listen to all the blasting around you as you contemplate everything from moving spots to what you did to deserve this. The best bullets, most expensive shotgun, and best trained dog cannot make up for picking a bad spot when dove hunting. Let's look at how we can prevent singing the 'no dove blues'.
First we will look at the three basic ways to get a good spot when dove hunting and then we'll breakdown what to look for when scouting.
If you don't have a sixth sense like my dad does, then it will pay to do a little scouting before you show up for the hunt. You can learn a lot about the dove in just one afternoon. Pay attention to their flight patterns, the sun, and the time they start to fly. Pick a few spots that look promising, just in case someone beats you to your first choice.
And the early hunter gets the spot and the birds. It's really not a good plan to scout out your spot and come driving up too late to get it. Surely, if you've picked a decent spot it won't last long. Whether you are hunting the morning hunt or afternoon, don't dally, get to the field, take your spot and prepare to be the one making everyone else jealous.
If you're new to dove hunting, then you probably haven't witnessed a pair of incoming dove break into evasive maneuvers on the slightest movement by you. After a dove has been shot at a couple of times or, as Tim Lilley from Game & Fish calls it, educated, they become very jumpy and will change course on any ground movement. This can be devastating to even the best spot. Expert dove hunter, Will Jester, thinks that being still and keeping your dog still is more important than the fanciest camo you can buy. Sure, you'll want to wear some camo but if you are jumping up to shoot way to early the camo won't help.
Those are the basic steps to getting a good spot to hunt. Now let's look at what actually look for when scouting or looking at a field for the first time.
Get your bearings and figure out east from west and then position yourself with the sun at your back. The sun can really hinder your ability to spot dove much less shoot dove. If having it at your back is not possible try to face where it is not directly in your eyes.
Dove structure is basically something other than food or water that attracts birds. These structures effect the dove's flight patterns in a field. It could be anything from a group of trees to an old barn in the field. These structures will be a staging area for the dove to hold at until they leave to feed or water. Finding a position within range of these structures can make for some prime real estate in the field.
A bare spot in the field can be a great place to find holding dove. Dove need to have a certain amount of gravel and sand in there diet. Will Jester says, "These areas can be ideal, food on the ground all over the field will obviously scatter and disperse the doves. A hunter sitting near a visible patch of grit will often get a concentration of birds headed for one place that offers more than one of the things they need." Of course you don't want to sit in the bare spot, just in shotgun range of the spot.
Dove usually go to water after they eat. Keep this in mind if your considering setting up near water. If there are many hunters set up where the food is, they will get the first crack at the dove. Don't get me wrong there can be some fantastic shoots by water, but if it is a large field with many hunters, I wouldn't recommend it as your primary spot.
If you take these points into consideration when scouting, or heaven forbid, just showing up to hunt, your chances of a successful hunt will improve greatly.
Hello, my name is S P Griffin and I've recently started a blog about dove hunting, hunting dogs, and shotguns. It's kind of ironic that the name is Dove, Dogs, and Shotguns isn't it?
At http://www.dovehunting101.com/ you can find everything from how to articles on hunting, shooting, dog training, to hunting supplies and accessories. Send me the reviews of the places you have dove hunted on, good or bad. I'll post them to the site.