As I indicated in my first blog this month, I will be changing my direction in developing my future blogs. I will focus more on my own experiences as they relate to hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc. I will try to offer what I have learned about the various activities I pursue in the outdoors. While, as indicated before, I don't consider myself an "expert" on anything, I do have a wide range and variety of experiences and have learned from those experiences. Here are what I have learned about Dove hunting:
While I admit I was excited at the prospect of my first Dove hunt, I knew little about the sport and less about how to prepare for the hunt. There really are a number of crucial considerations when dove hunting, one of which I covered in a taped "Outdoor Tip" that you can see at the CSS web site. It is probably the most important tip I can offer; "Wear Hearing Protections, again, louder now; Wear Hearing Protection.
Dove hunting, if the birds are flying good, results in many shots and lots of noise. The level of the noise can and does damage hearing. I am a victim or many years of shooting, without the necessary protection, and live with tinnitus; that constant and annoying "ringing in the ears". I wish I would have been smarter in my younger years, (I would likely be richer right now), but I wasn't. It was not because I was warned about the damage I could do to my ears because I don't remember anyone warning me. I just did not have the foresight to understand the potential damage that can be done to my ears.
Don't take chances, if dove hunting, target practicing, or hunting other game, protect your hearing. Sporting goods stores like Academy Sports and Outdoors offer many varieties of hearing protection that include ear buds and cup protectors. They also offer hearing enhancement devices that will improve your hearing in the outdoors, and protect your hearing when you shoot.
While I can spend the remainder of the blog on the importance of hearing protection, I want to share a few other "tips" I learned about Dove Hunting;
1. If you are going on a paid hunt, or hunting someone else's land check and make sure it has not been baited. Unfortunately landowners who charge for large dove hunts may "bait" their property to ensure lots of Dove and lots of shooting. Whether or not you are aware of baiting, if baiting is occurring and you happen to be in the field when it's "busted" you are likely to be cited. Ignorance will not suffice, be sure of where you are hunting.
2. Prepare for the heat; dove seasons occur when weather can be extremely warm and dry in the South. Dress light ( I use a "bug netting" camo that I have used for both Dove and early season Deer hunting. It keeps me cooler and keeps the bugs from eating me up.).
3. Find shade. Open fields can become unbearable when the sun is beating down on you. If possible locate shade on the edge of the field you are hunting. If you can find the shady side and it is between the field and either roosting or water, you should be in great shape to get shots at the many dove who will pass through your area.
4. Be aware of where other shooters are located. Sometimes on paid hunts inexperienced hunters will align themselves where there is a risk of shooting in the direction of other hunters. Inexperienced hunters may also not be aware of the safety rule of "no shooting at low flying birds".
5. Be comfortable; take a good folding chair and lots of cool beverages and snacks. Leave the alcohol at home; there is no place for alcohol and shooting to be done together. Save the celebration to after the hunt is over and you don't need to drive home.
These are tips I learned early on in my limited experiences dove hunting. They worked for me and will work for you.
Hope you have an excellent dove season, and don't forget to get your dove hunting gear at your local Academy Sports and Outdoors store.