After the thrill of turkey season has ended in late spring,it’s easy to start getting the hunting blues, realizing you have to wait until fall for the next major hunting season to start. Fear not. In the lull between turkey and deer,there lies a little bird that challenges even the most seasoned hunter. Doves. Here are some tips to help maximize your time in the field getting ready for these little “bottle rockets with feathers”.
Planting: Unless you’re one of the lucky few who heads down to Argentina or Mexico for a dove shoot every year, chances are either you or someone you know has to put in ALOT of work to attract doves to that field you’ll be hunting. Although in Tennessee legal shooting doesn’t start until noon on September the 1st,dove season really begins in April/May with the planting of crops. Although hunting around a field that has already been planted in corn by a farmer is a great way to hunt doves, for most of us we have to do it the hard way. Planting a good crop of wheat, sunflower, and/or corn in the spring ups your chances of pulling in and KEEPING birds in your area. A common method is to plant your crop in a way where it can be strip mowed a little at a time, to insure seeds are on the ground the entire month before season starts. Planting this way also makes sure that some of the crop can be left standing for both cover during your hunt,as well as food/cover for other wildlife throughout the winter.
Stand sites: A well placed dove stand can be the difference between going home empty handed and tagging out. If you’re putting on a hunt for you and your buddy’s to enjoy, putting in the extra time to set up some stand sites can really help you out on the day of your shoot. Try and get out in the field during the hours that you’ll be hunting it and watch the bird movement. If doves are entering the field frequently in one corner, but never seem to come near another, make sure your stand placement’s gives everyone a fair shot at birds as they enter and/or exit the field. Of course not every stand is made equal, and some will always be better than others, but knowing what the birds are doing before that hunt starts helps you AND your other hunters enjoy it that much more.
Safety: This is something that should constantly be in the forefront of your mind when your prepping for a dove hunt: Is this safe? From making sure that the stands are far enough apart, to keeping brush down in those areas to minimize snakes and ticks, always consider how what you are doing will affect the safety of your hunt.
Hopefully you come away from your next dive hunt with a full bag,a sore shoulder,and alot of great memories. Good huntin’!