Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time To Get Ready For Dove Season

It's that time of the year when there is no football yet, most of the golf majors are over and there is just not much going on in sports. This is the perfect time of the year to start getting ready for dove season. Regardless of where you live, September 1 will be on us in a hurry. Every year when we hit the fields on opening morning we say (while we are missing birds, sweating and cussing ourselves) "$#%#%#@, next year I am going to get my gun and myself in better shape before season." Opening day does not have to be this way.  Why not take a little time this year before opening day and get everything in shape? Besides, it will give you an excuse to go to Bass Pro or Cabelas, get into your hunting gear and do some shooting. 

Regardless if you are going for the first time in years or you go every year, it is my sincere belief that if you take the time now to prepare you will have a much better opening day hunting experience. So, let's make a pledge to be ready for opening day. To help here is my 5 point plan to prepare for dove season.

1)  Pull out your hunting clothes and make sure everything is ready to go. You want to make sure your shirt, pants, hat and boots still fit and are in good shape. I am a camouflage nut especially if it has something MU on it. If you are looking for that Mizzou camouflage hat to wear, try this one or this one. Comfort is important and if you are like me and you are getting tired of wearing that old cotton shirt or pants that do not breathe, here are a few ideas in hunting clothing that will breath:

Shell belt pouch – I really like a shell belt pouch more because a vest is just too hot wear. Avery's shell belt is the best for comfort, use and style (yes I am biased to shop at Mack's Prairie Wings , however Bass Pro's shell belt is not bad either. Cabelas Dove Vest is still an option if you like a vest that will keep you cool.

Times have changed as far as early hunting season clothing. There is no need to wear all cotton head to toe and just sweat. Remember dove can see color so camo is important but it is not necessary to wear a long sleeve camo shirt and pants. Here is me and Frank Grispino in short sleeves and shorts.


2)  Pull out your shotgun and give it a good cleaning. You want to make sure it's in good working condition. Another thing I do is get out my chokes and make sure I have my IC (improved cylinder) and LM (light modified). The LM is for that range between IC and Modified. I like to shoot LM for the first few weeks of the season, it's the perfect range. One of the things I have been shooting with is my extended chokes by Carlson. Take a look at the sporting clays and ported sporting clays chokes. Both have a better pattern than normal flush chokes. I take both to the field with me just in case the birds are a little weary.


3)  After getting your gun and chokes in order, head to the local gun range to shoot some sporting clays, trap or skeet, this will help you get your shooting eye and swing in shape. I like to start shooting trap for my first few trips to the range and then the last few I switch to sporting clays. It doesn't matter which discipline you choose, what is important is that you practice, practice and practice. Also, shells and chokes play a big role. You want to pattern your gun with your choke and the right shell. I hate shooting those cheap dove loads because they do not pattern as well and they tend to jam. I love to shoot Bass Pro Winchester Heavy Dove Loads because they have 3 ¼ dram of powder and are 1250 fps which is just like shooting a sporting clays shell. . These shells are a bit more expensive at $6.99 a box, but with this shell you will hit more birds. Some people will shoot Winchester AA loads, but since I do not reload I don't care to spend the extra money. As for shot size, either 8 or 7 ½ is fine.

4)  While you are getting your gear out make sure nothing is worn out and make sure you have everything to take to the field. One of the things I now take with me is a good comfortable chair. The chair I have has a pouch in the bottom to carry everything I need however, it is not sold anymore. One option is LL Bean's camp chair, comfortable and has a drink holder. 

Also, make sure you have a small hunting bag with the following:

Bug spray
Multi tool (I like this one for the price)
Spare rag
Small game knife (I like my Browning, this one is on eBay)
Game shears (for easy cleaning, cuts the wings right off)
Ear protection and shooting glasses (practice with them so hunt with them)
Water bottle (for you and your dog)

5) Finally, scout out a place early either public or private land. Early season scouting can pay off big time. I do not like public hunting because some of these people on public land are sometimes reckless and dangerous, so be cautious. One option might be a lease or getting permission to hunt someone's land. I belong to Hunting Sports Plus in Kansas City, MO. They have leased land available all over MO, KS, NE and IA for a variety of hunting. It's a great way to have access to land at a reasonable cost. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member and it is a great option for those who do not own their own land and like to hunt everything from dove, duck, deer, quail, and pheasant.

Here are a couple of pictures from their website from some successful dove hunts.

Well there you have it, your 5 point plan for getting ready for dove season. In the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my thoughts on some of my early and late season dove hunting setups and tactics. If you are interested in finding out more about Hunting Sports Plus, please feel free to email at

Good luck and see you in the field….



  1. Hey Tom-I put in about 7 acres of ladino and sweet clover last Fall. I used Winter wheat as a cover crop. When we cut and bailed the clover/wheat, it created a dove buffet with the wheat. Numbers look great up here. Hope they hold until September. Let me know if you and Remmy want to come up for a hunt. Go Tigers! Frank

  2. Hi Tom, here's Juan from Argentina. Have a look at our web-site:
    'Join and enjoy' great dove hunting year round and your skills will be always sharpened! Great article...thank you.

  3. Hi Tom, today I went dove hunting with my dad. We shot a good many, but we barely found any of them.

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