Dove hunting on your own

VA Hunter

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Hi,
  I have dove hunted about 5 times and I have only gotten a shot one and killed it.  I dove hunt in a corn field, without a dog or "a little brother" to get the birds up.  I see a covey of doves land in the field but I silently walk over there and they fly off when I am about 50 yards from them.  I have tried circling, running, and stalking but, I  just cant seem to get them up once they are close enough to shoot.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks a lot,

 Bubba
 



EL CAZADOR

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Welcome to Jesse's - you've found the most complete hunting site around.  Everybody is friendly and willing to share.  Hope you stick around for a while so we can glean something outta ya!!!

About the doves, you'd probably have much better luck if you find a spot where the doves are flying past you.  Find an area where they are roosting and feeding and you'll have plenty of action.  I don't think I get more than 1 or 2 birds out of 10 by jump shooting doves.  Finding the flyways are the most productive.

Hope this helps.
 

Marty

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Also, after you find the flyway and a place to sit, stay still.  Although doves don't always seem to care what color you wear, quick movements will cause them to change direction.
And, as always, identify your target before shooting.  It's no joke.  Last year we had an older male shooting at ducks.
 

MapMan

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I agree with what the others said. If you can locate a flyway, usually a place between where they roost at night (trees, heavy brush, groves, etc) and where they fly to feed and water, just sit and wait. Daybreak and late afternoon are best. Take along a small folding dove hunting chair to sit on so you don't have to stand all the time waiting between flights of birds. Camo is not a big deal as they don't see in color. They do seem to react to movement and your outline if you are standing out in the open. Ideally try to find a bush, tree or fence post to stand behind and preferably with the sun at your back. Wait untill the birds are in range before moving to shoot. If you locate a good flyway you will have lots of passing shots both up high and lower down. Take plenty of shells as you won't want to run out and have to walk back to the truck. Getting to know a place and where the flyways are is all part of the hunt. Good luck........
 

Speckmisser

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Just to add to the good info the others have given...

Doves tend to navigate by landmarks.  Watch them as they move, and you should notice that they'll leave and enter the field at a high point... often the tallest tree at the edge of the field.  If there are trees or power poles in the field, those are also focal points.  Likewise, if you can find a water hole, they'll usually head to the tallest point at the water, before dropping in.  

Trying to cover the open ground by yourself is usually an exercise if futility.  You can chase those birds all day, but hunting them like upland birds is only going to wear you out (especially in the VA heat and humidity).  If there's no one else shooting to drive them back to you, you'll just push them out of the field.  

Find out where they come and go, and hit them there.  Don't over-pressure a single spot either, but find a few different areas to hunt on different days.  They get smart quick, and if you constantly shoot from the same location, they'll soon disappear.

Good luck.
 

grizz

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You might try some decoys closer to where your sitting.  Doves will come in to decoys.
 

Mojave

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Boy, every suggestion a great one - you guys know a bunch about doves. Don't think I have hunted with anyone that would shoot at ducks while dove hunting, but I have seen a few guys blast away at pigeons, and occasionally at a Merlin! Luckily, their aim was as sharp as their eyes, and no harm was done to the fowl. Have to admit I have swung my gun at an occasional tweety bird, but haven't fired before I was sure of the target. I don't 100% agree on the lack of need for camo. I think the hunter's movement is more obvious to the doves if he is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, or if he is sitting out in the open. Also, the camo look is very "hunter chic", and makes for at least part of the experience. The use of dekes is a real help, especially when the doves are not flying too thick. They will absolutely raise your score. I use a dozen Wonderduck dove decoys, placed on branches and fence wires. They pull in the doves like a magnet.
 

Tominator

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Va Hunter, since dove season is after the corn is picked, see if you can't work out a deal to treade off some free labor to get the landowner to plow a strip through the stubble near a tree line and put you a stool there and wait. Doves have very weak legs and love to have spots to land where they don't have to fight the stubble. Also, check your regs to see if bushhogging the corn is legal, it is in SC and there's always some waste grain to spread by this method and the doves will find it.
Tominator
 

Rookie

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Been hunting dove for a number of years and have learned that the most important elements the dove are looking for is cover and water.  If you can place yourself adjacent to a water source, like a canal or a water culvert, you will most likely see some action.  The weather plays a big part.  Rain is bad. Heavy wind is bad.  Use a light weight shotgun.  A 20 gauge is plenty.  I've shot with guys who use 28 gauge and .410s exclusively, and knocked 'em down just fine. :rant-mode:
 


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