Dove hunting 101 – Shotgun Tips and License
The dove hunting for most states was just started for other states it open late, kindly check here the 2014 open dates for dove hunting.
For all you know dove hunting is a sport for all ages. Whether your 12 or 50 it doesn’t matter as long you able to go to field, point and shoot. I read most messages and forum discussions asking for those beginners in what shotgun to use, what are the criteria for a best place to hunt or do I need to get a license in dove hunting?
In my dove hunting tips posted last year about how important to know about doves, how to hunt, shooting tips, decoys and etc. In this article I will provide you info about what shotgun to use, note that shotgun for men are different for women (for list what shotgun are best women you may follow this link which I tackle seperately). Also below I discussed more about ammo, gauge, finding spot and more about license. So let’s get started!
Getting started falls into two basic categories before to start dove hunting: what to purchase and what to do.
WHAT TO PURCHASE
I’ll begin with the basic necessities in what to purchase in dove hunting.
I don’t think there is any way around this one, unless you are real good with a sling shot. There are many options when it comes to a shotgun. The basic categories are; pump action, auto-matic, and over and under. All three have there advantages and disadvantages. The other things involved in purchasing a shotgun are , what gauge and what brand.
Dove Hunting Shotgun Types
A pump action shot gun is the least expensive type of shotgun. Pumps can be purchased for around $300. Winchester and Remington have decent entry level pump shotguns. A pump simply means that the discharging and reloading of shells is done by pumping the gun backwards and then forward. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done very quickly and all have shot a lot of birds with a pump. A pump’s advantages are it is a great starter gun and the cost will keep some money in the bank if you are on a budget.
An automatic shotgun is an upgrade from a pump. An automatic shotgun ejects the spent shell and reloads the chamber automatically (hints why it’s called an automatic). Both the pump and automatic hold three shells(with the plug in). For a beginner and even for me (as I shoot an automatic), the third shot can be a life saver. Automatic shotguns can be pricey though. I shoot a Remington 1170 (left handed ) and it cost around $850. the price range is from $500 and up. I’ve never had any problems with my gun but some critics of them say they over heat and run out of gas if you do an awful amount of shooting. I recommend automatic’s unless you are going to Argentina or something.
Over and Under Shotgun
Over and Under shotguns are probably the most popular in the target shooting world and a lot of bird hunter use the. They have two barrels one on top of the other. They are known for their accuracy and reliability. Both my brother and my dad shoot them. They are the most expensive starting at around $700 and going up from there. If you’ve got the cash, you can’t go wrong buying one.
Choosing the Right Shotgun Gauges in Dove Hunting
When buying a shotgun, size does matter. The smaller the number the larger the shell. 12 gauge is the most common and then 20 gauge being the next. Although there a many different gauges all you need to know is the bigger the gauge the more it kicks. Don’t get to excited none of them really hurt unless you shoot 500 then you might be a little sore. I recommend 12 gauge for adult males and 20 ga. for adult women and kids over 13. For youngsters, I recommend .410 gauge.
Which Shotgun brands will I choose, Remington or Winchester?
I’ve had good luck with Remington and Winchester. Both are low to medium price range. Mossberg also makes entry level shotguns, but my brother had all kinds of problems with his first pump, in a short period of time I might add. Benelli and Beretta are also good brands, but in the medium to high price range.
The bottom line is you have to have a gun, so decide on your budget and make a purchase that will last a life time. Let’s keep a running total
Dove Hunting Leases
In my previous article which I state how important to have a good dove hunting spot and how to find one. Finding a place to hunt is necessity. In other states they have public land and for around $50 one can access thousands of acres. The trick is finding a spot with birds. There are also day hunts for around $100 per day, and even some leases for around $150 per season (usually these suck). If you’ve got the money, look for some established leases in the newspapers. They can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 per gun. Again, a gun is no good if you don’t have a place to shoot it (preferably with birds on it or flying by).
You can really go crazy here if you want, but there are a few ‘must haves’.
- Shells. I could write a novel on this, but to start just buy some 8 shot dove load. Buy a case (10 boxes), should be around $60.
- Bird/bullet bag.Probably a three pouch camo, $15.
- Chair. Get a comfortable one. They are cheap $30 max.
- Camo clothing. Depending on your climate, you’ll need pants and a shirt. The more pockets the better. You might want to buy some boots too. We’ll say $100.
- Other accessories you might want to get could be a water bottle (camo, of course), flashlight, hunting vest, a new cooler (to put all your birds you kill in), camo hat, and polarized sunglasses. For now i won’t figure these into cost.
1-set of accessories @ $205.
That’s it! The grand total to get you into business is around $600. It sounds like a lot, but if you don’t wait until the last minute you can budget it in over time.
WHAT TO DO
Okay, you’ve acquired everything you need to begin dove hunting, NOW WHAT!?!?
There isn’t too much to it, but if you take a few steps prior to taking the field, you’ll have a lot more fun and a lot less stress. Let’s begin.
1. Get familiar with your gun
If this is your first shotgun, it can be kind of intimidating. Just remember, safety, safety, safety. Always make sure your gun is unloaded before doing anything to it. You should take it apart and put it back together, as you will have to do this to clean and oil it. Practice loading and unloading shells. As I like to say, make love to your gun. The last thing you want to do is get out in the field and not know how to work your gun.
2. Shoot your gun
Let’s face it, that is what it’s for. I recommend finding a skeet range and shooting a few rounds (25 in a round), at least. Doing this will accomplish two things; get you accustom to firing, loading,and unloading your gun and give you an idea what it’s going to be like shooting a dove out of the air at mach 2 (the good thing is you get 2-3 shots at a dove, you only get one at skeet). Oh, and remember to clean your gun after wards.
3. Hunter’s Safety Course
You are required to take this course if you were born after September 2, 1971. Get it done! It is not fun to have a Game Warden spoil your hunting trip because you didn’t take it, believe me, I know.
4. Learn the rules
Bag limits, zones, etc. All this information is important and when you buy your license you get a book that has everything you could ever need to know.
5. Learn how to clean your dove.
Cleaning dove is not one of the most glamorous things you’ll ever do. It has to be done though. Here’s a video how to clean doves for a step-by-step how to clean and breast dove follow this link, infographic included.
That is it, you are ready. Finalize your plans, travel arrangement, lodging and food are all things to consider. Once you’ve nailed everything down, you’ll be able to rest easy the night before. All you will have to worry about is how many dove you are going to shoot the next day (this may cause a lack of sleep, don’t worry, it’s normal).
Clifford Sanderson is an internet marketer for Nicaragua Bird Hunting and the sole author of this Dove Hunting Blog. Follow me at Twitter @DoveHunter and on Google.
More Posts – Twitter – Facebook – Google+ – Pinterest