Well this was opening weekend for Texas north of I-10. I've got some family land in east Texas that I prepped for the season. Two weeks ago I cut about 20 acres of a pasture (fallow, mostly dove weed growing there). I setup on a tree line that separated that field from a 4 acre lake. I thought surely the dove would be travelling between the two.
I hunted 5 times, morning and evenings through this morning and shot a total of 5 dove....not good. Actually it's embarrassing, the dove just weren't really flying.
I noticed a few things. While I cut about 20 acres of the 100 acre rectangular pasture, the dove didn't really seem to concentrate on that cut portion. They were scattered randomly all over the place (surrounding the pasture on all sides are tree lines, with the cut field, me, and the water all being on the bottom of the rectangle). The trees were holding some dove, but they really weren't flying much. When they were flying, there was no pattern...so there was no way I could change my setup and ambush them.
Conditions: 83-85 degrees in the morning with about a 15mph wind. Afternoons were 98-102 degrees with basically no wind. Has anyone had any luck with decoys to concentrate the birds? Should I wait for the first cold front of the season (usually mid September)?
Any thoughts, stories, experiences, etc. are greatly appreciated!
I haven't hunted them in a few years, no where to hunt them, but I hated trying to hunt them at start of the season.
Dove are a migratory bird and at the first of the season there are usually only "local" birds in the area.
I preferr to hunt them after the first cool/cold snap up north because that starts pushing the dove south and they "flock up" more and fly in groups.
It will be cooler next weekend and the hunting should be better.
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Iam not an expert on dove hunting but have worked with a few in the past. I had the opportunity to go out with them a couple of times and found out a few things that are needed for a successful hunt.
First you need an area that provides roosting, feed, water and grit. If mother nature has provided these in close proximity to each other(and doves) the rest is up to you. It sounds like you have these. These guys did use some decoys but not a very large number and most were made out of inexpensive material like 1/8 " plywood or masonite painted gray. They spent more time on concealment with decent blinds. The biggest factor was the number of hunters . The more you have the better it works out. In a large field they would have 8-10 hunters. Most were stationed along the perimeter and one or two in the field also. With that kind of coverage there was always someone close enough to get a shot and the birds would then fly to another part of the field and into some elses range. It was common in the first week of the season to take very large numbers of birds. The average occasional wingshooter can easily go thru a whole case of shells in a few hours.
After that first week t he birds were spooked and it became harder. The guys usually had another location they switched to the following week.
I went out a couple of times near my house but I was by myself and the chances of getting any real shooting wasn,t good. Sound familiar?
I know it isn't always easy to get a large number of people together but even if you get a couple more hunters in there in seperate blinds it will help a lot.
As a teenager I hunted them with a bolt action, three round clip, 16 gauge, Mossberg, adjustable choke......... that I shot from my LEFT shoulder. I had a lot of fun but few birds.
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The dove are scarce up here this weekend also. We hunt a sunflowered field and usually limit out in a hour or 2 the past 5 years. This year we had a handfull between the 3 guys I was with, one of which was caught by the dog and brought to us. Yesterday we did not even bother hunting, we just did target shooting.
I do recommend planting some sunflowers and cutting them about 2 weeks prior to hunting. It usually works wonders and I am just brushing off this weekend as a fluke for now.
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What kind of Doves are you looking for? We have more Mourning Doves than the law allows. My wife keeps asking me if they're edible. I tell here they're all bone and feathers so she should stay with the chicken.
Yep mostly mourning dove. After talking to the folks in my office who hunted this weekend, everyone got skunked. No limits. Chalk it up to a bad weekend with bad weather. I'm going to hit it again in 2 weeks, this time with decoys.
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