6 Useful Tips for Hunting Doves


Dove hunting is a lot like a golf swing: it looks easy until you try it yourself for the first time.

When the hunting season opens, you’ll hear shots ringing across the countryside in the hopes of a successful wing-shooting experience. Many hunters will go home with fond memories of the experience because of the time they spent with family and friends.

Dove hunting is notoriously tricky. These useful tips will increase the chances that you’ll have a successful experience.

Tip #1: Open up the choke.

Your choke tube should offer a full pattern. Most hunters use a tight choke when hunting doves, which means the bird becomes more challenging to hit. Even if you’re successful, the constrained pattern destroys the bird. Use an improved tube or modified one (if permitted) for better results.

Tip #2: Increase your lead time.

Doves are deceptively fast. You must overshoot as if you’re going to miss them because of this speed. Most hunters try to shoot when the bird crosses their plane of vision. Try to exaggerate your lead to at least six feet, following the general rule of a 1-inch lead creating one foot of distance for the bird in the air.

Tip #3: Keep your feet flat.

Pay attention to your form when firing your weapon at doves. Most hunters, including those with experience, tend to rock forward a little as they pull the trigger. When this action combines with the stability of holding your breath, you will end up shooting below your target. Keep your feet flat on the ground as you hunt.

It works even better if you can shoot while sitting. Most shots happen quickly in dove fields, so this keeps your form better and puts your focus on the gun mount.

Tip #4: Aim from below.

Doves typically come in from behind, then pass in front of you. That gives you a straight shot at the bird as it begins flying away. You’ll need to use a front lead of about 6 feet to catch up your shot. You can make this happen by aiming a couple of inches below the bird. Imagine that the bird is on the top of your gun barrel as it travels away from you for an easy way to scope this shot.

Tip #5: Smaller is better.

Dove hunting uses 7.5 or 8-shot in most situations. If you’re at close range, bird pulverization occurs. It’s better to use 5-shot or 6-shot when hunting since most encounters don’t involve a long-range shot. Some hunters even use 4s to create better results. The smaller pellets lose their energy faster, but it still offers plenty of knock-down power in the field.

Tip #6: Avoid the distractions.

Pick one bird out of a flock. Don’t start shooting at all the birds because that increases the chance of a miss. Stick with one target, then don’t move from it until it falls.

Dove hunting offers fun and excitement while creating opportunities to spend time with family and friends. Use this tips during the next season to increase your chances of success. 

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