Staying Above The Doves




Our hunting guru, Tim E. Hovey, provides our readers with an inside look at the upcoming second half of California’s dove season with a great how-to story appearing in our November California Sportsman.

Here’s a sneak preview of what Tim wrote:

The new hunters for this season were all pretty familiar to our hunting group. This year my regular hunting buddies brought their kids along for the opener. Not as observers, but as newly licensed, California hunters. We set them up near the decoys and in open areas where they could test their shooting skills. We let them take longer shots so they could see that chances for success increased dramatically if they waited for the birds to enter their effective range. Each kid, Andrew, Adrian and Alyssa, all shot birds during the opener, and each one had an amazing time. I was impressed with their attention to safety and I made a point of telling each one that I would hunt with them anytime.
On the last day of the September dove season, I took my daughter Alyssa out for a morning hunt. We arrived at a new spot before sunrise and got things ready. I found an open area nearby and set up the decoy spread. Using a few large tumbleweeds, I quickly constructed a makeshift blind around our shooting position. The pending sunrise was at our backs and I could not remember creating a better set up for hunting dove.
As soon as the sun broke the horizon, the birds began to fly. The week before, I had noticed that birds leaving the orchards cut through this open area on their way to feed. Now, almost in a flood, they were flying right over our position. Some broke from their flight to investigate the decoys. I watched one slow slightly on Alyssa’s side. She swung her shotgun, matching the bird’s path. She led it slightly and fired. The dove folded in flight and dropped to the ground. I don’t remember my first dove, but I will forever remember that bird.
Mourning dove are plentiful, challenging and fun to shoot. The effort and gear needed is minimal, and it’s an activity the entire family can enjoy. California offers two seasons, generous bag limits and plenty of opportunity. Despite their challenging speed and aerobatics, in the right areas, new hunters will have numerous opportunities to hone their shooting skills. If you’ve ever thought about giving it a try, please do. Hunting is an activity best experienced with good friends and family. Get a group together and start your own tradition. You won’t be sorry.



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