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Dove Hunting Pass shooting at its Finest! By Gary Howey

  Well, it’s underway as I found out this week the dove migration has begun. The other evening my lab Mo Jo and I spent a couple of hours hunting doves on a small pond.

  It started out slowly, as it often does but by 6:00 pm, the doves were plummeting into the pond in groups of four to eight from all directions.

  The humidity was high, making it quite uncomfortable, but the number of birds coming in made me forget the heat as I did my best with my 20-gauge to get a bead on these acrobatic little birds.

  This was our first shotgun-hunting season of the year, when hunters head out to their favorite pond, harvested wheat or oat fields and shelterbelts to take a shot at dove hunting. 

  When I say, “take a shot”, I should have said take numerous shots as dove hunting can be a challenge!  Doves are the aerial acrobats of the bird’s kingdom, seldom fly in a straight line, darting from side to side and changing altitude in the blink of an eye as they zig zag their way across the sky.

  As far as a load to put a dove down, as long as you can catch up with and get a bead on the little buggers, a light load is plenty. 

  You shouldn’t feel bad if you miss several birds, since studies indicate the average dove hunter will shoot as many as 10 shells for each bird they bring down.

  Ammunition manufacturers lick their chops as dove season approaches, because they know that ammunition sales are going to increase dramatically.

  Any gauge shotgun you want to use will work for dove hunting.  The hunters I hunt with use every gauge imaginable, 12, 20, 28 gauge and 410 shotguns.

  When it comes to the shells to use, we pretty much agree on Winchester AA 8 & 9 loads. [Read more…]

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Dove hunting season opens September 1st by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Sept. 1, is the opening day of dove season throughout our three-state area. While there will be many hunters in the field this evening, the big push will not come until the weekend.

I’ve hunted doves for years, mostly in Nebraska and South Dakota, long before Iowa had a season. I’ve enjoyed every hunt, and doves, when prepared correctly, can be mighty good eating.

If dove hunting is a new experience for you, and for many Iowans it will be even though we have had a season for a few years now, I’ll try to get you started.

There are numerous ways to hunt doves. The way I really prefer to do it is to set up at a farm pond to await the evening flight. It is, however, important to pick the right pond. Doves like to fly in, settle on a mud bank and walk down to the water to take a drink. So it is important that you pick a pond with good mud banks at least on one side.

Doves roost in trees at night, so a pond near some timber where doves roost can make one pond fit the “super” category and another just “average.”

This is where scouting comes into play. Just like any other hunting, you want to set up where the game is. It helps to get out and drive around looking for good places to set up. Take a pair of binoculars because they can help you spot doves.

Most landowners will let you hunt doves, but explain your tactics to them so they know what to expect.

Iowa has lots of public shooting areas that have good flights of doves, especially those that have food plots planted for doves. Go to the Iowa DNR website and click on the banner dove picture to find the listings.

South Dakota has over a million acres of “Walk-In” land in addition to a great many other public lands that you can hunt. Nebraska does too. Go to their websites to get all the information. [Read more…]

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Pre-Season Scouting A little thing that really Pays Off By Gary Howey

  Have you ever noticed how some hunters can be a whole lot more successful that all other hunters that hunt in the same area?

  If you ask a dozen of these hunters why this one individual or Top Gun is so successful, you’ll probably get a dozen different answers.

  Some may say that it’s because he has better habitat and then there’s those that might suggest that no one can be that successful year after year and hunt legally.

  The majority of the hunters may not have a clue, figuring that someone got lucky and continued hunting as they always have and continue to have limited success.

  Once a few of these hunters do their homework, they’ll figure out what they need to do to become as successful as the Top Gun is.

  The homework I’m referring to is “Pre-Season Scouting” or getting out into the field prior to season so you know what’s out there, their favorite location throughout the day and their travel routes.

  Some of you might think that scouting is only for deer hunters, not really as a hunter who gets out into the woods or field before season is way ahead of the game when it comes to opening day.

  Let’s break it down by species and see how scouting will give you one up on the hunter that simply goes out on the first day of the season.

Doves

Dove hunting is a great sport, but without doing some sort of pre-season scouting, and once the season opens, you’re going to do a lot of running around looking for places to hunt which means you’ll have a lot less time for hunting doves.

  Before the season starts, my hunting partners and I are looking for large concentrations of birds. We look for them sitting on high lines, around dams or a food source.

  There is several things doves need, but the main things they require are nesting areas, feed and water.

  Generally in the area where doves roost or nest you’ll find power lines, and there’s nothing doves like better than to rest on an elevated area, allowing them to look things over. Therefore, if you spot a group of doves close to a tree line, it’s a safe bet that that’s where the birds roost.

  Searching out areas where the dove feed is another place you need to check out. Doves love wheat, hemp and ragweed seed, but will make use of any seed they can get their beak around. If there is a harvested wheat field or a weedy draw that contains hemp or ragweed, you can bet that sometime during the day, doves will be in the area will be there filling their crops in these areas.

  Water is what every creature needs and doves after feeding when they are on their way to their roost will have to stop by some dam or stock pond to get a drink before calling it a day. You’ll want to look for a pond that has a bare shoreline as doves need to walk down to the edge of the water to get a drink and will avoid ponds with weeds growing right to the water’s edge.

  If you find a pond with a bare shoreline near what the birds are feeding on as they make their way back to their roost, you best be set up late afternoon just before the sun sets as the birds will be coming to you.

Pheasants [Read more…]

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Dove Hunting Great shooting & Great eating By Gary Howey

The first of September hunters in South Dakota and Nebraska headed out to their favorite pond, harvested wheat-oat fields and shelterbelts to take a shot at dove hunting.
W

hen I say, “take a shot”, I should have said take many shots as dove hunting can be a challenge! Doves are the aerial acrobats of the bird’s kingdom as they seldom fly in a straight line, darting from side to side and changing altitude in the blink of an eye as they zig-zag their way across the sky.

It does not take much of a load to down a dove, as long as you can catch up with and get a bead on the little buggers.

Do not feel bad if you miss several birds, since studies indicate that the average dove hunter will shoot as many as 10 shells for each bird that he drops. I am sure ammunition manufacturers lick their chops as dove season nears because they know that ammunition sales are going to increase dramatically.
Any gauge shotgun will work for dove hunting. The group of hunters I hunt with use every gauge imaginable. As they use 12, 20, 28 and 410 gauge shotguns. [Read more…]

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It’s time to get ready for dove hunting By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | Dove hunting season will open Sept. 1 across the three-state area.

Hunters will take to the fields in the hopes of harvesting doves, which are nationally our most popular upland species.

I’ve hunted doves for many years in South Dakota and Nebraska. Iowa didn’t join the dove hunting states until 2011 when it became the 42nd state to do so.

There are a lot of things to like about dove hunting.

They are very numerous so lots of shooting can be expected. They are very challenging to hit. I’ve been told the national average is about three to five doves per box of shells. with a daily limit of 15, that means an excellent shot will burn three boxes of shells to attain that.

No other game bird offers that many shooting opportunities in a single day. That’s why dove hunting is such a good way to introduce a youngster to the sport. They will see lots of action.

And, finally, doves are very good eating.

Since doves, which can fly about 40 miles an hour, are such challenging targets, it pays to put as many odds on your side as possible before heading to the field.

First, the gun and loads. Any shotgun you are using now for pheasants or ducks will be fine for doves. [Read more…]

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Doves, The Aerial Acrobat 2014 By Gary Howey

Summer is quickly slipping away with the fall hunting season right around the corner.

Late summer is when I start to think about the upcoming hunting seasons with the dove season the earliest to open.

Most of the states in the upper Midwest now have dove seasons opening up around September 1.  We have two species of doves in our area we can hunt, the Morning Dove and their larger cousin, the Eurasian Collared Dove.

The weather plays a big part in the dove season, as it will not take much of a weather change for the birds to pack up and migrate south.

If a cold front or damp weather arrives around opening day, hanging around several days, many of the doves will begin to move out.

The good news is that unless the “fowl” weather stays for an extended period, the doves from up north will move down, stopping over in our area, giving us another chance to take a few doves.

[Read more…]