Any dove hunters here?

Dove season just opened here; apparantly it draws people from far and wide.
The question I have is: ‘Why’?

All I can imagine is a shotgun blast obliterating little balls of feathers.

I do appreciate various factors at play in hunting, from the target practice fun to the ‘win’ of tracking your prey to the usefulness factor.


Even ducks get you some dinner. Do people eat doves? How does one hunt a dove?
What kind of gun is used, and how much of the bird is left afterwards, if anything?

I really am clueless. Halp!

I haven’t done it in a long time, but I’ll try to answer.

Yes, you can eat them. They have about as much meat as a chicken drumstick, so you have to eat several. We used to hunt them by riding around in something with no windshield, like a Jeep or a cut up old vehicle. One person would drive and the other would shoot when they sprung up out of the grass. You use a shotgun and all of the meat is left. They usually only get a couple of pellets in them. I’m sure we used a choke that spread the pellets out. Once in awhile, someone will spit one out onto a plate. I’m not a fan of them.

Ah, thank you. I really couldn’t imagine a gun not just obligerating the little things, but ok, if there’s enough left to eat then I guess I can see why they’re more fun to shoot than skeet. :stuck_out_tongue:


I tried the other day. Saw a few but no luck. They make special dove loads, and otherwise you use small shot (around 8 or so).

They are about the same size as quail. I hunt them both but prefer quail for dinner.

I haven’t been in years, but I will throw some stuff out. If you have nay more questions, feel free to ask.

  • People eat doves. Good dark meat. Mostly battered and fried.

  • You have to wear camoflague when shooting dove. And be still until they get close. They are very skittish and perceptive.

  • Dove hunting is typically a communal affair. Lots of people will come to a field and set up in areas spaced out around the field (the field may or may not be baited in order to ensure plenty of dove come to it). If it’s a bigger/organized shoot, people will typically load up in the back of a pickup truck and get dropped off throughout the field. This happens in the early morning or the early evening. As dawn/dusk arrives, the dove fly to or over the field. They are fast little flyers and typically the shots are at a good distance. You have to lead the bird in order to hit it (meaning shoot where the bird will be, not where it is).

  • Most people use a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with bird shot. Occasionally you will see a 16 gauge or a 20 gauge (or the kid with a 410).

  • Lots of people bring a five-gallon bucket to sit on while waiting for the birds. I used to have a camo one with a swivel seat on top. Bliss!

  • It is not uncommon for the game warden to visit a good shoot (which sounds something like a war zone with all the shotguns blasting). They will check weapons, how many dove have been killed, whether other (protected) birds have been shot, etc. It’s also not uncommon to see people disappear into the woods when the game warden drives up.

Went dove hunting once years ago and enjoyed it. I think I went through about 50 rounds of bird shot and killed not a one. I did bring back a sore shoulder from the gun recoil but never had any desire for a repeat trip.

I hunt just about everything MO has a season for except dove. Very difficult to hit, then when you do knock one down, they can be impossible to find unless you have a dog. Little meat. Lots of shots. Need a migratory bird stamp. Hot. Get up too stinkin’ early. Just not worth it.

But it’s more of a social event than anything else, so if that floats your boat, then it may be the sport for you.

As mentioned, the social aspect of dove hunting can be a major draw. It often is the only opportunity during the year to hook up with some out of town friends friends. There are plenty of chances to visit and yuk it up with other hunters both during and after the hunt so for lots of guys it’s their ‘weekend with the boys’.

Shotguns are used for dove. Instead of bullets there’s a number of small pellets. They spread out by the time they get to the bird, so it increases your chance of hitting something and keeps from destroying the meat. Hunters often line up at the edge of a field at the treeline, near a sunflower field or around a stock tank. You wear camo and wait for them to fly in.

5 or 6 birds should be plenty to make a meal for your average person. The drumstick analogy above was good. We usually leave the breasts on the bone, put a jalapeno slice against the sternum, wrap it in bacon and put 'em in the oven. Absolutely delicious.

Dove can be prolific breeders. Even so, limits are in place to make sure each region/state isn’t overhunted. I hunted Argentina several years ago because they have so many down there, something like 35,000,000, the result of lots of crops and relatively few hunters.

My BIL has gone to Argentina to shoot doves. His first trip he downed 1493 doves in three days. And he was the low shooter!

They ate some, and the rest were distributed to the ranch workers and towns people. Nothing was wasted.

IME, dove hunting (not the Argentina kind) is rewarding because it is so challenging. Doves are very smart birds. After opening day, they learn to stay away from hunters. They fly faster than most birds and can see color. I usually hit about every tenth bird that I shoot at.

They also make an excellent bacon delivery mechanism.

I love dove hunting. First they fly very fast which makes a challenging hunt. They remain intact. And they taste great. Red meat breast. Prepare with spices, wrap with bacon and broil. Yummy!