Dove is one of the migratory game birds that are fun to hunt. Dove hunt is a family tradition for many wing shooters. Hunters prefer to harvest the doves for the breast and cook the dove meat using different recipes. Dove hunters aim at getting all the allowed doves on the opening day itself. Hunters gain extreme satisfaction after achieving the most difficult task of hunting doves.
Abundance of dove population in hundreds of millions in the US is another main reasons for dove hunting. Mourning dove is the most commonly hunted dove in North America. Doves feed on seeds and are found on agricultural and pastured lands.
As of 2017, hunting doves is allowed in 41 states in the US. Some states do not recognize doves as migratory protected bird. Other states allow hunting in controlled seasons. Dove hunting is the basic form of hunting which may seem simple but requires proper technique and equipment. Skill and determination are the two main factors for successful dove hunting.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of a State and the Federal Office of Law Enforcement regulate the dove hunting. Hunters are required to get the permits and licenses from the DNR and follow the state and federal rules.
Permits are issued after verifying the hunter's details. DNR encourages online applications and retrieval of the permits. Paper applications are also processed but they can take more time. Date of application may change depending up on the day of hunting. The number of permits issued on a given day in a hunting zone also varies. Hunters must apply and acquire the permits in June/July for the dove hunting season that normally begins in September. Hunters can check the status of an application, type of permits they hold, and lost/missing permits on the DNR website.
Some states do issue free permits which can be procured by applying on the stated date. The number of doves that can be hunted with the free permit could be limited to fifteen (more or less) depending on the season. However, the permits do not guarantee that you can hunt on that day. Several other deciding factors include weather, flooding, terrain, land provider's restrictions, and so on.
Different types of permits are issued such as lifetime license, combination license, non-resident license, crossbow permits, youth permits, apprentice permits, permits for the disabled, military permits, and so on. You can list a partner on your application so you both can hunt on the same day. Unsuccessful applicants can try for second lottery for dove hunting permits. Permits can also be bought from an approved vendor near you.
Dove hunting is guided by rules from the State and Federal governments. It is the hunter's responsibility to know all the federal and state rules. Appropriate rules by the property provider must be followed always.
Dove hunting can be planned with family or friends or pets to get more out of the activity. Dove hunting has restrictions in terms how much you can load the rifle at a time. Carrying enough ammunition and gear are recommended for successful hunt. Prior practice with the rifle or crossbow is helpful during hunting.
Here are some recommended gear for dove hunting.
Doves are fast flying birds and some techniques are required to shoot them. Hunters shoot ahead for birds flying away from them. Similalry, if a bird is descending, they shoot below the dove hoping the dove will fly in to the bullet. Open agricultural lands and lands near by ponds or lakes are favorable for hunting doves.