Dove Hunting Prep and Practice

Dove Hunting Prep and Practice

Story by Bill L. Olson

It’s August and the 2023-2024 Texas dove season has begun — at least the first phase consisting of preparation and practice.  Besides the practice it’s time to reflect on last season as to what went right, what needs to be improved upon and particularly if the hunt will take place on the same ranch or a new area needs to be scouted and figured out.

Last mid-September I was invited as the guest of Weatherby’s John Solberg and Texas manufacturer’s representative Dave Richards to hunt dove on Klint Graf’s G5 Ranch located between Derby and Dilley Texas.  We headquartered at Graf’s beautifully managed high fenced game ranch where we would either hunt dove or make a short drive to off-site dove fields and cropland to also hunt.

Having grown up hunting dove and quail with my Dad in South Texas, as well as making countless forays across the Rio Grande River back when gringos still crossed the Rio Bravo into Old Mexico, I was excited about this hunt.  Past hunts began to be recalled as I remember places that proved productive setup locations.

Water in the hot, arid start of the dove season is an attractant for all wildlife including resident mourning and white-winged dove.  Where to set up around these stock tanks or other water resources is important.  Rather than crowding the water, move back to see where dove come in to pick up grit, dead trees to land before dropping down to drink and flight corridors birds fly to and from the area.   It may also mean you’ll have fewer birds dropped in the drink.

The same is true when hunting away from water.  Properly using shadows as cover is also important.  Too many try to nestle up close against a tree or brush to only restrict their ability to see incoming birds.  Instead use the shadows cast by the surrounding vegetation to your advantage.

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