Dove hunting is one of the easiest hunts out there. You don’t need to trek for days to get to the hunting spot or have a sophisticated camo design on your clothes. Dove seasons open early, and dove shooting also attracts people that don’t usually hunt for anything else.
Why Do People Hunt Doves
There are a few reasons people like dove hunting, apart from the obvious one – the dove season starting as one of the earliest bird hunting seasons in fall.
Dove season starts before duck season, and many hunters go out to the fields to practice. In the case of the invasive Eurasian Collared-Dove, some states don’t have seasons or even bag limits so that hunters can shoot those birds to their heart’s content.
Doves are a lot smaller than ducks but equally as fast, and they are perfect targets to hone one’s shooting skills. During dove shooting, hunters don’t have to be distracted by too many things. Instead, they can focus solely on their target. There is some camouflage involved, and sometimes even decoys, but dove hunting is more manageable than duck hunting by a long shot.
Introducing young hunters
Dove hunting is one of the easiest hunts to participate in, and therefore an easy beginning for young hunters. Shooting doves can be a lot of fun, and even for the most inexperienced young hunters, there are always plenty of birds that chances for success are big.
Doves are small enough that teaching youngsters how to treat game animals is easy enough. Because one doesn’t need any special equipment on top of a shotgun and slugs, it is straightforward to introduce young people to the hunting world without confusing them with too many rules at once.
As mentioned before, dove hunting doesn’t require anything special to participate. One doesn’t need an expensive scope or fancy camo clothing. Some people take all hunting seriously, telling you that doves can see your pale face, and that’s true, but you don’t need to overdose with camouflage. Earth-colored clothing and hat would be enough to hide you from birds’ view.
Some people invest a little more in decoys, but that’s unnecessary. The flock is usually sitting out in the open field most of the day, so it’s enough to be hidden in some bushes on their flying path before they go out or go back to their roost and shoot while they pass over.
Many people consider doves to be tastier than ducks or pheasants. It depends on one’s preferences, but one thing is true: doves make a gourmet dinner.
Someone might think that a dove doesn’t make for a large meal, and that’s true. One dove is not enough for dinner, but shooting only one is never the case during dove hunts.
Depending on the state, the bag limit for one person is 10-15 birds per day and around 45 birds possession limit. With those numbers, dove dinner is definitely possible.
Although doves are not considered pests in the USA or Canada, in Argentina, dove hunting is encouraged due to the extensive damage to fields doves cause every year.
Many Americans choose to go for hunting holidays to South America and combine sightseeing with dove hunting. It is a popular measure Argentinian farmers employ to rid their fields of vermin birds.
Where Is It Illegal To Hunt Doves?
In America, doves are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It means that dove hunting is regulated by State and Federal laws.
It is illegal to shoot doves in Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.
Other states are heavily regulated. Hunting regulations in each state differ slightly between each other. Still, the general information states the start and end of dove hunting season dates.
You can also find out what times of the day and for how long during the day dove hunting is permitted (usually around sunrise and sunset). The information also states how many birds per day and how many birds in total one can shoot and possess.
Outside of those specified dates, times, and bag limits, hunting doves is illegal. However, some states have open season and no bag and possession limits for Eurasian Collared-Dove, which is considered an invasive species.
Is Dove Hunting Worth It?
Many people don’t bother with dove hunting because of the small size of these birds. However, hunters who choose to go dove hunting every year will tell you that it is a fantastic experience and an even more fantastic meal.
Dove hunting is worth it because going out for a day of dove hunting can provide you with a lot of fun, an ample amount of fast-moving target shooting exercise, and at the end of the day, a gourmet meal you bagged yourself.
Is Dove Hunting Ethical?
With all facts considered, dove hunting is ethical, like any adequately conducted hunt within regulations.
Many organizations tell people that hunting, in general, is not ethical. We, as hunters, try to respect nature and game animals more than non-hunting people realize. Hunters try and have the least amount of impact on surrounding nature. The same is during dove hunting.
The FWS pulls statistics from each state to monitor the numbers of shot birds and compare them with the estimated numbers of birds arriving each year. According to this data, they help establish hunting regulations and limits. Therefore, if there is a big decline of doves and the environment can’t afford it, the hunting seasons are closed.
It also works in the opposite way. For example, in Argentina, the number of doves is so great that birds destroy fields of crops, and hunting there is encouraged, the season is open year-round, and there are no bag limits.
Many people think that dove hunting is only for fun, and you can’t possibly eat what you shoot, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, dove hunting is fun, but as stated before, despite their size, doves make a tasty meal, and there is very little waste during dove hunting.
Dove hunting in many states is considered a fun sport and used as a social gathering, as there is rarely a solo hunter going out to the field. Many hunters bring along their teenage kids to show them what hunting is about and let them practice in an easy enough environment.
In America, doves are one of the most commonly hunted game birds, but that’s nothing compared to dove hunting in Argentina, where doves are treated as pests. However, regardless of which country you choose to shoot doves, it is a fun sport providing good practice and an excellent meal.