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Preparing For Dove Season


Dove season opens in a few days across the Carolina’s. Labor day weekend has traditionally been marked as the opening of dove season. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you head out for opening weekend.

Remember your license. While this may seem obvious, it is amazing how many hunters forget to renew their license before opening day. Thankfully, we can do it online now and print a temporary license.

Plug your gun! Many hunters use the same gun for turkey and for dove and from one season to the next often forget to reinstall the shell plug. This plug prevents hunters from loading more than two shells into the magazine. Migratory birds can only be hunted with a maximum of three shells in your gun at a time. For those using pump or semi-auto shotguns, make sure you have a plug installed in your gun before season opens.

Bug repellent. For me that spells THERMACELL. This device is the best invention for hunters since gunpowder. It is a total game changer. Take it with you and you will be hunting in a total bug free zone. Thermacell in Holster

Thermacell in Holster


Yeti Hopper Flip

Yeti Hopper Flip

Water – during the 90 degree dove season, being completely hydrated is paramount. Take along a cooler filled with ice cold water to keep you going in the heat of the day. You will not regret taking it along with you. Nothing can compare to keeping your ice cold than the new Yeti Hopper Flip. “The Hopper Flip’s over-engineered construction includes the leakproof HydroLok™ Zipper, the puncture resistant DryHide™ Shell, and up to 1 inch of superior ColdCell™ Insulation. The heavy-duty EVA foam bottom and RF-welded seams provide waterproof construction and unmatched.” Hydration is essential to a good dove hunt and for portability and functionality. Nothing compares to the Yeti Hopper Flip.


Comfortable chair with a back support. Dove stools and five gallon buckets are popular seats for shooting doves. But neither of these offer back support. After an hour or so, your back will get really tired. The seat with some sort of back support will be a total life saver and is worth its weight in gold at the end of a long shoot.

Sun Screen – drawing a stand in the middle of the sun is horrible, but it is compounded when you leave with sunburn. Packing some 30 SPF can make a big difference in the day.

Wide brimmed hat. For the same reason mentioned above. Having a good hat to shield the sun is a great way to enjoy the day and the day after when you are not burned to a crisp by the intense southern sun.

Plenty of shells. Some fields have a cap on the number of shells you are allowed to bring into a field. Personally as someone who is a terrible shot at doves, I feel totally discriminated on. Make sure you have enough shells to at least give yourself a chance at a limit of 15 birds. For me that is a minimum of six boxes of shells. For others it may be on box. Regardless of which side of this spectrum you fall. Bring enough shells to enjoy your shoot.

Humility – if God ever created a bird to bring some humility to the wing shooter it is the morning dove. This fast flying, shot darting, and acrobatic target is the most humiliating target ever to hatch from a shell. Having a boisterous ego before entering the dove field will spell disaster for the day. Enter with humility and allow others to brag on your shooting.

Remember as Gene Hill once opined, “the best gun to have in the dove field is your other gun.”

Whether you shoot a diminutive .28 and someone else uses the gigantic 12 gauge it is all fun in the end. Wagers on number of shells per limit or the average shots per bird are always fun and expensive. Wherever you stand, remember to let low birds go, never shoot in the direction of another hunter, look for all downed birds until recovered and always pick up your spent shells. In the end it is fun to be with other hunters and to spend the day building sore shoulders.