September 1st! The day hunters nationwide wait all summer for. Arguably, one of the best seasons. Mild temperatures, lots of shooting, and the start of an amazing fall.
How to Prepare
Doves are a tough target! Their fast movements and small bodies require hunters to have good aim and lots of practice. Getting out there and actually shooting is the best way to do it. In the meantime, skeet shooting it is! This will help you form muscle memory and necessary confidence to go out there and shoot your limit.
Shotguns, shotguns, shotguns! The favorite piece of equipment. Preparing your shotgun of choice is essential to a safe and efficient opening day. I urge you to clean your gun thoroughly to ensure everything is in working order and ready for action! When the first group of doves comes flying and your excitement is high, the last thing you want is a gun malfunction. Your shotgun needs to be in tip top shape!
Get your Official Texas
Hunter Safety Certification
Get your Official Texas
Hunter Safety Certification
The Official Texas Parks & Wildlife Online Hunter Safety Course, required for all hunters born after Sept 1, 1971. Designed for Texas Hunters & State Approved.
The Gun For the Job
Every hunter prefers different shotguns, but I use the Mossberg 20 gauge semi-automatic. It’s a lighter weight and has less recoil. Since I’m a young woman shooter, I really appreciate that. Federal or Fiocchi ammunition, 7 ½, 8, or 9 shot is what I suggest. I also encourage a modified choke, this will give you a wider pattern. Perfect match for a doves speed!
Ear protection can’t be expressed enough! Always, always, always wear ear protection. I love using silicone shooting plugs because they are small, not disruptive, and I forget they’re even there! Don’t forget about eye protection either! Ricochet is one of the things people often forget about. I wear Cabela’s Women’s Shooting Glasses. And with that, constantly keep gun safety in mind.
Choosing the Right Clothes
I’m hunting Colorado for opening day, near Fort Morgan, and the average temperature ranges from 50 °F in the morning to 80 °F in the afternoon. That sounds good to me! For this type of weather, I aim for light layers. Personally, I love the SHE Outdoor womens hunting line from Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops.
My attire starts with boots! I recommend the SHE Cougar Ⅱ hunting boots. Lightweight and affordable, perfect for this type of hunt. To combat the heat, I rely heavily on the Cabela’s Instinct socks. These are incredible and make the hunt much more enjoyable. They are comfortable and keep my feet cool. Pair them with the SHE boots, and you have got yourself a great combination. The pants that I wear are the Element pants. Again, lightweight and breathable is the key. Nobody likes to hunt in sweat! For the top layers, I’ll be wearing the SHE V-Neck T-Shirt and when it’s a little chilly in the morning, I will top it with the Insulator Puffy Jacket. I’m in love with both of these and wear them quite frequently for layering. The last, and in my opinion, my favorite article of clothing, is a hat! I love to match, so I opt for the ladies SHE hat in the TrueTimber Strata pattern, but any camo hat will get the job done.
The Mojo Setup
That’s right! If you’re a hunter, you know this company no doubt. Mojo, known for motion decoys. I love their product, Dove a Flickers. Doves are immediately attracted to your spot and they come right to you. My dad and I will absolutely be using this and scattering them throughout our field. It’s unique and it works!
The MOJO Elite Series Dove is a game changer. If you want doves to notice you, this decoy is the one to use. The Elite Series dove and the Flickers are a great combination and it’s exactly the set up I’m using for opening day and all of dove season. There are a lot of products out there, but I highly recommend these or others from MOJO because they work and they’re effective.
Every hunter knows, there is so much gear you need to bring, no matter what the game is. To carry it all, I use the Fieldline Pro Series womens backpack. I recently just purchased this and I think it works well for what I need. If you are looking for higher end backpacks, Tenzing has great options. My dad loves his!
Some other small things I strongly urge you to bring are the Cabela’s multi-tool. It is, without exception, always in my bag. It’s simple, useful, and doesn’t take up space. To keep the pesky bugs away, I use a Thermacell. I like to clip one to my chair or stool and it’s very convenient! To carry my birds and for a neat picture, I use the Looped Bird Carrier from Cabelas. Always remember your water, sunscreen, and a bag for trash and your shells. A good rule of thumb, leave the place better than you found it. Don’t forget about your dog either! I always bring my dog, Bugsy, a bowl for his water and treats because he’s a good boy!
How to be Successful
Aiming for birds comes natural to some, and not so much for others. My biggest piece of advice is to aim for one bird. When a group comes in, the first reaction is to just start shooting. But hold on! If you aim for the group, most likely you will miss all of them. Take a deep breath, and aim for one!
Keep in mind your state laws, stay safe, and DM me your dove pictures on Instagram! I would love to see them!