Game & Fish
You Are Here:  Game & Fish >> Texas >> Hunting >>Dove Hunting
6 Common-Sense Dove Tactics
Too often hunters show up at a dove field and simply sit in the first patch of shade they find. If they paid attention to these ... [+] Full Article
>> Texas Sportsman Home
photo of the week
This Week's Photo:
Look who bagged a 160-pound black bear during a hunt near Kokadjo, Maine, near Moosehead Lake...
[+] Enlarge Photo

Fathers & Sons: An Outdoor Tradition -- Brought to you by Toyota Tundra

[+] MORE
>> Win A $2,000 Fishing Trip
>> Fishing & Hunting Tales
>> Tactics & Strategies
>> Build Your Tundra
North American Whitetail
North American Whitetail
A magazine designed for the serious trophy-deer hunter. [+] See It
>> Petersen's Hunting
>> Petersen's Bowhunting
>> Wildfowl
>> Gun Dog
Shallow Water Angler
Shallow Water Angler
The nation's only publication dedicated to inshore fishing, covering waters from Texas to Maine. [+] See It
>> In-Fisherman
>> Florida Sportsman
>> Fly Fisherman
>> Game & Fish
>> Walleye In-sider
Guns & Ammo
Guns & Ammo
The preeminent firearms magazine: Hunting, shooting, cowboy action, reviews, technical material and more. [+] See It
>> Shooting Times
>> RifleShooter
>> Handguns
>> Shotgun News
Texas Sportsman
Lone Star Dove Outlook
A new dove season will be starting any minute now -- and Texas shotgunners have a lot to look forward to when the happy day arrives!

Photo by Mark Romanack

Doves weren't the intended audience when the prophet Isaiah railed against the sense of the saying "Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die." But they could have been.

Because in Texas, food and water are the two uppermost of a dove's daily concerns. And come Sept. 1, legions of Lone Star hunters stand ready to help them die.

As befits creatures as fleet as are these winged bullets -- I've clocked mourning doves dawdling along parallel to highways at 55 miles per hour -- their metabolic rate is sky-high. The first thing they need to do after flying off the roost in the morning is to eat. After feeding, they go to water. Midday is generally spent loafing in the shade of leafy trees. In late afternoon they feed and water again before returning to the roost.

continue article

Knowledge of doves' travel paths from roost to food to water to loafing cover is vital to dove-hunting success in Texas or anywhere else. Doves will fly where they want to go, and not where you want them to be. Pre-hunt scouting is the best way to be sure that the spot you pick to hunt is a place where doves want to be.

The two main types of doves in Texas are the mourning dove, so called for their melancholy cry, and the white-winged dove, named for its wings' white leading edges, which flash distinctively in flight. There are some variations in the behaviors of these doves that hunters should be aware of.

Mourning doves tend to roost in the countryside, while whitewings seem to favor urban nesting sites. San Antonio, for example, is home to more than a million whitewings. These birds fly out of the city to feed in grain, sunflower, corn, or sesame fields. Choosing a hunting location with a preferred food source or on the flyway between city roosting sites and a food source can be the key to success. While it's illegal to hunt within the city limits, a dove lease located just outside the city can be a wingshooter's bonanza.

Mourning doves will take advantage of wheat, milo and oat fields when they're available, but otherwise they concentrate on wild plants such as sunflower, croton (dove weed), ragweed, or Johnson grass. If you locate an area with these food sources and see lots of mourning doves staging on dead trees or power lines in the vicinity, chances are good that you've found a hot place to hunt.

In areas with both mourning doves and whitewings -- which now includes most of Texas -- both will feed in the same types of fields. But there is a crucial difference in how they go about it. Mourning doves begin flying before it's legal to shoot (30 minutes before sunrise), but whitewings tend to be tardy in arriving at feeding fields in the morning. If you want to target whitewings, don't shoot your limit before 8 a.m. Wait for the later flights of whitewings.

Uvalde is a hotspot for both mourning doves and whitewings. On one opening morning hunt there, several members of my party got sucked into the early flight of mourning doves and so had nearly limited out before the whitewings started arriving. While the heaviest flights of mourning doves into the milo field arrived from before sunrise to about 30 minutes after, the whitewings didn't start showing up until an hour later. For the next two hours wave after wave of whitewings almost darkened the sky. Shooting was fast and furious, and even first-time dove hunters in the group managed to down a half-dozen birds or so.

page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

[Featured Title]
Shallow Water Angler  
Shallow Water Angler
The nation's only publication devoted to inshore fishing, covering waters from Texas to Maine.
 *See the Site
*Subscribe to the magazine
[Features From Shallow Water Angler]
>> Complete the Illusion
>> Make It a Mondo Mullet
>> Solitude & Shallows - Chandeleur Island
>> South Carolina Creates Second Inshore Reef
* Subscribe to the Shallow Water Angler
[All Titles]