It may not be very obvious now, but the earth is tilting away from the sun in the northern hemisphere. Gradually, the sun is at a little lower angle.
The days are a little shorter. And some cooler nights after passing cold fronts portend some fun ahead. Hunting.
Doves are first. A social shoot may be a better descriptor of a dove hunt.
Doves can fly fast and can be elusive targets. It’s almost time to gather with hunting buddies for some wing-shooting fun.
Switching from retriever marking and lining drills with plastic bumpers. To real birds and real shots is a welcomed late summer transition. And some related good news. Survey results in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website show dove numbers in Louisiana have increased the last several years.
For doves Louisiana is divided into two zones. There are three split seasons. The north zone seasons are: Sept. 2-24, Oct. 7-Nov. 12, Dec. 17-June 15. Daily shooting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset on private and public land most of the season.
But shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day of the first split on State WMA’s and leased land, other than Elbow Slough WMA for which the season is the same as on private land. I wonder why?
Several species in the dove/pigeon family are found in Louisiana. The small Inca and ground doves are not legal to shoot. Mourning doves are the main quarry. Hunters can legally harvest up to 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate per day.
Also Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves are legal game. Fully dressed they are included in the limit of 15 per day. But with the head and one wing still attached they are bonuses. The common rock pigeon is also fair game. Check out details on the LDWF website.
Doves have weak legs and don’t scratch to find seed to eat like quail and turkeys. They feed on exposed small seed in fields with some bare ground. They don’t feed in thick vegetation. Particularly attractive habitat is harvested grain fields such as milo, millet, and corn.
Sunflower fields are another good bet for doves. New clearcuts are good habitat for a couple of years before they grow too dense. Clearcuts that have been site-prep burned or herbicided to reduce vegetation density are especially attractive. Hunting over bait is illegal.
A nice shady spot is a good place to set up. When flying to feeding fields doves often light on snags (dead trees), isolated trees, or wires, before flying down to feed. So these are good spots to intercept them.
When shooting-just relax, cheek to the stock, and shoot where they’re going. Light shotgun loads of No. 7 ½ or 8 shot are appropriate. Be sure to pick up your downed birds quickly. Fire ants find them quickly if you don’t.
Try to set up in the doves’ flight path or the edges of feeding areas rather than directly in the feeding areas. Doves will come to the field longer if they are not shot at there.
You can extend your hunting days by not shooting out your field. Only hunt half days and only a couple of days a week. Some doves will often remain and attract new migrating doves. You can extend your hunts if you don’t hammer them. Rotate fields you hunt if possible.
Afternoons are hot this time of year. Be careful about you and your dog overheating. Some have lost their canine hunting partner to heat on opening day. Find a shady spot to shoot from. Take cool water for you and your retriever. Take a break during the hot mid-day; the doves will. Cool off if y’all get hot.
Remember to get your new hunting license. Have fun this first hunting season. Look forward to cool weather, and the many hunting opportunities ahead.
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Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
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