Welcome the Season with DovesI cut my teeth on dove hunting. Local farmers grew plenty of maize and wheat, and the last week of August always found me scouting the area, looking for the biggest concentration of birds.
Typical September weekends found my brother and I quietly closing the front door in the early morning darkness. We were weighed down with several boxes and shells and hefty expectations. While my older brother always was a better shot than me and usually returned with a full limit, I often scratched out a few birds, too, and we'd breast them out and take them to Ma. She'd fry them up with eggs and toast and we enjoyed a breakfast few others have ever imagined.
One particularly difficult morning the doves flared from our every move. My brother pulled out a Carry-Lite dove decoy and clipped it to the barbed wire fence just down from us. After that, I won't say we slayed them, but we did see a distinct difference in the way the birds acted. Instead of flaring, many of the birds swung around to join the plastic imitation.
As time went on, the farmers discovered they could make more money growing sod, and the wheat and maze fields, along with the doves that feed there, went away.
Dove decoys serve several purposes for the hunter. In addition to attraction, they also serve as distractions and guides. The plastic imitation distracts oncoming birds so that your movement is less noticeable, and by placing several dove decoys in a flock in the field, decoys can help guide the birds to where you want.
Tips for Placing Dove Decoys
The best way to use dove decoys depends on several things. If you're hunting a big agriculture field you'll want to use your decoys to attract and guide the doves to your shooting zone. Begin by placing one where it can be seen from a distance - on a tall treelimb or the top string of a barbed wire fence. Out front, where you'd like to shoot the birds, place two to four dove decoys several feet from each other in a small group. The addition of a battery-operated spinning wing decoy also has incredible pulling power.
One trick is to drag a big downed limb into the field and stick a few decoys on the limbs in addition to the ones on the ground.
The same scenario can be used for dove hunting waterholes. Place one or two dove decoys at the edge of the water and another on the bare limb of a nearby tree. Upon seeing these "birds" already at the water hole, any incoming birds will be set at ease and head right on in.
In many cases, doves will want to land in the top of a tree (preferably a dead tree) to check out the scene prior to dropping in. Use this knowledge to your advantage in your set up.
Dove decoys certainly work to angle the birds your direction and flat out attract them to sit down where you want, plus they're lightweight and easy to transport. Throw a couple in your game vest this year.