Dove hunting isn’t a casual stroll into a field with a shotgun. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Beginners and veteran wingshooters alike have to have the right clothing. Doves aren’t stupid, after all, and they can see quite well. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about what to wear hunting because we’ve got you covered.
Since dove hunting usually requires spending serious time under the sun, clothing starts with a hat. Everything else is camouflage, loose-fitting clothing, a vest for shotgun shells, eye and ear protection, and some decent shoes.
You’ll want to avoid wearing white or light-colored clothing, despite how well they reflect the sun. Lightweight and breathable is the name of this game. Unless your state laws require it, blaze orange is a huge no-no when hunting dove.
Doves aren’t like other game birds who see movement as a sign of threat. Doves can see color very well, and a flash of blaze orange is enough to flare them the moment they see that happy, bright, Halloween orange sticking out like a sore thumb.
Dove Hunting Gear
You definitely want to have shotgun shells with you and will need a place to carry them. A bird hunting vest with plenty of pockets should be on your Christmas wish list, especially in the front. The more shotgun shells you can carry, without bulging too badly, will make the difference between a light bag and bagging your limit.
Unfortunately, about 90% of vests for wingshooting are covered in blaze orange, which is problematic for dove hunting. Take your time and pick out something quality, behind a solid brand name, that’s camouflaged. A good vest is just for starters. You’ll also want some other, quality gear to bring along as well.
- A comfortable chair (you’ll be so grateful)
- Dove decoys
- A strong pair of scissors
- Portable dog bowls (keep your dog hydrated)
- Shotgun cleaning kit
- Portable camo poncho
- First aid kit
- Two-way radios
Your gear is pretty important. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for every eventuality. Put these items on your pick-up list, and you, your kids, fellow hunters, and canine hunting buddies will be well-prepared.
Some Upland hunting boots are the best, but this is one of those things where you get what you pay for, so you don’t want to go cheap. Irish Setter Hunting boots are a good choice, but they’re not the only quality boots out there. You’ll spend a good deal of time on your feet, so you want something comfortable and long-lasting.
Camo pants are the obvious choice, but you will want plenty of pockets with them. Mobility is important too, so you don’t want them to be skin tight. If there’s one thing you will learn from hunting dove, or any kind of wingshooting, it’s that comfort is imperative.
Dove hunting starts in September and often runs well into the winter. Unless you’re pretty deep in the south, you’ll want to layer up. The warmer the day becomes, you can always remove layers until you’re comfortable.
Safety Glasses & Hearing Protection
You don’t know you need hearing protection until you pull the trigger and you can feel the immense pressure on your eardrums. You can almost feel the damage. Hearing protection is for no one else but you, and if you want your ears to still function when you’re 40, you need to use it.
The same goes for safety glasses. You may have fired a thousand rounds downrange in your life with no problems. All it takes is once. Polarized safety glasses are the best, especially if you’re facing east in the mornings or west during an afternoon hunt.
Just a simple camo hat is perfect. No blaze orange for dove hunting unless, of course, it’s required where you happen to live.
Safety While Hunting
This is where the blaze orange thing becomes a bit of a disagreement. Can you hunt dove with blaze orange on? Sure, but you won’t be nearly as successful. At the same time, if you have hunters flanking you, visibility might become a safety issue. Of course, if it’s required, then you need to obey the law.
The best safety measure you can follow is an awareness of your surroundings at all times, along with firearm safety practices.
When it comes to any type of hunting, preparation is just as important–or more so–than the hunt itself. You want a tested, field-fired, and well-maintained shotgun, plenty of pockets to pack all your shells in, comfortable hunting boots, comfortable clothing, and something to sit on.
Good clothing and gear will make or break your day, especially when it comes to your boots. Cold or sore feet make for a cold and sore person. If you are using dogs for retrieval, you have to take care of the pooch too. Bring some portable bowls and plenty of water.
Besides, dove hunting is perfect for training a dog for the bigger game later on. Most importantly, have a blast and bag your limit, while staying concealed and comfortable.
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