Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Dove opener Sept. 1 oreview: Thunderstorms could impact action
Last-minute dove tips for Sept. 1 blast-off!
Thundershowers still a factor, as always, but birds are still here
Thunder showers bounced around the desert area yesterday and there is still a chance that more rain and wind might clobber the valley prior to the mid-week's opener on Wednesday.
Western Outdoor News talked with Adolfo Hernandez at the Wister Wildlife refuge just prior to deadline and he reported that most of the light monsoonal rains fell along the Lower Colorado River and farther south around Calexico.
"We only got a little tiny bit of wind at the refuge, which is holding lots of mourning and white-winged dove. There are more birds here than there were a couple of weeks ago, perhaps due to our recent flooding and the abundance of feed on the refuge. I would think that this opener could produce some excellent dove hunting, but we always have to worry about severe thunder showers late in August here in the valley," said Hernandez.
For those heading out for the opener, WON has put together a kind of "last minute tip list" that might be of assistance when making final plans for a dove hunt.
1) It's almost too late to do any scouting for opening morning. For those who didn't have a chance to get out and look for flyways, feeding or watering holes it wouldn't be a bad idea to call a friend who had time to scout an area. Often scouting might indicate more than one "hot spot" that perhaps your friend will share with you.
2) Bring along a handful of dove decoys. Putting out a few decoys on a barbed wire fence or sticking some up in a leafless tree might just work to bring dove within shotgun range. A decoy that has really proved successful on dove is the Mojo spinning wings decoy that is awesome when placed in a feeding field or under an established flyway.
3) Make sure you have a secure camo shooting stool. There are some good ones out there that are currently on sale at Turner's Outdoorsman, Jimmy's Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops and Field Time Sports and Guns.
4) Don't forget to bring some kind of shade or seek the protection of a nearby stack of hay, dead tree or something that will throw off some kind of shade. Also position yourself so that you won't be shooting directly into the rising sun. Many a dove has been missed completely when it flies right across a bright sun.
5) Make sure to lead the bird and follow through. Don't be slow on your swing, as it's better to be out in front of a dove rather than to dust the bird and only end with a few feathers floating in the sky.
6) Shoot a good load of #8 shot and don't be afraid to back up your chambered round with 7.5's. Dove are lightly feathered early in the season and usually can be bagged with 8's, but if there are a lot of Eurasian Collared dove in the area, you might consider shooting just 7.5's for improved knock down power
7) Carry a can of bug spray with you especially if your hunting spot is close to water. Some of the fresh water ponds on Wister are ideal breeding places for mosquitoes and there will likely be a bunch of bugs out in the morning if you decide to shoot next to a canal.
8) Bring along plenty of liquids, especially if you are heading down to the Imperial Valley or over to the Lower Colorado River. This hunting editor has switched from plain cold water to Gatorade, which seems to work a lot better for quenching your thirst when you are in a full sweat.
9) Wearing safety glasses and hearing protection is a must! You don't want to gamble with another hunter swinging on a low flying dove and getting blasted with shot in the face.
10) Don't be afraid to relocate if there are not many dove flying in your spot. When getting ready to move don't hesitate on stopping a hunt party leaving a field to ask them how the shooting was. They just might point you in the right direction, if not for a late morning shoot, at least a place that will offer up a limit shoot during the evening flight.
11) Keep your shot birds as cool as possible until it's time to clean them. In the hot sun a dove can spoil rather quickly.
12) Just be safe in the field. Don't take shots at low flying dove and always make sure that there is blue sky above you before pulling the trigger.