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Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Big Iron
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Right measure: The full scoop on powder


Time to get ready for Dove season
Recently I returned from a birding expedition to Uruguay, where high volume dove shooting was mixed with great upland perdiz hunts and some waterfowling.

That may have been a world-class warm-up for the upcoming dove seasons here. And it did reinforce the concept of pre-hunt preparations and practice. 


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AUTHOR GETS LEG up on the upcoming dove hunting season by going south – way south to South America where it is winter and dove hunting is in full swing. Pre-season practice can help success when the dove season opens here Sept. 1.


It may seem like a bit of way off, but the Sept. 1 opener for dove hunting here is coming on quickly. For most who have jobs and other commitments, there really is not a lot a time left to do the kind of practice that can help increase the percentage of hits on opening morning.


First, clean the shotgun and make certain that it is in good working order. Not good to show up just before dawn on opening morning and find that something isn’t working right. This also is a time to make certain the gun can hold no more than three shells. If it needs a plug, put it in now. If plans call for a new gun for doving this year, now is the time to address that situation and make certain that no waiting period gets in the way.


For dove hunting, just about any legal shotgun can work fine. Most common are 12- and 20-gauge guns. But 16, 28 and .410 guns also can do the trick. Get the ammo over the next few weeks. Usually there are nice sales on dove hunting ammo.


For practice, there are several presentations that imitate the flight of doves available on most sporting clays courses. For those who have access to a skeet field, but not to a sporting clays range, practice from all eight of the skeet stations. But remember that skeet and sporting clays targets slow down as they traverse the sky. Doves don’t. In the field, give a bit of an extra kick to the swing just before pulling the trigger on doves – your hit percentage will improve, since most folks miss doves by shooting behind them.


Try to practice at least twice (on different days) before the dove opener – more if possible. This is because we all have good days and not-so-good days. It is important to know that you can repeat successful shooting skills.


Finally, figure out what a proper shot distance looks like. If you can see the dove’s eyes and/or individual feathers, blast away. If the bird appears small and high, probably best to pass.


With respect to lateral distances, it is a good idea on opening morning to put some kind of marker (dove decoy works great) at whatever your maximum shot distance is going to be. That way if the dove is between you and the marker, it’s a good distance. If the dove is on the other side of the marker, let it go. No need to waste ammo.


What is that magic distance? Depends on the hunter, the load and the conditions. Anything beyond 30 yards is beginning to stretch it for a lot of hunters.


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