Various questions on doves: guns, loads and dogs

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Various questions on doves: guns, loads and dogs

Post by JonBailey » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm

1. How does one legally acquire real birds, including doves, for training one's puppies and/or introducing puppies to birds BEFORE the puppies go to the field? One might have to hunt the birds lawfully to possess them. But what does a person use for a retriever in order to hunt these birds until his own dogs are field-ready? What if he can't borrow a dove-ready dog from a hunting buddy? Will I initially have to shoot birds and retrieve them myself SANS dogs just to acquire training birds for my own dogs? I guess I could also purchase a few pet live doves and slaughter them for that purpose. I don't think it is legal to purchase harvested GAME birds from another hunter. At some point during dog training development real birds will have to be acquired somehow to complete a retriever. Doves and pigeons have a smell that dogs might not like. They also might have to overcome dove-feather shyness as well. They might also have to learn that a mouth full of dove down is still less unpleasant than a jolt or two from an e-collar.

2. How badly does a 12-ga. pump kick with field or dove loads, say 1 ounce, 3 1/4 dram equivalent, 2 3/4" number 7 1/2s? How bad does it kick as compared with a 20 ga. pump with heavy hunting loads?

I was considering a 20 ga. Benelli Nova as my first dove gun but after reading Charley Dickey's "Dove Hunting" he recommends a 12 ga. for a novice shotgunner. Supposedly a 12 ga. will give a denser pattern for a given choke and range. Doves acrobatting on the wing are the damnedest things to hit but a 12 ga. has an advantage for a newbie. My concern is a 12 might not be as gentle on the shoulder as a 20 but aren't 12 ga. guns fairly gentle with field and target loads? Just back from my local Walmart this morning, there are whole bunch of 12 ga. dove loads, no 20 ga., on promotion. $4.74/box by Federal. I like the idea that Wally-World stocks a huge amount of cheap dove loads prior to the season, but only in 12 ga., so maybe a 12 ga. for a dove gun might be practical for the great availability of shells.

3. Why is DRAM EQUIVALENT still printed on shotgun shells that have used smokeless powder for over 100 years now? What hunter actually cares?
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Re: Various questions on doves: guns, loads and dogs

Post by airmedic1 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:50 am

Boy you sure are a "busy" poster aren't you?
Of all the places I've been, this is one of them!

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Re: Various questions on doves: guns, loads and dogs

Post by mnaj_springer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:59 am


People either buy pigeons for training, which is one of the best training birds readily available, or they buy birds from a bird produce, such as a game farm. But apparently all you want to hunt is doves so get pigeons, aka rock doves. I'd suggest you catch/trap them yourself, but that may be too much to you and lead to 8 kagillion more questions from you. As for legal transfer of game, check your state regs. Finally for numero uno, what are you talking about with your ecollar comment?

As far as the gun stuff, how in the wide world will we be able to accurately describe to you how you will perceive the kick of a gun? Just go shoot one!
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Re: Various questions on doves: guns, loads and dogs

Post by Timewise65 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:21 pm

JonBailey… you ask many questions, primarily about dove hunting and retrieving. I am an avid dove hunter and I have two well trained Golden Retrievers (I did have three but my best dove Retrievers, died last week, she was 14.5 years old and lived a great life). I will try and answer some of your questions in a logical manner. Let's start with a basic hunt and the dog(s)…

First don't train with dove, trap your own Pidgeon. Dogs cannot tell the difference. Research on the internet to find out how to catch and care for pigeons.

A well trained retriever is very good for hunting dove, although most sporting dogs can be trained to retrieve and located a downed bird. A downed bird laying out in an open field that has dropped and is laying on the ground is almost impossible to see! It hard to believe how they just disappear when down. And forget it if they fall in cover. Most dogs learn to scent dove and a well trained retriever will mark a shot dove and when sent will run a straight line to retrieve the dove. You are right dogs cannot scent dove as well as most birds, but after hunting them a while they learn to scent them. My old girl went into dense cover many times after a downed bird and almost always came out with that bird. On opening morning when other hunters were in the area, I could never shoot a limit, because invariably, as we walked out of a large dove field, my girl would find a dead bird or two someone else had shot and lost. Dogs do hate the feathers on dove, but with help they can clear their mouth and since they love to retrieve, they will continue as long as you keep shooting them. I suggest you do further research on the internet to 'training a retriever'. The process takes time and you musts follow specific steps. Or better yet find a local retriever trainer!

You do not 'hunt' dove like you do most game birds, you generally don't walk around and have your dog flush birds or point birds. The birds have to come to you. You go to an area where dove would be expected to be, e.g. a prepared sunflower or burned wheat field (many states provide these prepared fields. We have hundreds of them in MO every season), or a watering hole lined with tall trees, etc..) During the dove migrations, when dove seasons are open, these birds will be flying into these areas in early mornings or mid afternoon to feed and/or water. I usually do lots of scouting weeks before the season opens. Locating an area where birds are moving, is a good start. You actually set up in wearing camo cloths or some use a small portable camo blind before sun up or late afternoon and shoot the birds out of the air when they come into water or feed. The are fun to hunt, but not easy to locate and shoot, so practice your shooting on some 'clay birds' before you actually go hunting. If I have a good day I will kill around 6 birds per box of shells, some do better some do worse....but bring enough shells to kill a limit.

Now for guns! Most agree that shooting a 12ga or 20ga has little difference in recoil (of course always some who disagree). One major recoil difference is between and automatic or pump vs. any break action shotgun. Automatics and pumps have some built-in recoil absorbtion. Break action guns kick more as they, generally have no internal recoil support. Of course guns with a soft rubber pad on the shoulder mount helps some also, especially if you are shooting a few hundred rounds. I only use autoloads 12ga for dove. I like having three shots and I have never liked using a pump. I am considering getting a 28ga, it will be a bit more challanging, but the ligher ammo and recoil are attractive adds for me as I approach 70 years old. I never use anything but 2 3/4 shells for dove and I prefer a better load of gun power (drams). The cheaper shells just don't seem to have the killing range as the better laods.

I am sure I missed some stuff....but that is all for now! Good luck and good hunting! :mrgreen:

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