Now that you have a new air rifle, you probably can’t wait to go out and use it. Sure, you can go out plinking and target shooting, but what about small game hunting. Well, sadly, you cannot just run out and start shooting at whatever small game you find.
For one, it is probably considered animal cruelty somewhere. Most people frown upon randomly shooting and killing small game just for the fun of it. Instead they want to see people who hunt it use it in some way, not just leave it there lying in the sun to rot.
Second, you can sometimes get in trouble for shooting the wrong thing. A perfect example is hunters who go after big game like deer or elk. You must make sure they are in season before you go out hunting, same thing holds true for small game.
Many hunters find dove hunting to be a great past time. Some dove hunters use air rifles, while others use shotguns. No matter what gun you choose, you want to make sure you avoid making certain mistakes when going out dove hunting for the first time.
Doing it illegally
One of the worst things that can happen when it comes to dove hunting is doing it illegally. If you are not legally dove hunting you are going to end up in quite a bit of trouble with the law, at minimum you are going to end up facing a hefty fine. Luckily, there are some ways to make sure that you are 100% legal when out dove hunting.
First thing is to check that you are hunting in the wrong spot. You want to avoid fields that have been baited or fields that are considered flyaways. You can ask your host if either of these apply to the field you are hunting in.
Second only applies to those of you using shotguns, make sure the plug is inside the shotgun. Finally make sure you are 100% legal when hunting.
Only hunt during legal hunting hours, own a hunting license with the correct endorsements, and meet any other requirements of your state.
Not Being Safe
Dove hunting can be great fun, but that last thing you want to do is make some kind of shooting mistakes because you were not putting safety first. Whenever you go out hunting, you must always follow the basic safety guidelines.
One thing that all hunters know or soon discover is that hunting is about acting fast; after all, you don’t want to miss that crucial shot. However, no matter how fast acting it is you don’t want to put yourself or anybody else in danger.
Following general gun safety practices, such as treating all guns like they are loaded and wearing protective gear, will lower the risk of accidents.
Using the Wrong Ammo
One thing about buying ammo is that it can quickly add up, so many people will do whatever they can to help save a few bucks on ammo. However, when it comes to dove hunting the last thing you want to do is use cheap ammo for a variety of reasons.
Sure, you might have to fire over 12 rounds before you actual shot a dove, but at least when you shot it you will be sure of the results. Cheaper ammo that has less powder or even less shot is not as reliable.
Failure to use Decoys
Now what kind of decoys you can use will really depend upon where you are hunting at. However, regardless of the kind you can use, not using the decoys is kind of silly. Decoys are supposed to increase your odds of success because they are supposed to attract the doves.
The closer the doves come in the better chance you have of successfully hunting them. Spinning-wing decoys are some of the best dove decoys out there, but are not always legal.
If you can’t use a spinning-wing decoy use either feeders or lookers and place them appropriately, feeders go in the ground, while lookers go along a fence.
One thing that you will learn quickly when it comes to dove hunting is how to be patient. In today’s fast-paced world, many of us tend to want things to happen instantly. But, something any great hunter will tell you is that nothing happens quickly in hunting.
If you want to be a successful hunter, you have to learn how to be patient. You simply cannot go out and sit for 30 minutes an expect something to fly into your path.
Hunters that move too soon simply end up scaring the birds out of range.
What you need to do is learn how to sit still, but you must also sit back in the shadows where you are hidden from the bird’s sight. And, even if one flies into your path, wait to shot until it is within range.
Not Marking your Birds
Now marking your birds does not just mean tagging them, it also means collecting them. One thing dove hunters must always do is keep an eye on any bird they hit to see where it falls. Once you have a general idea of where it landed, stop hunting for a minute and go and retrieve it.
Retrieving it right away ensures that you get your birds rather than another dove hunter who simply thinks he hit two birds with one shot. And, remember, you have a daily limit, so be sure to abide by it.
Not Being Serious Enough
Everybody enjoys hunting with friends, after all, it gives you somebody to ride up with, eat with, and talk with while you are waiting for the hunt to start. Plus, who can better understand your passion for dive hunting than fellow shooters. However, once the hunt begins you need to focus and get serious about what you are doing.
Conversation should be minimum, as you don’t want to scare off the birds. Some hunters prefer wearing camo to help blend in with their surroundings. Others pick up each of their bright colored shell casings after each shot. Regardless of how you do it, focusing at the task on hand is necessary if you wish to be a successful dove hunter.