Dove Hunting - Tips on Getting Started
By S P Griffin
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A step by step guide to get you in the field!
Dove Hunting is a great sport for all ages. Whether you are 12 or 50, it can be rewarding. I
started at age 17 and haven't missed an opening day since. As the summer begins, my heart and
mind always go to September 1st (opening day North and Central Zones in Texas). Every year
my dad, brother and I have a competition, called 'The Top Gun', and whoever kills the most birds
gets their name on the Top Gun plaque for the year. (Dad wins every year) I've started my two
oldest sons out and this year they are in the competition too. I'm looking forward to many years
of time with them With all that said, if you would like to try it out I have some practical things
for you to do to make getting started easy.
Getting started falls into two basic categories:
What to purchase?
What to do?
What to Purchase
I know, you are thinking this is going to be expensive. It can be (if you have the money), if not,
you can start out on a shoestring budget, like me. There are many items that make dove hunting
more comfortable but they are not necessary to begin hunting. I'll begin with the bare necessities.
I don't think there is any way around this one, unless you are real good with a sling shot. There
are many options when it come to a shotgun. The basic categories are; pump action, auto-matic,
and over and under. All three have there advantages and disadvantages. The other things
involved in purchasing a shotgun are , what gauge and what brand.
A pump action shot gun is the least expensive type of shotgun. Pumps can be purchased for
around $300. Winchester and Remington have decent entry level pump shotguns. A pump
simply means that the discharging and reloading of shells is done by pumping the gun backwards
and then forward. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done very quickly and all have shot a lot
of birds with a pump. A pump's advantages are it is a great starter gun and the cost will keep
some money in the bank if you are on a budget.
An automatic shotgun is an upgrade from a pump. An automatic shotgun ejects the spent shell
and reloads the chamber automatically (hints why it's called an automatic). Both the pump and
automatic hold three shells(with the plug in). For a beginner and even for me (as I shoot an
automatic), the third shot can be a life saver. Automatic shotguns can be pricey though. I shoot a
Remington 1170 (left handed ) and it cost around $850. the price range is from $500 and up. I've
never had any problems with my gun but some critics of them say they over heat and run out of
gas if you do an awful amount of shooting. I recommend automatic's unless you are going to
Argentina or something.
Over and Under shotguns are probably the most popular in the target shooting world and a lot of
bird hunter use the. They have two barrels one on top of the other. they are know for their
accuracy and reliability. Both my brother and my dad shoot them. They are the most expensive
starting at around $700 and going up from there. If you've got the cash, you can't go wrong
Gauges: When buying a shotgun, size does matter. The smaller the number the larger the shell.
12 gauge is the most common and then 20 gauge being the next. Although there a many different
gauges all you need to know is the bigger the gauge the more it kicks. Don't get to excited none
of them really hurt unless you shoot 500 then you might be a little sore. I recommend 12 gauge
for adult males and 20 ga. for adult women and kids over 13. For youngsters, I recommend .410
Brands: I've had good luck with Remington and Winchester. Both are low to medium price
range. Mossberg also makes entry level shotguns, but my brother had all kinds of problems with
his first pump, in a short period of time I might add. Benelli an Beretta are also good brands, but
in the medium to high price range.
The bottom line is you have to have a gun, so decide on your budget and make a purchase that
will last a life time. Let's keep a running total....
1-pump-action gun = $300
2. A place to hunt
I'd say this is a necessity. Here again, this depends on your bank account. There are several ways
to hunt without paying ant outrageous amount of money. In Texas, they have public land and for
around $50 one can access thousands of acres. The trick is finding a spot with birds. There are
also day hunts for around $100 per day, and even some leases for around $150 per season
(usually these suck). If you've got the money, look for some established leases in the
newspapers. They can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 per gun. Again, a gun is no good if
you don't have a place to shoot it (preferably with birds on it or flying by).
1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50
3. Hunting license
I don't think this needs too much elaboration. Depending on your state, should be around $40.
1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40,
You can really go crazy here if you want, but there are a few 'must haves'.
Shells. I could write a novel on this, but to start just buy some 8 shot dove load. Buy a case (10
boxes), should be around $60.
Bird/bullet bag.Probably a three pouch camo, $15.
Chair. Get a comfortable one. They are cheap $30 max.
Camo clothing. Depending on your climate, you'll need pants and a shirt. The more pockets the
better. You might want to buy some boots too. We'll say $100.
Other accessories you might want to get could be a water bottle (camo, of course), flashlight,
hunting vest, a new cooler (to put all your birds you kill in), camo hat, and polarized sunglasses.
For now i won't figure these into cost.
1-pump shotgun @ $300, 1- public land permit @ $50, 1- hunting license @ $40, 1-set of
accessories @ $205.
That's it! The grand total to get you into business is around $600. It sounds like a lot, but if you
don't wait until the last minute you can budget it in over time.
In the next article, I'll cover what to do to get started dove hunting.
I'll cover that after I RELOAD!
Hello, my name is S P Griffin and I've recently started a blog about dove hunting, hunting dogs,
and shotguns. It's kind of ironic that the name is Dove, Dogs, and Shotguns isn't it?
At http://www.dovehunting101.com/ you can find everything from how to artices on hunting,
shooting, dog training, to hunting supplies and accessories. Check it out and feel free to leave
your comments about the site.