Most birds are missed from behind. Rarely does anyone miss too far in front of a dove. If you see a bird approaching from distance, don’t raise your gun and track the bird as it approaches. If you hunt dove much you’ve seen other hunters “sky busting”. Most people have trouble judging distance. When you arrive at your stand measure out some 30 yards distances and mark them. If you shoot at birds beyond 30 yards, effective range for an Improved Cylinder choke, you are not likely to hit the bird and are wasting ammo. Focus on the birds head and just before it gets to that marker, bring your gun up ahead of the bird, keep it swinging, and pull the trigger.
As in any hunting scenario safety is primary. Remember, everyone is in camo so it may be difficult to see other shooters. Be sure to maintain proper distance between you and other shooters; 40 – 50 yards is the minimum. If someone comes in and sets up close to you let them know you are there and ask them to move. Never take shots at low flying birds. It doesn’t matter if you “think” it is safe. A few ounces of dove aren’t worth injuring another person. Save the shots for those 45 degrees or more above the ground. There will be plenty of them. Be sure to wear hearing and eye protection. You’ll be doing a lot of shooting which is hard on the ears. Shaded shooting glasses not only reduce glare, they also protect the eyes from falling shot and improve your ability to focus on the bird. Time to start tuning up and getting the gear ready. It’s almost here!
Archery deer season also starts in September and folks tend to forget Hunter Education. There are a couple of classes coming up this month. The first will be August 20 -21, 6 – 9 p.m. at the United Community Bank in Burnsville. That same week we have one on August 22 – 23, same time at the Madison County Coop Extension Center. After that the next ones in the local area are in September. So if you or a family member needs Hunter Education to buy a license, which is required, better get signed up.