Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dove Decoys Really Do Work!

So this post spans from September 2010 to New Year's day, but since I just recently started this blog, I think it is acceptable to give you a recap of one of my 2010 hunts.  I finally bit the bullet and paid for a dove lease.  I have never done this before because I had always been near land that I could access for free (public or private), but that was not the case this year.  I had not been dove hunting for a long, long, time so I needed some basic gear and my license.  While I was at Cabelas, I  noticed dove decoys galore.  Some were just molds resembling doves and others had wings that rotated and gave the illusion of a flapping wing.  My hunting buddy Ron is a believer in these mechanical decoys and he is usually right, so I grimaced as I plopped down the $40 required to purchase one fancy decoy and a few of the basic molded decoys.  This was after I went on the "Dove Tour" that the dove lease guys put on and man was it a crowd pleaser.  Below is a brief video that I took with my iPhone while they were explaining the ground rules to the hunting season.  I had a hard time paying attention because there were so many doves flying overhead.  I apologize for the crummy music with the video, I had to remove the ZZ Top track I had on it when I posted it on YouTube.

The Dove Tour
The Decoy Results!!!

I took off work the opening day of dove season and headed out to to a cut milo field that had been crawling with doves during my preseason scouting.  Since this was a lease, I knew there would be many other hunters, but boy was I surprised.  I had gotten to the field about an hour before daylight and I was still late, there were hunters in all the prime spots.  I was able to find my third choice spot in the dark so I began to set out my decoys and gear in the weeds where I would wait.  It was a cool cloudy day so the birds weren't flying in as I had seen them during my scouting trip, but there were good numbers.  The spots I had intended to sit were receiving great action with lots of shot opportunities, but I was patient. I looked out across the field where my decoy sat and suddenly a dove appeared flying low to the ground, headed straight for me traveling at mach 1!  I barely had time to raise my gun and shoot before he passed, BANG, I had bagged my first dove in years!  I thought to myself, he appeared to be headed straight for my decoy, that's odd.  Later, doves began to come over at much higher altitude as they were getting wise to the presence of the hunters, but several times large groups came overhead and circled to inspect my decoy attempting to land on my position, much like ducks setting their wings to come in for a landing.  This decoy is really working!  The first morning hunt was tough due to the number of hunters so I only took nine, but I was convinced that the decoy would continue to help me this season.

Over the course of the month I went out several more times, but to a pasture with multiple ponds and fields full of weeds.  Doves would hone in on my decoy like tomahawk missiles!  I had to be vigilant or I would miss prime opportunities.  I even had birds that I had shot at and missed, circle around for another pass as they continued to try to reach my decoy.  Despite the heat and mosquitos that were attempting to carry me away, I had a very successful dove season.

I saved a set of birds for a New Years get together with my hunting and fishing buddy Ron.  Ron is a great cook and I wanted him to show me how he creates his bacon wrapped grilled dove.  While I was expecting a detailed recipe with exact ingredients, I found that he winged it most of the time (no pun intended).  We grabbed every spice he had included a special seasoning he had received as a gift. We wrapped the doves in bacon with as many jalapeno slices as we could possibly fit.  The grilling proved difficult as the flames erupted from the bacon grease, but Ron's attentive flipping and repositioning of the doves was masterful.  The end result was a smokey and spicy treat that we still continue to talk about to this day.  Wow were those doves great!

The prize, start to finish!

It was a fitting end to my dove hunting experience.  As we enjoyed the fruits of the field, I told Ron tall tales about the dove hunts and how my shot to kill ratio was likely not very good.  I had seen many great sunsets, made many memories, and met a lot of great folks.  I can't wait for next season!


  1. I have never been dove hunting...but I have to admit those decoys with the rotating wings look stupid. I'm amazed they work. Dove must be some stupid birds! Great blog you have here. Looks like your off to a great start!

  2. Thanks Steven! I agree that doves are not the brightest creatures, but they are fast!

  3. Looks like the beginning of a great blog! The dove looks delicious, and I absolutely LOVE that you have a Fred Bear quote... he is a bit of a disappearing outdoors hero in America.

  4. Thanks Backcountry! I agree, that Fred Bear does seem to be slowly fading from our collective memory. He was one of the main reasons I began to become interested in archery as a kid!

  5. Thank you for sharing the dove hunt. Personally, i think Doves are great eating. I wish we could shoot them in CT.

  6. Great story Chris! I'll have to try some of those decoys sometime. Maybe an old dog CAN learn new tricks! Mom would never eat grilled bacon!