The making of a dove hunt

It was about 1 p.m. when I drove down John Caldwell’s driveway on that September 1st afternoon.  

As I stepped out of my truck I could hear shots ringing out from the sunflower field. 

John met me at the door of the clubhouse and showed me the layout of the field on an aerial photo. 

Based upon his observations about how the dove had been using the field, I chose to hunt the west edge, near a stand of huge cottonwood trees. This was a perfect roosting spot.

When I got to the field, I could see quickly one of the hunter’s main problems. All four were shooting from the same location.  

I walked to them, introduced myself and told them where I was going to set up. It was 1:20 p.m.

I made the suggestion to them that they spread out a bit, but they said they were having too much fun hunting together.  

One of the younger guys said to me, “This is great! I already have 10 doves and I haven’t even been through four boxes, yet!”

There are two key factors when you approach a field for dove hunting. The first consideration focuses on the three basic needs of the bird itself.  

A water source, a food source and a place to roost are the magic ingredients to an outstanding dove field. 

Positioning yourself and all hunters in relation to these three components is the second key to your success.

When John Caldwell suggested that I set up near the roost, close to the sunflowers, he knew full well what he was doing.  

My 15-dove limit came with 21 shots and I was done by 2 p.m. This, to the total amazement of the hunters who had been in the field for over 4 hours.

But a good dove hunting field does not happen on opening day. A good field starts with planning and preparation months earlier.  

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