Best Dove Season Ever

Larry with limit of doves – Standing by truck
My Purdey 28 gauge is a wonderful, lightweight dove gun – 5-1/2 pounds.

Don’t remember dad ever hunting doves, or even talking about it. My first dove hunting experience was in a corn silage field with a couple of high school buddies, during my Senior year. My only shotgun was a single shot Stevens 16 gauge, with full choke. During my college years,

Holland and Holland 410 – with doves and shells
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as shooting a limit of doves with a 410. This is gun #1 of my Holland and Holland side by side pair.

for $112.50, I bought a new Remington Model 870 in 12 gauge, with an improved cylinder and ventilated rib barrel. The Remington 870 is a great overall shotgun and I hunted many doves with it when I was stationed in Arkansas – during my Air Force years.

Back home in Missouri,

Banded Dove
Shot two this season that had been banded locally - a month earlier.

since 1977, dove season has almost always been the kickoff of the fall hunting season. Mostly the hunting has been around feed lots, farm ponds, and harvested corn fields – places that seem to naturally attract doves, early morning and late afternoon. My first trip to Argentina was back in

Picture of Sunflower Habitat up close
Sunflowers seem to be the very best crop to bring in the doves. A post-emergent herbicide keeps the weeds down, making it easier to find the doves that fall there.

the early 1990’s; but high-volume dove shooting for a few days didn’t dull my interest in shooting a daily limit of 10-15 birds in central Missouri.

This year’s season began on September 1, as usual, and ended for me on October 1. Things had been hot and dry all summer, which

Larry at Southgate Sign
Today’s gun of choice was an old Purdey 10-gauge hammer gun, made in 1872. It only weighs 8#, 2 oz (light for a 10-gauge) with 31 inch barrels and has no choke.

was good for the dove hatch. Our sunflower fields turned out pretty good and the weather pattern was consistently nice during the whole season. My schedule allowed for six hunts – three in the morning and three afternoons. I hunted two distinctly different hunting areas and used five different shotguns,

Feet, while sitting on chair, with coffee cup and ammo
Be careful where you put your ammo and coffee, so it doesn’t keep you from shifting your feet, when necessary for the hard left and right shots.

from 410 bore to 10 gauge, which provided a great and entertaining variety.

The season always starts off with a “bang,” lots of doves and lots of hunters, to keep the birds moving around. But there is a limited number of birds using each field and most hunters' interest fades pretty

Parker with limit of doves
This old Parker was made in the 1920’s. Stock dimensions are a little short and low, and chokes a bit tight. Those are my alibis, as I fired many extra shells to get a limit.

quickly, after the first few days – so, it becomes more challenging to shoot a limit each trip. Normally I start the season with a 410, but this year it was a 28 gauge. As always I’m going to shoot several different guns; this year was no exception.

Purdey Underlever with doves and empty shells
Another Purdey 10-gauge hammer gun, with Jones underlever; it weighs over 10 pounds and has full choke, 32” barrels. Got only six birds for 20 shots.