Mourning dove love: Get the jump on hunting by scoping out hotspots right now
During this time of the summer I spend a lot of time scouting deer. Instead of blindly tramping through the woods like I do during the winter months, my scouting now consists of sitting behind a spotting scope watching fields. I often also try to watch water sources just to see who might be visiting them.
While I’m patiently waiting for bucks to show in the evenings I get to watch a litany of animals and birds make their way through the summer landscape and skies. Of those ancillary sightings, mourning doves hold my interest more than just about anything. If you live in a state with an early dove season, you might want to spend some time outside looking around as well.
Doves, especially those found at this time of year tend to be residents and highly patternable. If they frequent a fallow strip full of foxtail along an agricultural field now, they’ll likely feed there in a month. If they visit a pond tucked into a pasture now, they’ll likely visit there in a month. You can probably see where I’m going with this.
Additionally, many of those spots that harbor resident birds now will host migrators as they make their way through during the early fall. Granted, things can change especially when it comes to food sources (water can be very reliable), however having a milk run of quality spots can make the season much more productive.
This is important if you dove hunt private land, but can be crucial if you’re a public land hunter like I am. Most of my doves come off Uncle Sam’s ground, and without a solid plan A, B, C and so on, I’m out of luck. With a good strategy developed after plenty of dove sightings, my black Lab tends to get in a few retrieves and we tend to get a few dove breasts to wrap in bacon and grill.
That’s incentive enough for me to invest some scouting time.