Tips and tactics: Hunting midday mourning doves delivers steady action
Last week I sat in my office working away and trying to ignore my 15-month-old Lab pup. Eventually her persistence paid off and I grabbed a backpack, stuffed a box of sixes in the front pocket, and cased my 20 gauge. I didn’t have high hopes of returning home with a limit of mourning doves, but I thought we might find a few loafers.
As we hiked the two-track to my spot a shot rang out, then another. I knew someone was in there so I skirted wide, but soon a voice called out “Can I borrow your dog?”
The hunter responsible for the shots had lost a dove in the foxtail grass so Luna and I waded in. Soon enough she found the bird and brought it to hand. The hunter, whom I had run into on the same public land before, invited Luna and I to sit with him.
He had six birds in his pile and soon we were both firing away at the random singles and doubles cruising through. It was noon and to be honest, some of the best dove hunting I’ve ever experienced in Minnesota. Two hours later the realities of paying the bills forced me to load up and bid farewell to my impromptu hunting partner.
That wasn’t my first go-round with doves in what I call “loafing spots.” It seems that just like so many birds, doves like to fill their bellies early, then locate a nice spot in the sun to soak up the rays and digest their breakfast. It’s usually not as barrel-melting fast as sunrise dove hunting can be, but midday hunts can provide steady action. Better yet, if you’re a public land dove hunter like I am, most of the competition will be long gone by the time the birds start cruising in.