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Mar 25th, 2012
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Advice for new Dove hunter #5247742 08/11/14 10:40 PM
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KevinB Offline OP
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Hello all. Been a lurker for a while and I need some advice.

I'm hoping to get some friendly advice. Long story short. I've never hunted except for trying to shoot rabbits on my aunts farm while I was a teen. Last year at the age of 42, my 12 year old daughter comes to me and tells me she wants to start hunting. I think its a phase and will pass, but it doesn't. So last Christmas we get a couple of shotguns and have been learning to shoot by heading out to the clay target range. We took hunter education and are going to try our first dove hunt next month. Which leads me to my next question. Advice on where to hunt?

1. Annual public hunting permit leased lands
We are going to get the Annual hunting permit. But I think I want to avoid that for the opening week and maybe give it a go after the crowds are gone. Do new waves of birds return to these fields after they get shot out opening week?

2. Day or season passes I see on craigslist, this site, and others.
So I see things like doveblasters, bandofbrotherstx and other various post. Some offering day passes, some season passes. Some relatively small acreage and some very large/multiple fields. I think I would like a season pass because I like to be able to go multiple occasions. Some are more expensive than others. Doveblasters is pricier but closer to the metroplex. Are these type organizations worthwhile? I fully recognize that no one can predict what the bird populations will be and I know weather patterns can bring in new waves of birds.

3. Public hunting lands (primarily thinking LBJ grasslands Decatur)
Probably the option I'm least interested but want to keep it as an option. Thoughts here?

I think I'm leaning towards option 2, but wanted some advice first.

Thanks
Kevin




Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5247790 08/11/14 11:00 PM
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sling Offline
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Welcome to the forum Kevin!

I have no experience with the outfits that you list...but I do know about a place in south east collin county. It might be a drive for you but it's very reasonable for the fields available, and I had successful hunts out there from start to finish in the first leg of the season, and reasonably good results the first few days of the winter leg.

Here's a link to their craigslist ad:

http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/spo/4588978707.html

Where ever you decide to go, have fun with that young lady of yours!

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5247918 08/11/14 11:51 PM
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Hi Kevin,

I am 32 years old and I just started bird hunting this year. I would suggest that you go on a paid hunt for opening day. Dove hunting is one of the best hunts you can get someone who has never hunted before interested in. You can talk to each other and you don't have to worry about looking bad because everyone will be missing those fast flying birds. If money is a issue, there are some great guides out there, just tell them that you would like to take your little girl hunting for the first time, and I am sure most will be probably give you some kind of discount. If you have a 12 gauge, you can get some cheap 1oz load with number 7.5 or 8 shot. Your factory choke is probably a modified so that will work. Just make sure you get your license and have your shotgun plugs, because the Game Warden will for surely be out on open day.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5247930 08/11/14 11:57 PM
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Public land can be fun after the first week of dove season, when most of the early hunters get tired of the heat and mosquitoes. I have a public spot 5 minutes from my house that I hunt when I don't have time to hit my private land. I didn't shoot limits and limits off of it last year, but it was damn sure worth the $40 permit. Whatever you decide, good luck and have fun!


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5247944 08/12/14 12:04 AM
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Welcome banana


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5248187 08/12/14 02:21 AM
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Wev will offer half day hunts at $50 for afternoon. Dove count is good now and one never knows. We do not have dove crops and we are a nice, and easy place to bring a youngster.


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5248460 08/12/14 04:34 AM
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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5248511 08/12/14 05:28 AM
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Before laying down a bunch of money for a lease close to the metro, they didn't have many birds last year. Year before tons of birds but last year stunk for my buddy who paid the $500... Ouch... I have gone with the cheaper leases and results stunk so I don't do that anymore. I kill plenty at my pond on the deer lease. I go west for a field hunt now by Abilene.

I would go with a day hunt with an outfitter on here who will let you know if they have birds or not. Many are close to DFW and great guys. As the saying goes, birds here today will be gone tomorrow.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5248886 08/12/14 02:31 PM
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Last year was my first year and i had NO IDEA what i was doing. I just bought the APH and went for it. Opening day I realized i didn't even know what dove look like when they're flying. I would suggest going on 1 guided half day hunt if you can afford it. That way when you go out by yourselves you halfway know what you're doing. I live in Houston and the public lands were good enough for me because i didn't have the $250 to get on a lease anywhere.

Bottom line is pay for what you can afford and have fun. After all its not that hard, you just go sit out there and shoot at them =)

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5248911 08/12/14 02:44 PM
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Save the money of buying onto the DFW leases, they're typically way overcrowded and are shot out by mid September. That's not the environment y'all want to start off in. Find one of the local guides and get set up on a hunt, to be honest I would probably do it on a weekday after opening weekend if it's possible. Odds are y'all will be alone or at most have a few people in the field with you so the guide can spend a little time helping you out. Talk to the guide beforehand and let him know the situation, some of them are only good for showing you the gate then taking your money and you need one who will sit down with you guys and walk you through it, talk strategy, shooting tips, etc etc. I'm in McKinney and if I snag a field out this way you're more than welcome to come out sometime after the opener.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: Ramball36] #5249007 08/12/14 03:38 PM
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Not only will the public spots be crowded, unless you know the flyways, the veterans will get most of the good spots. Also, public will be completely blown out the first week.

I would look for some day hunts and if you can book them during the week you might be able to same some dough. Traveling to Uvalde, Hondo, Brownwood and the outlying areas should be good areas. Not familiar with the Dallas area.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249025 08/12/14 03:48 PM
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Thanks for all the advice guys.

Sling. That's one of the leases I've actually considered. I might give it a harder look. I think it would be about an hour to hour and half drive from my house.

Ramball I didn't realize their were guided dove hunts so that is an option I might look at. I would definitely take you up on your offer to join you after opening day if it works out for you. I'll PM you.

Andrew. How did your first year turn out and what are some of the biggest lessons you learned going into this year?

Keep the advice coming guys. What I really want to avoid is a scenario were we head out somewhere and don't see any birds to shoot at. We probably won't hit many, but I at least want her the opportunity to try. I think most people who hunt started as a child with there father and slowly learned along the way. Its pretty intimidating for and adult with no experience to try to get into it.


Kevin

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249099 08/12/14 04:27 PM
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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249146 08/12/14 04:57 PM
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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: JHeflinland] #5249156 08/12/14 05:02 PM
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Don't forget to pick up a dove whistle. bolt

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249158 08/12/14 05:02 PM
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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249244 08/12/14 05:32 PM
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Shooting clays is a great start. It doesn't always translate to success in the field, but it will help - the more the better. Get a mojo dove ($29 Academy or Wal-Mart); that will slow some down and draw them closer to you. I would use a more open choke- skeet or improved cylinder. As a newbie you're not going to be taking the shots where a modified choke would matter. (If you are in the situation where you need a modified, it's going to be a long day...)

I have done several of the local hunts over the years:
-Season lease in Allen area
-Tresury building area off Blue Mound road in North Fort Worth
-Coit and Rolater in McKinney (what?!). If you get bored you can watch the joggers, cyclists, or the school parking lot.

The problem with these local deals is they are jam packed on opening day, but soon thereafter the birds are gone. You will see very few people on subsequent hunts (ie season pass) because there are not enough birds to warrant the trip. YMMV, as always.

I went on a great guided hunt in Henrietta a few years ago with Lone Star Hunts. You will get peppered plenty by other hunters. You will limit early, which means you'll be eating a steak around 10 in the morning. Snake boots advised.

I've acquiesced to the fact that dove are mostly in the flyway (migration route). There are always exceptions (local birds). We've had some great hunts in Stamford, Haskell, Coleman, Goldthwaite. We usually pay between $25 and $50 for unguided hunts and have plenty of room to ourselves. I've had two separate landowners say "if you don't see birds, don't pay." (We paid both times as the birds were as advertised.) The gas wipes out some of the savings, and if you get far enough out you need a hotel to boot. Personally I just don't enjoy seeing a paved road from where I'm shooting, and I have no trust for hunting around people I don't know.

I usually find that I am happy to do 1-2 great hunts a year as opposed to half a dozen mediocre outings. If you want to hunt more frequently, then driving 2-3 hours won't be practical.

One time I called a guy where I had a local season lease and inquired about alternatives because the season opener spot was wiped out. The guy proceeded to tell me about a great field he had added where the action was hot and members were getting quick limits. The guy never bothered to tell all his members about the great new spot- just the ones that complained. Worst marketer I have ever seen; no concept of customer service or repeat business.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249507 08/12/14 08:06 PM
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Kevin,

Ya know what you said was near and dear to my heart. Listen to these guys on here cause I have read through their comments and they have great advice. (besides the whistle LOL LOL)

I grew up in TN and everyone hunted there. As a kid I saw their dads passing on information and sharing in experience with their kids. I asked my father to learn how to hunt with me. his response was "I'm not into that". I never learned to hunt as a kid and couldnt find anyone to support me. My father is dead now and we didnt have much of a relationship. I swore I would never let that happen with my kids.
Several years ago I began the journey of teaching my self to hunt. A lot of reading, questions, forums like this, friends etc. I am still learning lol. My daughters wanted to share the experience with me and I wanted to pass down information they can give to thier kids. It wasnt about killing, eating, etc. It was about being outside (which we love) and spending time together. I assume its similar with your daughter. Now all my family go with me on hunts throughout the year. My wife and my kids (only one of them has a gun to hunt).

Whats my point to saying all of this? You don't have to spend 1000's of dollars to do this with your child. You may get some you may not but you both will have memories etc to last your lives. Its thrilling to accomplish taking game home but there will be days you won't see a bird even on the best spots. Just enjoy it. That being said, I hope yall have a great year. I'll offer up what I know and what I can. Take your daughter hunting often. smile

Advice,
Buy a mojo
Do some scouting (look in dead trees for dove)
Learn what dove eat and get by the food or water in the area.
Watch how dove fly so you can start to identify them in flight from other birds
Find some private land if you can.

I did the APH my first year and lived out near where you are. I wasn't impressed. I have never used a guide or a lease. From what I heard they are overcrowded.


Good Luck.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5249702 08/12/14 10:03 PM
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All i have to say is.. Youre a good dad.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5250339 08/13/14 04:52 AM
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I always hunt dove on APH land. The opening day is the most productive one for me. But it took me 2 seasons to figure out where to hunt and how to hunt. The opening weekend is always overcrowd. It may not be a good choice for a new hunter, esp. with kids. Private land may be a good start. Since you can focus on hunt more than people around you.

Dove likes to fly from tree to tree. They more love to fly over the gap on the treeline. If this gap links two open area, then, I won't miss this spot for sure. I call it dove highway.

Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5250998 08/13/14 05:54 PM
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There is some public land around the lakes that have birds, there are also several leases near dfw that you can get on (including ours). The thing to remember is that doves are migratory, you will see some every day, but if they are migrating thorough the area, you will see more. The key is to find the right habitat (crops, water etc) that will make dove want to visit that area and scout heavily. Any property will have areas that hold more dove than others and you wont figure that out in a day.

I would also recommend booking a duck hunt, especially teal, its very fun to call them in to you and in the early season, its way more comfortable for kids.


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5252821 08/14/14 04:38 PM
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Hunted with Jerry many times.
Try him.

http://www.bestdovehunts.com/




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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5252835 08/14/14 04:43 PM
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My little advice is buy 3 times more shells than you think you might need! Lol welcome HAPPY HUNTIN


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5253325 08/14/14 08:44 PM
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get a mojo or two, some clip on decoy's, a seat for each hunter, water while hunting for you and your dog if you have one or three like me, find a shade tree and have fun,
good luck


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Re: Advice for new Dove hunter [Re: KevinB] #5253332 08/14/14 08:46 PM
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Make your ammo about ten too one over your beer another words buy a crap load of shells , i am the one bird per box shooter .

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