4 Essential Tips for a Successful Dove Hunting Season in Texas

June 21, 2023

The inescapable summer heat has set in which reminds all outdoor lovin’ Texans that the start of dove season is nigh. Dove hunting by nature is a social sport, with friends and family getting together, sharing jokes, and cracking open a few cold ones. Opening weekend is a big to-do for the thousands of families that celebrate, often starting with a hearty hunter’s breakfast and ending with an open flame dancing around some bacon-wrapped jalapeno dove poppers. Delicious.

As September 1 approaches, it’s time to gear up, fine-tune your skills, and get ready for an unforgettable start to the fall hunting season. From the vast open fields to the camaraderie of fellow sportsmen and women, dove hunting offers an unforgettable experience that captures the spirit of the Lone Star State.

To help you make the most of your time in the field, we’ve put together a list of essential tips for a successful dove hunting season. So, grab your shotgun, load up your gear, and let’s get into it.

Scout Early, Scout Often:

Increase your chances of a successful hunt by scouting the hunting area well in advance. Doves are highly mobile birds, and their feeding and roosting patterns can change throughout the season. Look for signs of dove activity like flock movements, roosting spots, and feeding and watering areas. Spend time observing their flight paths and behavior or even setup a game camera to monitor movements and patterns.

Practice Your Shooting Skills:

Before opening day, practice your shooting skills to increase your accuracy and reaction time. Set up a mock range and simulate different hunting scenarios or get some friends together to throw some clays. (We’ll be hosting a few sporting clay shoots on a protected ranch so make sure to keep your eyes peeled to our event calendar for upcoming events.)

Work on mounting your shotgun quickly, acquiring targets, and leading your shots to prepare for those fast-moving doves. Regular practice will boost your confidence, build muscle memory, and make those split-second decisions in the field much easier.

Food Plots and Supplemental Feeding:

To increase your chances of attracting doves to your hunting area, consider establishing food plots and providing supplemental food sources. Even if you have just a few acres, planting crops like sunflowers, millet, wheat, or sorghum can create attractive feeding areas for doves. Look for planting areas that have plenty of sunlight and that are adjacent to a wooded area with mature trees for roosting. Ideally, choose a location with a nearby water source like a pond, lake, livestock water trough, or stream. The water source likely to attract the most dove is one located between a feeding area with abundant seeding plants and a roost site.

Prepare Your Dog for the Hunt:

September in Texas does not always mean cool, fall weather, so preparing your dog for rigorous warm-weather activity is all about exercise and moderation. Before hitting the field, make sure your dog is in good physical condition by implementing an exercise training regimen. The months leading up to opening day are the hottest of the year, so think early morning or late in the evening to beat the midday heat.

Just like us, as our dogs age, their metabolism slows, so keep your dog at a healthy weight to ensure they can remain active for years to come.

While a successful harvest is always a satisfying reward, dove hunting is about more than just the number of birds you bring home. It’s a chance to embrace the sights and sounds of the field, forge bonds with friends and family, and create lasting memories while appreciating the magnificent Texas landscape. See you in the field.