Is your shotgun sitting in the corner of the safe calling your name? Is your bird dog getting antsy by the door? This time of year, everyone is counting down the days to September 1st. Some consider this a national holiday. Thousands will suddenly be sick and miss work to meet their tasty dinner. Don’t let this day be a disappointment. With a few weeks before the beloved dove opener, you can be ready to take down the tasty birds from the sky with a few tips below.
Is your gun ready to go? Is it cleaned and in good working order? Did you stick it in the safe last year and not look at it again? Give it a good cleaning and make sure your chokes are clean too. Are the O rings and springs good to go? Do you have extra parts just in case something breaks?
Once cleaned and ready, take it out with your ammo and pattern it on a piece of cardboard at different distances. In California, we have to use nonlead shot. It does pattern different than lead so seeing what happens to the specific shot you’re using is important.
Now that you have your gun ready, what else goes with you? What’s in your pack? Do you have gloves, bags/ice chest for the dove, decoys and batteries, chair? I had to throw my chair away last year due to some age. Part of my dove hunting gear is the Girls with Guns Highland Vest. In this California heat (it can be over 100 degrees where I hunt) the vest is minimal on the shoulders but supportive. The huge back pocket lets me keep a lot of birds and the front pockets are perfect for a box of shells on one side (or both) and a water bottle in the other. Also, keep a good trauma kit on you. You never know when you’ll need it miles from any help.
In addition to the Highland Vest, I also wear the Highland Pants. Walking in predawn hours to my spot the weeds are tall and damp with dew. The pants repel water droplets and the reinforced front panel keeps my legs free from stickers and pokies. I’m able to move freely in them from sitting to standing and walking quite easily. Pockets are great for my wallet and license or extra shells and choke tubes.
Finally, are you ready? Have you taken your gun out and practiced on some clay targets? Are you hydrated and ready to spend a full day in the sun? Do you have adequate eye protection from looking into the sun for those tasty birds? I wear Hunter HD Gold glasses. They’re made for hunting and will lighten the predawn and dusk lighting for you. No need to go from clear to dark shooting lenses. Do you have ear protection that doesn’t get in the way of the shotgun? Do you have snacks?
And lastly, don’t forget your hunting license. Nothing will ruin an opening day like getting to your spot and watching everyone else get their limits.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.