Understanding The Reality: Why Do People Hunt Doves


Doves are known as a symbol of peace worldwide. Most residents like to watch them sing and feed them. Since they are smaller in size than pigeons it becomes easy to prey for humans as well as for other birds and animals such as eagles, hawks, and others. Doves can be seen easily in any suburban area. When hunting for doves, hunters can use shotguns and snugs and they do not have to go to some far-off places for the hunt but there are some techniques that must apply in this venture. Hunters have to camouflage them so that they are not scaring away the birds. They also need to take some precautions so that they do not hurt any pedestrians too.

Okay, but Why do people hunt doves?  However, you must be wondering whether it is legal or not. To cover the first question, well, out of various reasons the obvious one is for food. The whole process involves cleaning, cooking, proper handling, etc. Considering the second one, dove hunting is legal in almost every country, whereas, in America, there are few states which prohibit dove hunting. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons, and factors, along with other potential issues to figure out the motives behind the dove hunting.

Key Takeaways

  • Different reasons and purposes behind dove hunting based on the season and laws.
  • There are various reasons people hunt the doves such as fun sport, practice, food, and much more.
  • For hunting the doves these are the common places to look for old buildings, power lines, water tanks, and others.
  • There are two methods for cleaning the doves after the hunt.

Why Do People Hunt Doves?

There are several reasons why people hunt dove, but the main reason of all is for having fun. Let’s take this a step ahead. Picture this: the dove hunting season kicks off on September 1st, with two separate seasons that run from September 1st to October 15th, and then again from December 1st to January 15th. Now, these little doves may be smaller than pigeons, but they’ve got quite the appetite for agricultural goods like sunflower seeds, wheat, and oats. Farmers use this to their advantage, tempting the doves with their crops for a thrilling hunt. Well, to accomplish this hunting you don’t need a ton of fancy gear. They’re right in our own backyard.

Why do hunters go after doves then? Well, it’s all about honing those hunting skills. Plus, when cooked just right, these birds can turn into gourmet dinners but while dove hunting is legal in many countries, there are a few states in the USA that put some restrictions on it. States like Alaska, Maine, Vermont, and others have their own rules under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So, before you grab your shotgun, make sure you check the regulations to avoid potential disturbance.

5 Reasons for Hunting Doves

5 Reasons-for-hunting-doves
5 Reasons for hunting doves

Here are some of the major reasons that hunters and enthusiasts hunt the doves, such as:

1. To practice their shooting skills

Dove hunting starts as early as the month of September.  During this time hunters do not require much permission during the month of hunting. Dove hunting is similar to duck hunting, although, doves provide less meat to the hunters than ducks. If anyone wants to hone his shooting skill, he can do it by shooting doves.

2. Educating new hunters

Dove hunting needs very basic knowledge for hunting, so adult hunters choose dove hunting to educate their novices. To hunt doves, they will need shotguns and snugs. New hunters can easily indulge themselves in dove hunting.

3. Fun game for Many hunters

Dove hunting can be performed with camo clothing, or earth-colored clothing, a hat, and a shotgun is enough to hunt them. To hide from the doves in a secure place, only some tall bushes can play tricks.

4. Doves provide food

Doves indeed contain very small ounces of meat which are not enough for a person, although, one can shoot as many as 10 – 15 birds per day while the limit is 45 per day which is enough to feed a person. It is also considered that dove meat is tastier than duck meat.

5. Doves damage agricultural field

In some countries, it is legal to hunt as many doves as they want, because they damage the agricultural field. In America or Canada, it is legal, Americans often go to South America to hunt doves along with sightseeing.

6. Essential Tips for Dove Hunting

Essential tips for dove hunting

Hunting for the doves requires some methods, tools, and materials which are discussed below:

Tools and Materials Requires for Dove Hunting

If hunters are planning to dove hunting, they should carry some of the tools and materials with them. They are given below:

  • Shotgun shells
  • A camo clothing
  • Sunglasses for shooting in the morning and midday.
  • A grill machine

Once you gather up the tools and materials you are good to go for the hunt.

While you’re on the venture here are 3 tips to get better results from your dove hunting:

  1. The best time of the day to go for dove hunting is sunrise, and for the evening, the best time is right before dusk. Hunters have to wait to see if the doves are passing the range which is forty yards or less, then they can start shooting.
  2. Sometimes, the motion of the hunters also lures the doves, in this case, hunters can walk up to the doves to shoot them.
  3. Hunters can wear clothes to camouflage them in the environment or hunters can keep a birdhouse near them to lure the birds. Doves are also fond of sunflower seeds, wheat, and other grainy crops, which hunters can use to bait them.

10 Ideal Places for A Dove Hunt

There are some places where doves can be found easily, they are given below:

Old Buildings

Old buildings abandoned industrial areas, and towers are some of the places where doves can be found so easily. To ensure their exact locations, we can use binoculars.

Old buildings

Following a Dove

Some birds arrive at a place before any dove is there, they flap their wings as an invitation to the other doves to arrive at the place. Hunters can follow this lead to catch them.

Following a dove

Natural flight Lane

Where there are shorter trees over a big field, doves arrive there with other birds, making flight panes, hunters can follow this and start shooting them from behind the trees.

Natural flight lane

Over the fences

Doves often stand over the fences, trees by the fences are also places where doves can be found and hunters can use their aim to shoot them.

Over the fences

An open hill

Doves can be found near the open hill, hunters can easily position themselves between the hill and the ground.

An open hill

Agricultural field

Doves like agricultural seeds, sunflower seeds, corn seeds, etc. as their foods. Hunters can hunt them in agricultural areas.

Agricultural field

By water tanks

Hunters can go to water tanks, ponds where doves land for drinking water. It could be water tanks, or nearby water sources too.

By water tanks


Doves like to sit over powerlines, telephone lines, or other lines, but before aiming for this position, hunters have to be careful that they are not hitting the lines, or else, there will be uncalled accidents.


Large trees

Large and prominent trees are places where doves like to go, hunters can go there to hunt them in the late afternoon.

Large trees

Corners of a field

Corners of a field where two planes merge, doves can be found there, too, and hunters can go there to aim at them.

Corners of a field

Cleaning of Dove- After The Hunt

Once the hunting is done the next task to pull is cleaning if you plan to eat them. Doves are usually 4.5 ounces in weight and the meat of a single dove is not enough for one person, meat of 2-3 doves is needed for a person, when they are cooked properly, they make gourmet dinner.

There are two ways of cleaning the dove:

  • Plucking
  • Breast

Plucking includes cleaning the full dove with legs, although, legs have a tiny portion of meat, most of the recipes require a full dove. Breast includes cleaning the breast part from where we get most of the meat.

Steps to Clean Breasts a Dove

Here we can discuss how we can clean the breast of a dove:

  • First, we need to cut off the wings
  • Then, remove the head with scissors
  • We have to clean the breast feathers too
  • Finally, separate the breast from the bone with a knife

Steps to Clean Pluck the Dove

Here we can discuss how to clean the dove:

  • First, we need to clean the feathers from the entire body
  • Then, cut the head, wings, and legs with scissors
  • Before the final procedure it is essential to remove the yellow gland carefully
  • Finally, remove the innards, and it’s done


Is Dove Meat Safe to Eat?

Yes, dove meat is safe to eat, when it is cleaned properly making sure there is no residue of lead from the shotgun shells while they have been shot, they will make delicious meat.

Is one dove enough to eat for a person?

One dove is enough for an appetizer, but to make it a meal, you will need 3 – 4 doves at a time.

What Attracts Dove the Most?

A wide range of grains attract doves such as sunflower seed, wheat, oat, cornflower, millet, etc.

How Rare Are Doves?

Doves are not rare birds, they are very widespread birds, every year hunters harvest around 20 million doves.

Final Thoughts

As we have discussed, the hunting of the dove is gaining popularity all over the world. It is a fun sport for many in their leisure hour. Dove hunting does not require any special permission or materials, with only shotguns and snags, it is possible to hunt doves. Whether hunters are hunting at sunrise or sunset, hunters do not have to set their feet far from their home, they can easily go for this hunt in nearby locations. When cooking the meat, they can do frying, grilling, roasting, and stewing of the meat.

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