5 Tips for Opening Day of Dove Season

The best day of the year is almost here! Opening day of dove season in Colorado is upon us and we couldn’t be more excited to kick off another great season here at Longmeadow. While most clubs and game resorts (including ourselves), have been fully booked for opening day for months now, we still want to remind everyone that there will be plenty of opportunities to get out there and bag some birds in the weeks to come. We also thought that it would be helpful to provide our hunters with some tips on how to make the most out of their opening day hunts this year, so without further adieu, let’s dive into it!

Book Your Hunt Early:

Like we said, when it comes to Colorado dove hunting, opening day is the main event that you don’t want to miss. While hunts later into dove season are still a blast, there’s just something special about the magic of opening day/weekend. For us, slots typically fill up by mid-July, so if you’re hoping to bring down any birds in that first wave, then you best get your reservations made as early as possible. In this case you could say that the early bird gets the most birds!

Clean Your Gun:

When was the last time you touched your dove gun? If the answer to that question is, “not since last season ended”, then you will definitely want to break that baby out and give her a good once over. Even a minute speckling of rust can cause problems in the field, so it’s best to break it down and make sure everything is in order. You’ll want to lightly grease the threads, clean the barrel, and make sure that the choke tubes come out easily. It’s also a good idea to take the gun apart and thoroughly clean the action.

Pick a Pattern That Works for You:

While doves are relatively small targets, they can carry more shot than most people realize. A good rule of thumb is that your gun should shoot roughly 200 pellets into a 30in circle. Another major thing to consider when choosing the right pattern is what distance works best for you. Most hunters’ comfort zone is right around 30 yards, but you’ll want to spend some time at the range zeroing in on exactly what distance and pattern work best for you. Basically, if you’re a 30-yard shooter, a gun and pattern tuned to 45-yards is only going to make things that much harder. Trust us when we tell you that finding the right pattern for you will make a world of difference when opening day rolls around.

Be Patient and Pick the Right Shot:

We know that it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of opening day and try to blast every shadow that passes overhead, but it really does pay to pick your shots more carefully. The best dove hunters are the ones that know how to pick their shots. By no means do you need to horde your ammo and pass on half the birds that fly by, but again, doves are small, fast-moving targets, and sometimes it can be in your best interest to pass on some of those longer shots. If you do miss one however, don’t worry too much as another will be sure to come along in no time. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more time you’re spending looking for downed doves, the less time you have to shoot at the ones in the air. When you down a dove go directly to it, pick it up and go back to hunting. While it is tempting to keep blasting you will spend far more time looking for multiple birds and oftentimes you will end up over your limit.

Practice Makes Perfect:

We know, we know…it’s a bit cliche, but when it comes down to it practice really is the number one thing that will help you bag more birds while you’re out in the field. A few rounds of sporting clays is sure to help get you in peak performance for the season to come, and luckily here at Longmeadow we run our clays courses year round. Shooting from a low gun start on the clays course will help get you prepped for the doves, but it’s important to focus on the following to help ease the transition from clays to feathers; keep your head on the stock, eye on the target, and do your best to match the dove’s speed. Make sure to look at the bird, not the bead, and don’t move your gun too fast. If you can keep all of this in mind while on the course, then you’ll be hitting those daily bag limits in no time!

Longmeadow Clays Club

With fall almost upon us and opening day/weekend just around the corner, we hope these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your next Colorado dove hunt. While we’re booked solid for dove for the next week or so, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still time to make it out to Longmeadow for some great hunts in the weeks to come. If you are interested in scheduling a hunt with us then don’t hesitate to shoot us an email or give us a call today. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you out in the field!

A special thanks to the folks over a Field & Stream!

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