Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dove and Quail Hunts Headline Small Game Season

Quail over Doves after a day of hunting

The last two weeks of December is the final stretch run for deer hunters, but for many woodsmen their outdoors attention has already turned away from white-tailed deer and towards bird hunting. Quail season starts at Thanksgiving each year and presently coincides with the third and final section of dove season, giving wingshooters plenty of game. Whether you use a 20-gauge double gun or an automatic 12-gauge, it’s time to locate your shotgun shells and knock the proverbial rust off of your aim.
The third and final section of dove season runs from December 13 to January 15, and late season doves usually offer a more challenging target. That’s because winter doves are more likely to be migratory birds that have been shot at in other locales or states as they move South. These doves might be a bit larger in size and hardier too, but they also have enough sense to stay high and fly fast in order to avoid falling into the harvest plans of so many hunters.
Good Dove Shooting Knowledge Right Here
Dove season reports were mixed in the early season with some dove fields producing plenty of limits, or 15 doves per day per gun, while other fields saw a decline in traditional dove numbers. The Thanksgiving dove season benefited from colder weather and reports seemed to surge, and while not everyone was scoring a full limit, there was lots of shooting and opportunity that made many hunts a success.

Of course dove fields attract other wildlife too, and not all of it is legal to hunt. Hawks, blackbirds, bluebirds and more can set up shop in a dove field, and their aerial displays and bird calls give everyone a greater appreciation for all creatures. One gamebird that may show up where dove field management is practiced is the bobwhite quail. Once very common along the hedgerows and field borders of the Lowcountry, quail are quietly making a bit of a comeback in areas where they occurred historically.

If your hunting luck is running really strong, hunting both doves and quail during the same day is indeed a possibility. It takes some imagination to make this sporting wish a reality, but I’d suggest trying for quail in the morning when the outside air is at its coolest. Then set up in a dove field for the afternoon, sitting in either sun or shade depending on the weather, while waiting on a shooting opportunity. Even if this rare sporting combo produces just a few birds of each species in your bag, it’s pairing that I think can become sustainable in the future.

To read this feature article in the newspaper click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about late season doves hunts click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.