Dove Hunting in Texas With Shotguns
Dove Hunting Season In Texas
Dove hunting season in Texas starts on September the first of each and every year in the Central Zone of Texas where I live, and lasts until October the twenty-third. For southern regions of Texas the season starts a bit later.
Bag limits of doves for Texas dove hunters in EVERY region are fifteen doves per day, and no one is allowed to possess more than thirty doves at one time. It is very important to note that at no time shall a hunter in any Texas region possess out of the fifteen daily limit of total doves more than four Mourning Doves, and two White Tipped Doves.
It basically comes down to this: You can't shoot more than fifteen doves in a day, and you can't have more than thirty in your possession.
Listen guys and gals, hunting and not eating your kill is stupid. If you knock down fifteen doves—clean them, cook them, and eat them that night. Then the next day you are good to go after it again at will. If you kill fifteen doves one day and then fifteen the next—hey, clean the birds, freeze the meat, and give it to someone that wants to eat it.
If you want to increase the levels of appreciation for hunting, you've got to spread the love around and feed some people. If you are good at dove hunting, don't be greedy. Give some dove away and go hunt some more dove. It's up to we-the-people to preserve our rights under this corruption of a US government. Nobody is interested except for us hunters in preserving the rights that government did not give us—GOD gave us, the right to bear arms and be free persons in the USA.
Texas Dove Hunting
Shotguns and Loads
What makes dove hunting such an attractive sport for hunters is that doves are rather fast and difficult to hit. When choosing a gun to go dove hunting, any shotgun will do, and you should only use your personal budget and your skill level for shooting decide for you what to use.
I have personally always used a twenty gauge shotgun dove hunting, and I've always used just a single shot shotgun at that. I'm not bragging, I'm only saying that a single shot for a kill requires me as a hunter to be on my toes - there's absolutely no chance at all that I'll be able to re load and fire again before the doves that I'd just fired at are out of the area. The only possible way for me to go one level up for the challenge would be for me (or anyone) to go down a gauge to a 410 gauge single shot shotgun.
So basically, if you have very poor shooting skills, or you are, in fact, desperate to feed yourself on dove meat - then a semi auto twelve gauge is the gun for you. I personally would consider using either a pump action twelve gauge, or my bolt action twelve gauge for dove hunting, as I've not been hunting in a while, and my skills are bound to be rusty.
Number 8 Birdshot Shotgun Shell
So far as loads are concerned I would only use number eight bird shot for dove hunting. It only takes a couple or even one well aimed (lucky!) pellet to down a dove, and there are so many pellets in a number eight bird shot round that a well placed shot within range will always be sufficient. I'm not able to speak for the strength of anyone's shoulder, but it's plain to see that high powered rounds are going to have more and hotter powder, and much more of a kick, and especially in larger gauges like a sixteen gauge or a twelve gauge.
A Synthetic Rubber Pad For a Shotgun
I started dove hunting when I was just twelve years old, and I was hunting then with my Harrington and Richardson single shot twenty gauge - the same one I'd most likely use today. I was a rather small young man at twelve years, but you wouldn't have been able to tell me that I shouldn't use the high powered rounds. I wound up having to purchase a rubber cushion for my gun, and the thing lasted for over twenty years. I'm certain that I'm such a tough buzzard now that I'd no longer need such a thing.
A Nice Semi-Auto Twelve-Gauge Shotgun
A Single-Shot 410 Gauge Shotgun—For Youths or Superior Dove Hunters
Clothing and Dove Hunting
In order to understand dove hunting one must understand doves. Doves are seed eating birds, and they have keen eyesight that allows them to spy hunters from above. Concealment, then, is the key thing in dove hunting. The best spots to be in are just under a small rise with a view to an open pasture, and the best clothes to wear are all camouflage.
Dove hunters wishing themselves any degree of success must be out and in position for the hunt before dawn. Doves roost at night in trees, and then right around dawn will fly from their roosts towards an open pasture to feed all day - so daybreak is the best time of day to hunt for doves. Open fields or meadows are preferable to bush land as doves do not have strong legs, and prefer areas to feed where they do not have obstacles to get around, scouting out a place for the hunt the evening before hunting in an unfamiliar territory is a must. Be assured that doves aren't brainless birds, and after hunters have made their presence well known with loud shotgun blasts, the birds will find another place to be.
Binoculars are very useful! Camouflage is a must!
Lastly, after the morning hunt period is done, the next best time to hunt doves is after three p.m., when the doves will seek to roost in the trees for a break from the sun. Weather conditions and other factors, including other hunters, will affect dove behavior.
The best hunters always scout out the hunt area and follow dove behavior in the area before hunting the next day. I well realize that this isn't always feasible due to economics and time constraints.
I hope these basic tips have been useful to you, and happy hunting!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Is lead shot legal for hunting doves in Texas?
Yes, it is currently legal, but I believe the laws change next year. So it is legal in 2018. In 2019, if my understanding is correct, it no longer will be.Helpful 3