September is dove hunting time - Steve Carney

I love to hunt doves. The most prolific game bird in North America is my favorite choice in the month of September as we kick off the hunting season with the first opener of the fall. Dove hunting has been around for decades in the southern United States but has only recently been implemented here in the past 10 years. Hunting doves means bringing lots of shells and planning on some exciting wingshooting. Here are some tips on harvesting doves during September.

Scout fields

If you are lucky enough to gain access to any grain field, consider yourself fortunate. Grain fields such as wheat and oats are few and far between in most of Minnesota because it’s all about soybeans and corn. The far northwestern part of Minnesota has the most grain fields as do South Dakota and North Dakota.

When I gain permission to hunt a harvested grain field, I spend a good half day observing the field and watching the flying patterns of the doves.

Doves have a tendency to enter and exit grain fields from specific directions. This can change from day to day as the weather, winds and temperatures change.

Decoys

I utilize a few spinning wing decoys along with some ground feeders which imitate doves eating seeds on the ground. Decoys, however, can be very overrated as too many hunters rely on a big decoy spread for doves when it’s more about being situated in the right area of the field. If you have watched the doves as they enter, one spinning wing decoy works well as long as you have scouted the best edges and entry points.

September is the month for doves as they are early migrants and are the first game bird to leave the state in search of warmer climates. Get ‘em while you can.

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