If you’re interested in dove hunting with a bow, you should know that it’s not always as difficult as some claim. There are plenty of opportunities to nab this bird on the wing. While doves fly fast, you can take them down with the proper strategy.
Bow Hunting Doves: Technique
The secret to dove hunting with a bow is to fire while they peddle back before landing. When the dove reverses its wing direction, its flying pace slows down quite a bit. You’ll find it much easier to hit a slow moving target than one that moves quickly. The other advantage to shooting on the back peddle is that the dove has made a mental commitment to returning to the land.
The top dove hunting tactic is to use a spinning wing decoy. Doves are drawn and positioned easier than most think with a Mojo or another motorized dove decoy. Doves prefer to land while moving toward gusts of wind. This little tidbit will be critical in the positioning of your dove decoy.
Hunting at Night by the Water
If you decide to bow hunt in the evening, it’s important to position yourself by the water. Doves typically visit water holes around dusk. You can spot these holes by the circle of dirt around the edge, along with minimal vegetation near the water. Position your decoy at a considerable height so that doves can see it from afar and modify their course to land nearby. Some will even back peddle toward the ground within a few yards of your position. You should have numerous opportunities at a good shot.
Taking to the Field
Dove hunting in a field can be a bit more challenging. Make a careful observation of the field to identify the areas where doves enjoy feeding. This way you can position yourself by the area where the birds land. While bow hunters can shoot doves from sun up until sun down, the middle of the morning is typically the best time to hunt. If you dove hunt all day, move toward the water for the final few hours to maximize your chances.
Executing the Perfect Shot
When it comes to the actual bow shot, don’t overcomplicate things. A helpful tip is to keep as low of a profile as possible until the doves commit to back peddling toward the land. When you observe back peddling, that’s when you should take your chance to rise as quietly as possible, then draw to shoot. Take your time coming to full draw before shooting. You have a nice window of time here to get your lead right.
Some dove hunters lie on their backs with their bow settled in the stomach area before lifting for a sit up and draw. This strategy helps you stay as close to the land as possible while preventing doves from altering their routes. Some hunters even practice this technique at home so that no opportunities are wasted while out in the field.