Texas Dove Hunting Starts Again!

September 1st is almost a national holiday in Texas.  It always marks the beginning of Texas dove hunting and then follows with all of the other bird hunting seasons in Texas.  We are very fortunate to have a wide variety of winged friends in Texas.  We are especially lucky in Central Texas because the white winged dove roosts in our area most of the year.  We almost always have a tremendous dove hunting season in Central Texas.

Invasive Ring Necked Doves

White Ring Neck Dove with Red Blood after Hunting Invasive Doves in Texas
Hunting Invasive Doves in Texas
Eurasian collared doves (ECDs) area also known as ring necked doves.  They are an invasive, non-native species and just like pigeons, there is no season or limit.  They behave very much like pigeons – much more so than doves – and can be found in singles and large flocks around areas where there is loose grain.  Although there is no season on eurasian collared doves like there is for Texas dove hunting for white wing or mourning doves.  They are easily confused with white wing and mourning doves.  So, if you do hunt them out of season, be sure of your shot because the fines and penalties for hunting migratory birds out of season are very stiff!

Morning Goose Hunt in North Texas

Brown, White and Black Canada Goose Decoys on Red Sand for Texas Waterfowl Hunt Sunrise
Texas Waterfowl Hunt Sunrise
Texas is fortunate to be the winter resting ground for hundreds of thousands of Canada Geese and Texas Waterfowl hunting is one of our best kept secrets.  While they can be found as far South as Mexico, they are typically most numerous in the panhandle region of Texas.  The Lubbock and Amarillo area have sections of farming ground with wheat, corn and peanuts that keep the Texas waterfowl hunting going strong throughout the entire season.
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Texas Pigeon Hunting

Pigeon Hunt Sunrise of Orange Sunrise with Yellow corn stalks and Red dirt
Pigeon Hunt Sunrise
I LOVE hunting pigeons.  They are tough, fast and smart and make a very worthy foe.  They are not like Texas dove hunting.  I prefer to hunt pigeons in a scouted area where they leave their town roosts to feed during the day.  There are a variety of pigeon decoys available but numerous ground decoy socks and a couple of wind driven decoys is all it usually takes.  When the pigeons want into your location to feed, they are going to come and then keep coming.  There is no season or limit on pigeons, nor are there any load restrictions. So, take out your plug and grab your magazine extension.  If the pigs are flying, you’ll need the extra shots!

Big Pigeon Harvest

445 Grey Pigeons on Red Sand Texas Pigeon Hunt Results
Texas Pigeon Hunt Results
A typical pigeon hunt with well decoyed pigeons can result in as many as 200 birds harvested in a couple hours.  This was a spectacular hunt with three shooters and an endless supply of pigeons and occurred over 90 minutes of shooting time.  Thanks Brian!

My New Duck Hunting Pond

Little Texas Duck Pond of brown muddy water in brown muddy ground
Little Texas Duck Pond
I farm a little in my off season between March and August.  I had some extra time and a new tractor so I decided to dig a duck pond in my back yard.  I had to promise my wife that I wouldn’t hunt it and I’m OK with that.  We have some wood ducks in the area and it would be nice to see them during the off season.  I’d also be pleased of the doves discovered the water hole as well.  I figure that a bit of practice on the doves with a pellet gun will sharpen my skills in the field with my 28 ga.  Nevertheless, it was fun digging the pond – now if it will only hold water – I’ll be ready for Texas duck hunting!

Cool Texas Dove Hunting Dog

Orange and White Dog in Blue Plastic Tub after Hot Texas Dove Hunting
Hot Texas Dove Hunting
September 1st starts Texas Dove Hunting and it is still very hot.  I’ve seen many casual hunting dogs come out to the field and get hurt really bad by the heat.  I make it a practice to take a small dog bath and fill it with water from my truck’s 15 gallon water tank each time I hunt with my dog.  This immersion in water, especially on her belly and paws, goes a long way to keeping my dog healthy, cool and performing on both ends of the day. Texas duck hunting provides more than enough water and cold weather to keep my buddy cool and performing.

Open Field Dove Hunting

Open Field with Green Grass and Blue Sky Hunting Texas Mourning Doves
Open Field Hunting Texas Mourning Doves
Texas has a wide variety of landscapes and our doves and ducks can be found in almost all of them.  I especially enjoy open field hunting for white wing and mourning doves because I can watch their antics for longer.  It also gives the doves an opportunity to see me and provide tougher shots.  I’ve come to understand that the biggest joy of Texas dove hunting is making the occasional spectacular shot.  My goal is not to fill my bag with a limit.  My goal is to have as many tough shots as possible and only have to quit when I reach the limit.  Yeah, I burn more shells but I also make more shots that I remember for man many years.

Sunrise Dove Hunt in the Texas Brush

Texas Whitewing Dove Hunting
Green grass pasture with light blue sky in background Whitewing Dove Hunting
I also like an early morning mourning dove hunt in the Texas brush.  The little grey rockets come zipping right at the tree tops and every shot is a reaction shot in poor light.  Fair warning though, don’t attempt this unless you have a good dog.  Trying to find the ones you hit in thick brush right at daylight can be more than a little challenge! Texas dove hunting for mourning doves is a tough sport!

Summary of Texas Dove Hunting Starts Again

Texas Dove hunting has started and Texas duck hunting is only a few weeks away. There is an abundance of pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves in Texas.  They are both invasive species and there are no limits or seasons to hunt them. We’re fortunate to winter many thousands of geese and a morning sunrise over goose decoys is something to behold. Texas dove hunting is hot and keeping your dog cool in a water tank or bath will help your friend keep working for you on both ends of the day.  The terrain available in Texas for dove hunting is spectacular and the choices are rich.

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Texas Dove Hunting and The Heat!

Texas dove hunting is almost a national sport in the state of Texas.  We start looking forward to it about mid July.  Yeah, it’s still hot out there but we don’t mind.  It’s always amazing to see how many people get out for opening day – especially the kids who can look forward to a day out of school if their parents are hunters.  Texas dove hunting is not something that you’d want to miss if you’re a hunter!

 

 

 

Texas Dove Hunting in the Early Morning

Texas dove hunting in Green fields and blue sky with grey and white mojo dove spinners
Cool green fields are very inviting for early morning bird hunting in Texas.

Almost all of the fields look great early in the morning – cool, green and inviting for the migrating whitewing and mourning doves in the area.  We are blessed in Central Texas for Texas dove hunting to have a year-round population of white wing doves to watch and monitor during the off season.  Mojo spinning wing decoys continue to work well for us.  Sometimes, if your patient, the doves will actually land right at the decoy!

 

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Staying Cool While Texas Dove Hunting

Orange and White dog sits in blue bath container to cool off.
Little Dog cools off in her own doggy bath during a hot Texas dove hunt.

The summer heat still persists in Texas during September and keeping a dog cool while Texas bird hunting can be a challenge.  The easy approach is hunt near water where the birds come to drink.  I prefer to have more options and hunt longer so I tend to hunt fields without water and bring my own water.  I’ve repurposed a discount doggy bath as a portable water trough for my dog and I keep it filled next to the truck for drinking and cooling off.  I also make sure that she is in very good condition when the season starts.  I’ve sen too many fat, out of shape dogs get heat stroke during Texas dove hunting season.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dry Fields = Texas Bird Hunting

Dry Brown Grass Field used for Texas Bird Hunting
Hot, dry short grass fields are sometimes good locations for Texas bird hunting.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself Texas dove hunting in parched, brown, dry fields.  Don’t be fooled.  There are many many seeds laying on the ground and white wing and mourning doves are very opportunistic feeders.  Some scouting late in the evening or early morning will give you your best clues as to where the birds are to hunt in Texas.

 

 

 

Texas Bird Hunting Buddy

Orange and White Brittany holding Whitewing Dove
Little Dog finds retrieving dove hot, thirsty work in September!

No matter what, Texas dove hunting with your best friend is always the best.  My best friend for hunting is my dog – and she works like crazy to make sure that we collect every bird we hunt – no matter how hot it is.  Doves have a ton of feathers and getting a mouthful of air around all those feathers can be a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of Texas Dove Hunting

Texas dove hunting is an eagerly awaited sport for many thousands of Texas hunters.  Mornings bring cool, green inviting fields and the mid morning and afternoon heat can be parching!  It’s important to stay hydrated during the heat – especially your dog!

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Argentina Dove Hunt from the Balcony

In November 2011, I had the pleasure of an Argentina dove hunt with Ramiro Allende of Puelo Expeditions.  I’ve known Ramiro for quite a few years from his visits to the United States to attend hunting trade shows.  I like Ramiro and he’s been very persuasive in his attempts to get me to hunt with him.  Finally, the opportunity came up and I said “yes!”  I’ve hunted doves in Argentina before and had a great time shooting an enormous volume of birds over 3 days.  Ramiro kept telling me that his place was different – he had “balconies”.  Yeah, I thought, what does that mean?  When I visited Argentina previously with another outfitter, the dove hunting was very much like dove hunting in South Texas – just many many more birds – but the terrain was very similar – flat lands with moderately high brush lines and open fields.  Ramiro’s place – Puelo Expeditions – was different – he has balconies!  It was an Argentina dove hunt of a lifetime!

Argentina Dove Hunt Balconies

Argentina Dove Hunter and Helpers Shooting from a Balcony of Grey Rocks
Argentina Dove Hunt Balcony

I’ve hunted doves in Texas since I was in my teens – mostly in Texas where the terrain is mostly flat with brush lines and water holes.  Ramiro has that as well if you want but he has something even more fun – balconies.  What are balconies?  Great question.  Ramiro’s family ranch in Cordoba is in a more rugged area with large hills that are as little as a couple hundred feet high to some that are several thousand feet high.  Ramiro has built shooting stations for his Argentina dove hunt with blinds are various altitudes on the sides of the hills – thus – balconies!  No matter how high the doves are flying or what you shooting skills, Ramiro can put you on the birds at an easy, close range with a horizontal shot, a moderately difficult range with a slightly elevated shot or a more difficult range with shots directly overhead of consistently beneath your feet.  The balconies are simply cleared areas on the sides of the hills are differing altitudes with convenient brush blinds.  This is something that we seldom experience in the United States – not to mention the thousands of birds that fly almost all day long.

 

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Long Range Argentina Dove Hunt

Argentina Dove Hunt Flights of Grey Doves against a Blue Sky
Argentina Dove Hunt Flights

The doves tend to fly heavier in the morning and afternoon as they migrate to and from the grain fields where they feed during the day.  Nevertheless, they will fly all day long and they will fly in numbers sufficient to shoot thousands of shells each day on your Argentina dove hunt if your shoulder and back can stand the punishment.  I used one (actually several, I wore a couple out) of Ramiro’s Beretta 20ga semi automatics and was allowed to vary the chokes as I saw fit.  I typically shoot a 28ga over/under but was very pleased with Ramiro’s weapons.  I was stunned at the performance of the 20ga with a full choke – consistently knocking birds down at greater than 40 yards.  Another advantage to shooting from a balcony is the increase in height of the birds – lends itself nicely to very long falls with very long trajectories – something we seldom see in the United States.

 

 

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High Overhead Shots from the Balconies

Argentina Dove Hunter in Camoflage Using Vertical Shots into a Blue Sky
Argentina Dove Hunt Vertical Shots

I’m a better than average shooter and enjoy the more challenging shots.  I spent time in all of the various stations sampling the variety of distances and angles that Ramiro has to offer.  My favorite spot was high overhead shots on incoming and crossing birds.  A note of caution though, this type of shooting does tend to wear you out quicker than typical horizontal shooting.  This was my favorite part of my Argentina dove hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch and a Siesta on my Argentina Dove Hunt

Four Hunters Enjoying an Argentina Dove Hunt Field Lunch
Argentina Dove Hunt Field Lunch

I’m as rugged as the next guy but I do enjoy creature comforts – and Ramiro knows how to put on a lunch spread – not to mention the fine dining each evening when we returned to the lodge.  Each day we enjoyed a delicious, freshly prepared lunch with a variety of meats, vegetable and pastries in the shade of the trees.  We followed out lunch with a little siesta but honestly, it was tough to sleep as the birds continued to fly overhead while we were resting.  I was in for a short nap to rest my muscles but I declined much sleep since I was there for an Argentina dove hunt – not siestas.

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeons on an Argentina Dove Hunt

Argentina Dove Hunt Giant Grey Speckled Pigeons
Argentina Dove Hunt Giant Pigeons

There are several varieties of pigeons that you will see during your Argentina dove hunt.  While there are specific pigeon hunts, you can also find them in among the doves.  You can easily recognize them by their size.  They are easily three to five times as big as a dove and look like an optical illusion when you see them flying amongst the other doves.  They were a little harder to kill, sometimes taking 2 rounds so Iw as quick to spot them to provide me with plenty of opportunity to knock them down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dove Hunting from the Balconies

Argentina Dove Hunter in Camoflage Vertical Shot on the Balcony with Green Trees and Grey Rocks
Argentina Dove Hunt Vertical Shot on the Balcony

The vertical shots from the middle balconies were my favorites and I found myself returning to those balconies frequently.  This was my favorite location during my Argentina dove hunt.  Ramiro’s family ranch is a rugged place but he’s done a wonderful job of building cleared areas to hunt from with easy to walk trails between them.  Again, the variety of places to shoot along with varying ranges made jhunting with Ramiro a magical adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argentina Dove Hunt Lodge

Red and Silver Argentina Dove Hunt Lodge
Argentina Dove Hunt Lodge

No matter what, you do need a place to sleep and eat during your Argentina dove hunt and Ramiro sets a new standard.  I’ve stayed in some very nice lodges before.  That said, staying with Ramiro was like being treat as an honored guest in his home.  The lodge where we stayed was immaculate and nestled in among a large grove of trees with small creeks running throughout the property.  The meals were top notch, the scenery was beautiful and relaxing and the service was impeccable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of an Argentina Dove Hunt from the Balconies

An Argentina dove hunt from the balconies was a very unique and tremendously enjoyable experience.  You can easily shoot several thousand rounds during a single day and having a variety of places to see and shoot from adds a spice to a dove hunt that I’ve never experienced before.  Ramiro has built balconies at many different altitudes with a variety of shooting ranges and angles.  The doves are too many to count and there are occasional pigeons to spice things up.  No matter your shooting skills or attention span, Ramiro has something unique to offer.  Finally, shooting several thousands doves is hard work and staying at Ramiro’s lodge is to be treated as an honored guest in his own home.  If you’re going on an Argentina dove hunt, do yourself a favor and go with Ramiro at Puelo Expeditions.

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