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Doves will test your patience

September 02, 2011 at 01:50 PM

The State Journal-Register

If your investment strategy is taking a beating these days, there may be an opportunity to reap the benefits of supply and demand.

Dove season started Thursday. By shifting some investment capital into a manufacturer of shotgun shells, you might be able to realize significant short-term gains. According to, the average hunter harvests three doves out of every box of 25 shells.

Dove season kicks off the upland season for many hunters. Especially early in the season, dove hunting can provide fast-action relief to the lethargy of late summer.

Doves have excellent eyesight. You can improve your chances by wearing camo. Stand or sit beside something that breaks up your shape. A tree at the end of the feeding field or standing against the edge of a cornfield can keep you from being spotted when the birds start to circle a feeding area or water hole.

Don’t move or shoulder your shotgun until doves get within range. Any movement may cause the birds to veer away. An effective shooting range for most shotgunners is 25 to 30 yards. If you’re not comfortable taking a shot at that distance, wait for birds to come in closer. Your shooting percentage may improve when you stop taking shots that you can’t hit.

A surefire way to increase your percentage is to find all the doves you knock down. When you have a bird down, don’t take your eyes off the spot where it went down. Move directly to the spot you have marked and start looking. Even if the sky becomes darkened with doves, don’t shoot at another one. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Don’t fumble with shells and look down to reload. Don’t text your buddies that you finally hit one. Anything that diverts your attention from the spot you have marked is likely to result in a lost bird. Doves on the ground are hard enough to see when you maintain total concentration.

When hunting pressure starts making the birds skittish, many hunters put out decoys to lure the doves into the hunting area. Some experts say you should spread out the decoys so that they lead doves into the field, putting some on visible tree branches, or fences, then putting several on the ground to simulate feeding.

Many hunters have success with the battery-operated decoys that can flap their wings, making them more realistic to birds flying overhead.

Doves are the most shot-at game bird in North America, largely because they are the most prolific. One estimate has it that there are 40 million doves flying around in the U.S. right now.

In Illinois, the daily bag limit is 15 doves. Using the BassPro numbers, the average shooter (which of course none of us are) should be able to harvest the daily limit with half a case of shells.

In addition to revamping your investment strategy, you might want to consider bringing along a teenage boy with bulging biceps to carry your shells.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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