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Fort Thompson’s Complete Guide to a Perfect Dove Season - Fort Thompson

Fort Thompson’s Complete Guide to a Perfect Dove Season

At Fort Thompson Sporting Goods, we understand that dove season in Arkansas is a much-anticipated time for hunters, bringing together friends and family to enjoy the outdoors and the thrill of the hunt. As your trusted local outfitter, we are committed to helping you have a successful and enjoyable dove hunting experience. To ensure you're fully prepared, we've compiled a list of essential tips and tricks. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or a beginner, these pointers, combined with our top-quality gear, will help you make the most of the season.

1. Scout Early and Often

Finding the right location is crucial for a successful dove hunt. Start scouting your hunting area weeks before the season begins. Look for fields with food sources such as sunflowers, millet, or grain crops, as doves are attracted to these areas. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to spot doves and determine their flight patterns.

2. Get the Right Gear

Having the right gear can make all the difference. Here are some essentials:

  • Shotgun: A 12 or 20-gauge shotgun is ideal for dove hunting. Make sure it is properly cleaned and functioning.
  • Ammo: Light to moderate loads of #7.5 or #8 shot are commonly used for doves.
  • Choke: A modified or improved cylinder choke will provide the right balance of spread and distance.
  • Camouflage: Wear camouflage clothing that blends with your surroundings to stay hidden from the keen eyes of doves.
  • Decoys: Motion decoys can attract doves to your hunting spot and improve your chances of a successful hunt.

3. Practice Your Shooting

Doves are fast and agile, making them challenging targets. Practice your shooting skills at a skeet or trap range to improve your accuracy. Focus on leading the bird and maintaining a smooth swing through your shot. Remember, practice makes perfect!

4. Set Up Strategically

Position yourself near food sources, water, or roosting areas. Natural cover like tall grass or shrubs can provide excellent concealment. If you’re hunting with a group, spread out in a U-shape or V-shape formation to cover more area and increase your chances of success.

5. Use Decoys Effectively

Decoys can be a game-changer in dove hunting. Place them in a visible area where doves are likely to fly. A combination of ground decoys and motion decoys on poles can simulate feeding and attract more birds. Experiment with different setups to see what works best in your hunting area.

6. Stay Patient and Observant

Dove hunting requires patience and attentiveness. Keep an eye on the sky and be ready to move to a different spot if doves aren’t flying near you. Pay attention to their flight patterns and adjust your position accordingly.

7. Follow Hunting Regulations

Always adhere to Arkansas' hunting regulations. Make sure you have the necessary licenses and permits, and be aware of the daily bag limits and shooting hours. Respecting the rules helps ensure a sustainable dove population for future seasons.

8. Prepare for the Weather

Arkansas weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers to stay comfortable, and bring along essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water. Staying hydrated and protected from the elements will help you stay focused and enjoy your hunt.

9. Have a Plan for Retrieval

Doves are small and can be difficult to find once they’re downed. Mark the spot where each bird falls and retrieve them immediately to avoid losing any. A good retriever dog can be a valuable asset in finding downed birds quickly and efficiently.

10. Clean and Store Your Harvest Properly

After a successful hunt, it’s important to clean and store your doves properly. Field dress them as soon as possible to keep the meat fresh. Store the cleaned birds in a cooler with ice until you’re ready to process them further.

By following these tips and tricks, you'll be well-prepared for a successful and enjoyable dove season in Arkansas. At Fort Thompson Sporting Goods, we have everything you need to gear up for the hunt, from shotguns and ammunition to camouflage clothing and decoys. Visit us today and get ready to make this dove season your best one yet!

Happy hunting!