Author’s note: Marty Fischer, the host of TNT Outdoor Explosion on the Pursuit Channel, a professional wingshooter, a National Sporting Clays Association Level III shooting instructor, and a longtime Mossy Oak Pro Staff member, has designed more than 150 sporting clay facilities. Here are his tips for taking more doves.
You can’t shoot what you can’t see
You need good shooting glasses when dove hunting to protect your eyes and to see the birds more clearly. I see quite a few dove hunters out in the field wearing bright yellow shooting glasses, but those are actually designed for indoor handgun shooting. I also see a lot of dark gray shooting glasses, but dark gray has the same effect on the shooter as dimming the lights on your automobile at night. Here’s the rule of thumb when selecting shooting glasses: wear the lightest color lenses you can wear without squinting. You will find that a pale yellow, a light bronze, or a rose color tend to be the best color lenses to see clearly and accurately in a dove field.
If there’s a very bright sun on the day I am dove hunting, I will use a darker brown color lens instead of gray, because dark gray shooting glasses greatly reduce the light transmission going into your eye. In a dove field, it is important to be able to see as much and as clearly as possible. You want as much information as you can gather about the target (the dove) going through your eyes and to your brain to make the best decisions about where that dove is going, and where you can shoot him. Try to get a polycarbonate type of lens to protect your eyes from falling pellets. These lenses won’t break when pellets fall and hit them.
Ear plugs are important
I don’t know why, but most dove hunters don’t want to wear ear plugs. However, just one shot that’s too close to your ear can damage to that ear. I wear custom ear plugs made by a company called ESP, Electronic Shooter Protection. Any number of ear plugs similar to these are on the market. Ear protection is extremely important. The report of a shotgun is 10 times louder than audiologists say you should hear without some type of ear protection. If you’re standing close to someone who’s shooting, then you not only have the sound of your shotgun reporting, but also the sound of their shotgun reporting.
I realize that most dove hunters like to hear other dove hunters on the dove field yell, “Dove, dove, dove,” when they see a bird approaching a hunter’s stand site. Rather than being told when a dove is approaching my stand, however, I prefer to save my hearing.
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Image courtesy John E. Philips