School is back, football is right around the corner, and that means hunting season is upon us. It’s nearly time to hit the dove fields, and so I wanted to share a few dove hunting accessories that changed my hunting game for the better.
Most folks I’ve hunted with have some typical gear, like a dove bucket with a swiveling lid seat, or a lightweight camo shirt to let keep you cool and block the sun, here are some unexpected accessories that I carry with me, that might make a big difference in both your hunting success, and your overall fun in the field.
Fiber Optic Sights
An aftermarket sight on your shotgun can make the single biggest difference to your hunting success this dove season. If you don’t already have a fiber optic sight on your shotgun, then you’re about to change your world. Fiber optic sights are very simple devices that catch light and replace your bead sight with a neon dot, that glows bright in high or low light. They are probably the least expensive upgrade you can make to a shotgun, and they make a huge impact on your marksmanship. You will shoot fewer shells and bag more birds. There are options for clip-on, magnetic or permanent installations – I have used the clip-on style for years, and you just need to check it when you first pull the gun out of the bag to make sure it’s on nice and tight, then you’re good to go. If you shoot a Remington 870 pump shotgun, then I recommend the Allen 5/16″ model. If you can’t find a sight that is brand specific, you can pretty much fit any shotgun on the market with a universal barrel clip on sight.
Game vests are much more common come dove season, but I only use a game bag. The main reason why is because the beginning of dove season is just plain hot! You need every bit of breeze and surface area to let your body do it’s cooling. Yes, a vest is handy, with lots of pockets and easy storage, but I’m telling you a Dove Belt around your waist is better. You will have 2 big pockets for shells and gear, with a large pocket for bagging birds in the rear. It stays out of the way, has the same storage capacity as a vest, and is much cooler to wear. I keep a box of shells in the right pocket since I’m right handed, and then everything else like my sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen and water bottle in my left pocket. I put spent hulls in the rear pocket with the birds.
Shotgun Sling with Neoprene Pad
If you don’t have a sling on your shotgun, then this is an easy upgrade. A sling makes your life easier, and allows you to cover more ground quickly.
If you do have a sling but it doesn’t have a neoprene pad, then prepare for an upgrade that’s worth every penny. A textured non-slip surface grips your shoulder and doesn’t move, even if you’re traveling rough terrain. You can throw your gun over your shoulder and not have to worry about it slipping or bouncing around at all. I use an Allen brand sling and love it. It has quick-release hardware, it’s quick and easy to adjust, and has a great neoprene padded underside.
Even if you’re not bespectacled like myself, you’ll probably be wearing sunglasses at some point when you’re dove hunting. Getting dusty and dirty is just part of the gig, and so expect your sunglasses to get dirty too. Since eyesight is so critical when dove hunting, I really recommend a good microfiber cloth. Keychain microfiber bags are a simple, smart design that’s an easy and inexpensive addition to your hunting gear.
Another easy accessory for glasses is the Readerest. Your best hunting will be at dawn and dusk, so prepare to be transitioning your sunglasses on and off your face. A lot of outdoorsman prefer a cable strap for holding sunglasses when they’re not on your face, but in the motion of raising a shotgun to your cheek, they get in the way. This is why I like the Readerest – you can clip it anywhere on your shirt, and once your glasses are looped in, they don’t fall out. It’s a really smart simple design that just plain works. You can even clip it behind your collar on your back to keep them totally out of the way.
I hope this list of accessories helps you level up your dove hunting game this year!