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Outdoor Life: Dove season set to open Saturday
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Several key items are necessary for dove hunting. Here’s a quick check list:
1)    A hunting license and H.I.P. permit
2)    A twenty or twelve gauge shotgun with an improved cylinder choke
3)    Number eight shotgun shells
4)    Camo hunting clothes geared for warm to hot weather
5)    Some kind of stool or chair (preferably) camo style
6)    A bag for storing downed birds (don’t just lay them on the ground — ants!
7)    Plenty of water

Here are a few of the finer points of successful dove hunting that might help those who are going for the first time:
1)    Practice shooting at some clay targets before you go to get comfortable
2)    If possible find a place on the outer edge of the field (rather than the center) that is close to a wood line.
3)    Be patient when you spot birds.  Don’t jump up to quickly because they will spook on that movement.  Let them get in close for a higher percentage shot.
4)    When you make a kill mark the spot where the bird fell.  They are easily lost even if the grass outside the field is only five or six inches deep.
5)    Observe all safety rules.  Never shoot at low birds over the field, keep your gun on safety until just before firing, make sure there is plenty of space (at least fifty or sixty yards) between blinds, and wear ear protection.

Saturday is the opening day of dove season and if you’ve never participated in a hunt you are missing out on one of the great treats available in the field. There are opportunities around where hunters can pay to hunt on private land and a few public shoots that offer opportunities as well. My advice is to try one of these out and then if you like it as much as I think you will you will, start looking for a place where you have your own dove field for next year.
    Dove season is broken down into three seasons. The first segment runs from Sept. 1 through the 16th, the second comes in Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 21, and the final one comes in Nov. 22 and stays in through Jan. 5.
    Bag limits have been set at 15 per day with a possession limit of thirty. Eurasian collared doves may be taken at any time with no limit. Legal hunting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
     As for the veteran hunters of these little gray rockets I know what many of you are looking forward to is the food.  Eating high on the hog (or other meaty morsels) is a tradition on countless private hunts around the state. My advice to you is that you refrain from eating so much that you are found asleep in your blind when the first shots ring out.
    This has simply been a quick overview of some of the basics of dove hunting. You can pick up a copy of the 2012-13 hunting regulations in stores or you can go on line to for everything you need to know.
    Give it a try. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed and those days in the dove field will give you memories that will last a lifetime.

    Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at