Hunting season is right around the corner, particularly Dove season, so it’s time to start preparing. There are always a ton of things you should do prior to hunting season, which are seemingly impossible to remember. I’ve narrowed it down to a simple checklist that will help make your hunting adventures simple and successful.

Make sure you’re Legal-Beagle
Swing by and pickup your license early, to avoid last minute rushes. The hunting license is much cheaper than paying a fine, but you should be sure to include all necessary stamps and tags that you may need throughout the different seasons. I recommend purchasing the super combo license (Texas hunters), that way you have all stamps and tags covered. Another legal end to tie up is the hunter’s safety course. If you were born on or after September 2,, 1971, the Texas law requires you to complete a safety course. This is a class that has a few different options, the class will take a full weekend to complete if done in a class room or a majority of the class may be completed online with an in person 4 to 6 hour field course to complete the program. Also, remember to check to see if your plug only allows your shotgun to hold a max of 3 shells.

Find a place to hunt
For dove, there are necessary traits that should be present, in order to provide a good hunting experience. Some of the most basic alluring traits for dove are water holes or tanks. Also, lots of dove-weed and sunflowers are magnetic for dove, because they provide feeding grounds. Finding access to hunt on land that has these traits is highly recommended. There are some options to use public lands that can be found on the Texas Parks & Wildlife state Website.

Shotgun preparation and maintenance
If you want to be like the guy who always limits out, then take the time to get your gun prepped. I suggest patterning your shotgun to determine its effective range. This will give you a good visual idea about precision and aiming. Once you are familiar with your pattern, you should practice at the shooting range by shooting some sporting clays. Not only will it help you with your eye and hand coordination, but you’ll become mentally keen with your aiming your gun as well. Finally, buy the right shells. I recommend a 7 1/2, 8 or even 9 shot for dove hunting. Be sure to buy  quality shells with high antimony lead. Read these articles for more information on Shotgun Shell Loads and Antimony.

Get your gear
Bring the sun block, bug spray, safety shooting glasses and ear protection. In addition, shin guards to prevent snake bites, and a cell phone or radio within range, are all good precautions to take. If you’re like me, I love to clean my birds after the hunt and cook them in the same evening. There are a number of ways to cook dove, so find a few favorite recipes and have them and their required ingredients ready for after the hunt. One of the most popular ways that Texans like to prepare their dove is with the Spicy Bacon Wrapped Dove recipe, stuff with jalapeno, wrap with bacon and grill. 

September’s dove season will be here before you know it, so get busy preparing for an exciting round of bird hunting. Again, satisfy your legal obligations, find a place to hunt, maintenance your gun and practice your shooting skills, and get all of your necessary gear. Good luck and please, be safe.