“One coming from the left”, my dad said on a hot September afternoon in the late 1980’s. I scanned the sky looking for the dove. My camo vest was heavy with 20-gauge shells and I was tucked up in a tree line. I swear those birds were flying at least 150 miles per hour. I don’t remember how many birds we killed that day. It probably wasn’t a lot, but I do remember spending time with my dad.
Dove hunting is a great activity to get kids and other new hunters out in the field. It’s a challenging sport, but it doesn’t require a lot of gear, you don’t have to be really quiet, and you don’t have to spend all day sitting and waiting. September 1st is the opening day of dove season in Missouri and the only permits required for those 16 years old and older is a small game hunting permit and a migratory bird permit.
Dove hunting is also a great way to meet new land owners. Many land owners will grant permission to dove hunt, and once they get to know a new hunter, it may lead to opportunities to hunt other species. Hunters can also check out public land opportunities on the Missouri Department of Conservation website at www.mdc.mo.gov. Take some time, get a kid outside, and don’t forget the bug spray!