Skip to main content

Don’t Move or You’ll Lose When Hunting Doves

provided by John E. Phillips

“I’ve been on the Mossy Oak National ProStaff ever since the company has had a ProStaff,” said Marty Fischer, one of the nation’s top shotgun-shooting instructors and clay-target course designers. Fischer has multiple gold medals from several World Skeet Championships and Sporting Clays. For many years, Fischer competed in shotgun shooting events worldwide. Now he helps design clay-target courses and teaches shotgun shooting (the past 30 years) at wing-shooting schools and to national competitors. After seeing Fischer shoot in the dove field, I’m convinced that he shoots fewer shells to take more doves than anyone with whom I’ve ever hunted. Fischer has shot birds on four continents and in 11 countries.

Marty Fischer dove hunt

If you’re familiar with hunting turkeys, you know that if you move while a turkey is walking toward you, he’ll take off, and you won’t be able to take him. Doves react exactly the same. If you’re sitting on a dove stool and are more comfortable shooting from the standing position, as the bird gets closer, you’ll jump up and prepare to take the shot. The dove already will have flared.  

When most dove hunters see birds coming, they’re telling themselves, “I’m gonna get a shot; I’m gonna get a shot,” instead of looking around, standing still and totally focusing on the head of a bird. What many hunters don’t realize is that you have to shoot in thin air to hit the dove, so that the dove flies into your shot pattern. Sometimes a dove will come in from behind you. You’ll come up and shoot instinctively, because there’s no time to pick up a lead and swing. So, when you squeeze the trigger of your shotgun, you’re shooting at air into which you’re determined the bird will fly. 

For example, if a quarterback is throwing a football to a wide receiver who’s running as fast as he can, the quarterback isn’t throwing the ball to the receiver, but is instead throwing to where the receiver’s hands should be when the ball makes it there. He sees the direction that the receiver is running, and his brain calculates where the ball has to be when the runner is in position to catch it. If you’ve ever played a sport that requires determining lead, you can use those same principles to down a dove. Many hunters aim at doves like they do when rifle hunting or turkey hunting, but aiming at a dove will cause you to shoot behind it. 

Learn more about Marty Fisher:

Latest Content