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Dove Hunting: Getting Started

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Published on: Aug. 20, 2013

A well-trained retrieving dog can prove invaluable to finding downed doves. If you have one, make sure you bring along plenty of water to keep your dog cool. Better yet, set up close to a pond or creek so the dog can take a dip to keep cool. If temperatures reach into the 90s, leave your dog at home. The risk of your canine hunting partner overheating is too great.

On most days when you hunt in the morning, dove activity will be over by 9 a.m. or so. If you hunt in the afternoon, action often starts around 3 and ends at sundown. If while you are hunting, doves fly into a field in large numbers and land, it’s often a good idea to walk them up. Otherwise, they will feed, get their fill, then fly off to pick chat or get a drink.

To keep doves up and flying, it helps to hunt with a few friends. Hunters can then position themselves around a field in a way that keep doves flying. If hunting private ground, be sure to ask the landowner if bringing along a few friends is all right.

Learn more about hunting doves and other upland game birds at mdc.mo.gov/node/3607.

How to Clean Doves

Doves are easy to clean. With poultry shears or a pair of scissors, clip off the head and wings. Where the lower tip of the breast ends, insert your thumb, and pull the breast away from the body. Peel the skin and feathers that cling to the breast, rinse carefully in cold water, and the job is done.

In the Kitchen

Doves can be cooked a number of ways. The following recipe is easy and makes dove meat taste like fine beef steak.

  1. Fillet the meat off the breastbone with a sharp knife. You will have two pieces of meat off each breast.
  2. Brush one side of each breast with olive oil, then sprinkle the side with a liberal quantity of Greek seasoning.
  3. Wrap each piece of breast meat with a third of a strip of bacon and fasten with a toothpick.
  4. Prepare a hot charcoal fire, one where if you place your hand close to the grill, you must pull it away after only a second. Place dove breasts on the grill, cover, and cook for two or three minutes a side or until the bacon is crisp. The bacon should be crisp with the dove meat medium rare and juicy. This is important. If you overcook dove meat, it will be tough and dry.

You can use this same recipe but make kabobs with bacon-wrapped dove meat, peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, and pineapple.

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