Be a Better Wingshot in 30 Seconds

Dove season is here! I'm not sure how it sneaked up on me again, but that's another story.

Doves fly fast, and they don't fly straight. We love the challenge, but we want to hit more birds. Here's how, in three easy steps.

1. Open up. Use a wider choke. If you usually prefer a modified choke, put in an improved cylinder tube. Why? The pattern will be bigger. Think of using a larger fly swatter. Only 30 seconds to swap chokes. But, there's a catch, and that brings us to ...

2. Use better ammo. Specifically, use target ammo. Why? It has harder shot, which deforms less when shot. Round pellets go straight. Flat or deformed pellets spin out to the sides, and they do you no good. In other words, cheap "dove Doveloads," simply will not bring down as many birds.

3. Let them get closer. Shotguns are close-range tools, but you wouldn't know it by watching a lot of dove shooters. Wait, wait, wait. Pass up those 50-yard shots. Not two out of 100 hunters can regularly hit a passing dove at 50 yards. You'll probably quadruple your hits if you limit shots to 35 yards and less.


4. Go for less recoil. In a 12-gauge, use the very light recoiling loads available now. They will drop birds just fine. (Check out the Aguila Minishells.) Or, take a 20 or 28 gauge out. Note that the .410 is for experts -- much harder to make consistent hits with that thimble of shot.

~ Tom

Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.

Dove Image courtesy of