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Do they make tracer rounds for dove hunting

Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior MemberPosts: 2,467 Senior Member
Dove season came back in last Friday. I have to say I give myself an A for effort and an D for results! Being totally honest I flat out suck at this sport. I did manage to knock down 6 birds with 2 1/2 boxes of shells. This is something I've never really done much of. I prefer the 20 lb birds that go gobble gobble gobble! I have know idea what I'm doing other than throwing lead into the air hoping one will fly into my pattern. What I could really use is #8 tracer rounds so I can see where the heck I'm shooting!

I have know idea on how to lead them??? I'm not sure if I'm leading too much, too little or what I'm doing wrong.

Any tips!
Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

John 3: 1-21

Replies

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,161 Senior Member
    They used to make them for trap and shooters to help refine their shooting...Yep they still do...
    http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/fiocchi-tracer-shotgun-shells-10-rounds?a=899366

    Wouldn't feel to awful bad about your shooting...the national average has been 5 birds per box of shells for years....little buggers can be a challenge...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Back when I did a fair amount of dove hunting, the shot that I purely hated was the fast incoming bird- - - -the one flying straight at me. That was almost a guaranteed miss. The one flying straight away, just raise the muzzle until it blots out the bird, and shoot. Crossing shots, right or left- - - -I try to swing through and past the bird instead of leading it, the old "butt-belly-beak-bang!" shot. Sometimes it worked!
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,416 Senior Member
    Could try these. Kinda expensive, but you could cook your dove at the same time...
    http://youtu.be/t8fmhpy0z1U

    Dove can be tough to hit sometimes, for sure. Lead depends on a lot of factors. Distance, speed, direction.. I think it's really a learned skill and very instinctive, as I think a lot of shotgun shooting is. And it's a perishable skill. A shotgun that points well and focus on the target go a long way. I've had plenty of 6 birds for 2 boxes of shells kinda days. Went out one time with the goal of shooting a limit with the fewest shells possible. Shot 15 birds with 18 shells. But, the dove were plentiful and I could choose my shots. Mostly, I found I wasted more shells taking shots I shouldn't have. But it's so much fun shooting those sky birds that twirl all the way down to the ground...
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Jeff in TX wrote: »
    Dove season came back in last Friday. I have to say I give myself an A for effort and an D for results! Being totally honest I flat out suck at this sport. I did manage to knock down 6 birds with 2 1/2 boxes of shells. This is something I've never really done much of. I prefer the 20 lb birds that go gobble gobble gobble! I have know idea what I'm doing other than throwing lead into the air hoping one will fly into my pattern. What I could really use is #8 tracer rounds so I can see where the heck I'm shooting!

    I have know idea on how to lead them??? I'm not sure if I'm leading too much, too little or what I'm doing wrong.

    Any tips!

    Jeff, I know I'm preaching to the choir here, because dove hunting is second nature for us Texas boys. But in case you missed it in your edumacational process, you get better with every miss. One day you will get to 50% and that's a good feeling. But it doesn't happen over night. I was there back in the 60s as a kid because we would go out to Charlotte, out below San Antonio where the sky would be black with them. Back then the limit was a bit more liberal and we would kill a crap load in a weekend. Shooting trap and skeet help but it's nothing like live birds.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,367 Senior Member
    Here are a couple of things you might like to try.

    1. Stand in your lounge/garage ( any room that is big enough to shoulder and swing your shotgun without damaging anything). Make sure the gun is unloaded. Face the opposite corner to where you are standing. Hold the gun with the butt against your hip and angled up so that the tip of the barrel is in line with the corner of the room and at the point where the wall meets the ceiling. ( ( You should be wearing the same clothing that you are likely to be wearing in the field)

    Now close your eyes and shoulder the gun. When you get it comfortable and in the natural position on your shoulder, open your eyes and you should be able to see the whole rib at a very very shallow angle. The angle should something akin to placing a dime on the rib at the closest point to you, and you should just be able to see the end of the rib at the muzzle over the top of the dime.. ( You can try shouldering the gun, placing a dime on the rib and adjusting the height of your eyes until you can see the end of the rib then taking the dime away to get an idea of what the view should look like.)

    Going back to the view that you see after you have shouldered the gun with your eyes closed......... If your view is looking down on the rib and you can see a substantial portion of it then that indicates that the stock may be too short for you. If you open your eyes after shouldering the gun and you are looking at the back of the receiver, then the stock is too long for you.

    If the gun is too short, you will shoot over the top of the bird, if the gun is too long you will shoot under it.

    2. If the view is what I described in para 2 above then try this. Stand facing the wall as far away from it as possible. Hold the gun at the ready and shoulder it as you start to swing on the line where the wall meets the ceiling. Don't swing the gun up to that line then start to traverse it, start your swing from right to left as you shoulder it and once it is shouldered follow the line. Your eyes should not be on the rib or beads but on the join between the wall and ceiling. If you have some snap caps, you can hit the trigger and also practice keeping the swing smooth without stopping when you hit the trigger.
    Keep both eyes open at all times. Practise this swing until it becomes natural. then reverse the swing and try from left to right.
    What you are doing is creating muscle memory so that the shotgun will always 'mount' into the same place every time you shoulder it. The 'swing should be natural and flow smoothly.

    Next time you are out in the field, don't shoulder the gun and follow the bird as it comes into range. Hold the butt on your hip with the tip of the barrels angled up and on the bird till it gets to where you want to shoot it. When you decide to take the shot, keep the barrel tip on the bird and lift the butt to your shoulder, swing smoothly on the bird and swing through it before 'slapping' the trigger.

    To help you calculate the lead, don't look at the body of the dove, always look at the tip of the beak.

    It is almost impossible to miss a bird by shooting in front of it and here is the reason why. When the wad pushes the pellets out of the barrel, they don't travel as a vertical 'flat' pattern. The distance from the leading pellet to the rearmost pellet can be as much as 16 feet. This means that your 'shot string' resembles an elongated sausage tapered at both ends. The further the range the longer the pattern in most cases.

    What you are trying to do is throw this elongated shot string in front of the bird so that it flies into it.

    Looking at Wiki, it gives the mourning dove a top speed of about 88kmh or 55mph...................Assuming a dove is travelling at 45mph, it is covering the ground at a speed of about 66 feet per second. If you aim directly at the bird and are using a load doing 1250fps it will take about one 12th of a second for the pellets to get to the bird. The dove will cover about 5 feet in that one 12th of a second..................so if you aim straight at the bird your pattern will be 5 ft behind it.

    There are 2 ways to lead a bird. The first is sustained lead. This is where, after experience, you hold the gun a set distance in front of the bird, swinging fast enough to keep that distance and put the shot pattern in front of it so that it flies into it. Experienced shooters normally progress to this method in my experience.

    The second and easier way to calculate lead is to start the gun on or behind the bird, swing the gun faster than the bird is flying bring the barrels through the bird and squeeze the trigger once you can see daylight in front of the bird. The speed of the swing should be half as fast again as the speed of the bird, If you keep the gun moving faster than the bird the front of the shot string will pass in front of the bird and the bird will fly into some part of it. If you stop the swing when your squeeze the trigger the shot string will pass behind it.

    My own personal method is the second one. I watch the bird flying into range, at the point where I decide to take the shot I swing the gun onto the bird as I shoulder it and hit the trigger as the gun touches the shoulder My swing is obviously faster than the bird.................... The human brain is the best computer in the world and I am not aware of calculating the lead, my brain does it automatically from the info it has processed prior to shouldering the gun. I don't even make a conscious decision to shoot, I just am aware of the recoil as the butt hits the shoulder.


    Most of what I have put is basic and I mean no disrespect to your abilities but sometimes it pays to go over the basics.

    Hope this helps. ( Maybe one day I will get over to shoot doves)
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Alec's tips will definitely improve your percentage, if that's what you want. The main thing is being where there are lots of birds.

    If you just want a maximum kill, set up decoys and Mojos near the only water source, during the last hour of legal hunting. Often, they will coast in like ducks to the Mojos and you can get an easy shot.

    Personally, I like the variety of the crossing shots, that will be at high speed if they are flying with the wind and all variations of speed from other directions. If they have been shot at, they will also do some high speed maneuvers. Also, it's difficult to judge the range, and most folks shoot at them too far away. So, I will miss a lot of shots, but I will have a lot of fun doing it, as long as I don't miss so many I become frustrated. I may hit five in a row, and miss the next ten. Mostly, people who hit a high percentage are being very selective about the shots they take, or waiting till they come in to the decoys, the last few minutes of shooting time.
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    Thanks for all the great advice. We didn't dove hunt much as kids, I actually got into it a few years ago. We've got plenty of birds so that's not an issue. I'm gonna give Alec's #2 tip a try and see if that helps. I keep telling myself sooner or later I'm gonna get the hang of this! Thanks again everyone and Merry Christmas to you all!
    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,122 Senior Member
    There were some cylalume chemical tracers a while ago. I had some and they did work... Let me see if I can find you a link
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,122 Senior Member
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Jay wrote: »
    Could try these. Kinda expensive, but you could cook your dove at the same time...
    http://youtu.be/t8fmhpy0z1U

    Dove can be tough to hit sometimes, for sure. Lead depends on a lot of factors. Distance, speed, direction.. I think it's really a learned skill and very instinctive, as I think a lot of shotgun shooting is. And it's a perishable skill. A shotgun that points well and focus on the target go a long way. I've had plenty of 6 birds for 2 boxes of shells kinda days. Went out one time with the goal of shooting a limit with the fewest shells possible. Shot 15 birds with 18 shells. But, the dove were plentiful and I could choose my shots. Mostly, I found I wasted more shells taking shots I shouldn't have. But it's so much fun shooting those sky birds that twirl all the way down to the ground...

    I believe this! It's one thing that ain't quite like riding a bicycle. Just like certain bodily functions, iffin you don't use it, you lose it!!!
    That's what I was talking about in my post above. I was my best when I shot a lot of doves in a place where there were plenty of birds and the action was almost non stop. It seems you get real good in a short time with that.

    Also, another factor in the amount of lead is Angle. Shooting Skeet at all the angles is good practice for this. But nothing, no amount of practice, beats the real thing for practicing this.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Murphy's LawMurphy's Law Member Posts: 313 Member
    I'm a horrible shot when it comes to any form of bird hunting. I used to dove hunt quite a bit in my youth but my health just won't allow it anymore. I would routinely go through 3 to 4 boxes of 7 1/2 shot just to bag the limit of 10 dove! Looking back, missing was the fun part! It was just loads of fun hearing from friends critiquing my lousy marksmanship skills and trying to coach me to shoot like Carlos Hathcock or Daniel Boone! I look at dove hunting like fishing; it's just fun being outdoors among good company regardless of what was caught or bagged. Just feeling the recoil and smelling burnt powder is satisfaction of a day well spent! ...Meanwhile, the dove population continues to flourish on my property! Lol!!
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,159 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Back when I did a fair amount of dove hunting, the shot that I purely hated was the fast incoming bird- - - -the one flying straight at me. !
    I did not like that one either, so, I'd wait until it started to go by then swing on it.
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,416 Senior Member
    That's actually my favorite shot. Coming right at me. I normally take them a ways in front of me and see how close to me I can make them land. That way I don't have to walk much... I'd occasionally wait until they were almost right above me and shoot them from underneath. When coming at me, I just swing the barrel up to the bird and fire just when the bird is covered by the barrel.

    The spot I used to frequent was near some livestock quarantine pens. The birds would go to the pens in the morning and eat all day, then go back toward the river valley in the evening to roost. In the morning, set up facing east and take the birds on the way to the pens. If we went in the afternoon, set up facing west and take them on their way back. Hundreds of birds, all of them white wings and all of them fat on grain.

    Those birds would get smart though. Once they were shot at a few times, they'd hit the deck and fly like little F16s through the mesquite bushes. Was out there one evening when a boy accidentally tracked a bird low and fired right when his 20 gauge was pointed at his dad's face... Luckily, they were far enough apart, it didn't kill him. But put enough pellets in his face, some of them puncturing his sinuses, that he bled pretty good for a while... Loaded him up and took him to a nearby law enforcement station.
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    No need for tracers, just find a good range that has some nice skeet fields and practice, practice, practice. Shooting skeet is very close to dove hunting, the clays are shot about the same speed as a dove flying and you shoot from all angles.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Winchester, I think, makes # 7.5, and 8 shot shells with black, and orange wads that open like an X, so you can see where they went.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/2900539231/winchester-aa-heavy-traacker-ammunition-12-gauge-2-3-4-1-1-8-oz-7-1-2-shot-orange-wad
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    Not sure but the one round which I consider close to a tracer is a chemical type. Not sure I'd want that in anything I ate without a MSDS. The orange wad idea seems a lot better and safe for meat going to the table.
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    This has been a great thread. I'm going to use orchidman's post for future refrence.

    Even with my friend at work trying to help me I can't hit airial target's to save my life.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
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