Best Dove Hunting Gear: Everything You Need For A Hunt | Great Days Outdoors

Best Dove Hunting Gear: Everything You Need For A Hunt

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter looking to upgrade your gear or a novice preparing for your first shoot, this guide highlights dove hunting gear that will make your hunt more pleasant and help you to down more dove. Doves, with their swift flight and elusive nature, present a unique challenge that has captivated hunters for generations. In this article, we will delve deep into the essential equipment and accessories that can make or break your dove hunting endeavors. From shotguns to ammunition, camouflage attire to bird decoys, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need for an unforgettable dove hunting experience.

Best Shotgun For Dove Hunting

If you’re lucky, your shotgun is the most important piece of dove hunting gear you’ll carry to the field. On a good shoot you’ll spend a considerable amount of time with the stock glued to your cheek, so it’s important to get a gun that shoulders well, swings smoothly, and is easy on the shoulder.

For starters,  decide on your gauge. In Europe, 12 gauge guns are found almost exclusively, and hunters just vary the load depending on the intended usage of the day. There’s good sense to this. You can always load a 12 gauge down, but there’s a limit to how hot you can push a 20 or a 16. The same amount of shot and powder in a 12 gauge will also generally pattern better due to the width of the bore.

With that said, sub gauge guns built on appropriate frames can be very sweet shooters. Unfortunately some manufacturers cut costs by slapping sub gauge barrels on 12 gauge frames. The result? A heavy, clunky, turd of a gun. Be sure if you buy a sub gauge to get one that is specifically built to that gauge. If you can do that, the result is often a significantly lighter and nimbler gun that can be really fun on fast-flying dove. I had an original production year wingmaster in 16 gauge with a 26” barrel, and selling that gun was the second biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

Once you’ve chosen your gauge, consider your action. Most serious dove hunters I know prefer gas-operated semis for their reduced recoil. It’s not uncommon to go through several boxes of shells, and every little reduction in recoil helps.


For barrel length, keep it classic. A 28” barrel swings well, but some shooters favor a 26” for its slightly quicker feel. This is largely a personal choice, so shoulder a few guns and see what you prefer.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, you can’t go wrong with the Beretta A400. If you’re on a budget, consider the Benelli Montefeltro or the Winchester Super X4. All of these gun will perform well in the dove field, and serve you well come waterfowl season.

Beretta A400

Beretta A400


  • Shoots 2.75″, 3″, and 3.5″ shells interchangeably
  • Kick-Off Mega, Kick-Off3, and Soft-Comb stock
  • Steelium Plus barrel w/extended forcing cone
  • Oversized charging handle and bolt release
  • Mid-bead and fiber optic front bead
  • Wide 7×7 stepped rib
  • Drilled and tapped receiver
  • Rotating bolt, and self-cleaning piston
  • 5 Black Edition extended choke tubes

Benelli Montefeltro

Benelli Montefeltro dove hunting gear


  • AA-Grade Satin Walnut stock and forend
  • Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish on barrel and receiver
  • Red bar front sight
  • Benelli Inertia Driven system

Winchester Super X4

Winchester Super X4 dove hunting gear


  • Slimmer and lighter than previous models
  • Large operating controls
  • Oil-finished walnut stock
  • Inflex Technology recoil pad
  • Vent rib with fiber-optic bead
  • Cycles 2-3/4″ and 3″ shotshells
  • Self-adjusting active valve gas system
  • Matte-black finish barrel and receiver
  • Back-bored and chrome-plated bore
  • Uses Invector-Plus choke tubes
  • Reversible crossbolt safety

Best Choke For Dove Hunting

We actually wrote a whole article on this topic. Without going into too much detail, each gun has it’s own specific geometry and so the best choke in my gun may not be the best choke in you gun. Get with the good folks over at Muller Chokes and let them tell you what they recommend for your shooting level and hunting scenario, They’ve literally tested every gun on the market and created their chokes with Gun Specific Geometry which means their chokes will shoot the smae from gun to gun, regardless of the make and model.

If you already have a set of chokes and just need to know which one to screw in for tomorrow’s hunt, go with an improved cylinder. Doves aren’t very tough, but they’re fast. Small shot and wide patterns are usually a winning combination. You may not hit the high birds, but at least you’ll stand a chance at the easy shots. Trust me, in a field full of hunters, it’s much more embarrassing to miss the easy shots than the difficult ones.

Best Shells For Dove Hunting

While it’s common on shotgunning forums to get really technical and overly analytical when selecting the best loads for turkey and waterfowl, choosing the best shells for dove is a much easier task. As mentioned, doves aren’t very tough. Anything from a #6 – #9 load will work. Go with smaller pellets for more open chokes, and bigger ones for tighter chokes. #7.5’s like these are a good middle-of-the-road option for most hunters. 

Remington Heavy Dove Load Shotshells

Remington Heavy Dove Load Shotshells


  • Mild recoil
  • Designed for high-volume dove shooting
  • Remington 209 primers
  • Quality powder

Whatever you buy, buy a box or two more than you think you need. 25 count boxes somehow turn to 20s when the shooting is hot, and a spare box is a great way to make a new friend if somebody runs low.


Best Ear Protection For Dove Hunting

We actually wrote an entire article on shooting ear protection. Ear protection is especially important when dove hunting due to the volume of shooting you’ll be doing. You need a good set of ears on a dove field. And let’s be honest, you’re not actually going to wear those $30 specials you’ve got in your range bag, much less the ubiquitous foam plugs.

What you want are a comfortable pair of muffs that don’t interfere with your gun mount, that let you hear conversations around you, and that let you tune into the ball game if you haven’t shot your limit by the time it airs. These AXIL TRACKR noise cancelling ear muffs check all the boxes.


AXIL TRACKR Blu shooting ear protection


  • Sound enhancement, hearing protection, & 5.0 Bluetooth at the same time
  • Smooth, clear hearing enhancement sound quality
  • Autoblocker technology compresses loud sound over 82 dB
  • 27 dB SNR
  • Reduces wind noise
  • Sweat & water resistant
  • Sound activated compression – 0.02 second reaction time

Best Shooting Glasses

It’s not a matter of if but when you’ll get peppered by the new guy on the field shooting at a low bird. The small shot used loses its “umph” pretty quickly, but I’ve been stung pretty good in the past. While a stray pellet probably won’t break skin, you definitely don’t want to catch one straight to the eye. Good shooting glasses protect you from stray pellets and any debris that might eject from your gun breech. They also provide protection in the event of a catastrophic failure of your gun, such as might result if you inadvertently chamber a 20 gauge load in your 12 gauge. Finally, good shades will protect your eyes from UV radiation, and greatly reduce eye fatigue after hours of staring at the sky in an open field.

Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses

Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses


  • Shatterproof Selenite™ Polycarbonate lenses that meet the MIL-PRF-32432(GL) ballistic standards: ANSI Z87.1 high velocity and high mass impact standards: as well as US Federal OSHA 1910.133(b)(1)(1) standards
  • Smoke grey lenses provide glare reduction without distorting colors. Excellent in bright/glare conditions. Light transmission 14%-20%
  • T-Shell™ Lens coating resists scratching
  • 100% UVA/UVB protection with distortion free clarity
  • Adjustable take flight nose piece accommodates any face/nose bridge
  • Compatible with the PTX Prescription Insert

Best Dove Hunting Chair

A good dove hunt can last all afternoon, so you’ll want a good seat as part of your dove hunting gear. This Browning chair is lightweight and incorporates a cooler for much-needed frosty beverages during the warm, early season.

Browning Dove Shooter Hunting Chair

Browning Dove Shooter Hunting Chair


  • Pockets on cooler hold decoys or shells
  • Extra wide seat for maximum comfort
  • Powder-coated steel frame
  • Insulated cooler bag under seat
  • Includes shoulder carry strap

If you’re not walking far, this ALPS OutdoorsZ Blind Chair is just as comfortable in a field as in a blind, and lets you swivel when you hear, “On your 6!” being shouted from across the field.

ALPS OutdoorZ Stealth Hunter Blind Chair

ALPS OutdoorZ Stealth Hunter Blind Chair


  • Backrest for maximum comfort
  • Legs adjust independently for uneven terrain
  • Shoulder strap and compression strap for chair base makes for easy transport
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Four large swivel feet help stabilize base and prevent sinking
  • Durable TechMesh material
  • Powder-coated steel frame

Best Dove Hunting Bucket

For some hunters, there’s a certain sense of tradition in carrying a 5 gallon bucket out into the field to sit on. If it was good enough for grandpa, who am I to say it’s not still a viable option? Two words of advice for the bucket enthusiasts. One, a 7.5 gallon bucket sits higher than the classic 5, making it much more comfortable after the first hour. And a swivel seat like this one provides a cushion, a swivel function, and a little extra height.

WarBull 5 Gallon Bucket Seat

WarBull 5 Gallon Bucket Seat


  • Fits standard 5 gallon buckets opening between diameters 11″ and 11 3/4″
  • 360 degrees of rotation
  • Noise free
  • Memory comfortable foam cushion with handle

Best Dove Hunting Shirt

You’ll see a lot of t-shirts in a dove field. But a long sleeved performance hoodie like this one from KUIU will help keep you cool and out of the sun. It’s easy to cook yourself out in a dove field if you’re not paying attention.

KUIU Gila LS Hoodie

KUIU Gila LS Hoodie


  • Hood with cap compatibility
  • Raglan Sleeve
  • Looser fit for good air flow
  • Longer length for coverage
  • Extended cuff for coverage
  • Layered thumbholes
  • Flatlock seams
  • Darted shoulder for streamlined fit & reduced bulk

Best Dove Hunting Belt

While you don’t need a lot of dove hunting gear for a hunt, you do need a place to keep shells, spent hulls, a bottle of water, and a snack. This belt from ALPS OutdoorZ lets you carry the essentials.

ALPS OutdoorZ Deluxe Dove Belt

ALPS OutdoorZ Deluxe Dove Belt


  • 2″ webbing waist belt with a durable SR buckle
  • Pockets can be removed or adjusted for personal preference and easy cleaning
  • Large game pouch with a TechMesh bottom to allow condensation to drain easily
  • Two “hold-open” shell pockets for easy and quick access to your shells
  • Rugged 600D fabric

Best Dove Hunting Vest

An alternative to a belt is a vest. While vests are a bit warmer than belts, they offer more storage and better organization. Plus, there’s just something nice about digging out your old vest and emptying out last years spent hulls, feathers, and candy wrappers. If you prefer a vest to a belt, this one from Orvis has classic good looks and should last you for years.

Orvis Waxed Cotton Strap Vest

Orvis Waxed Cotton Strap Vest dove hunting gear


  • Backrest for maximum comfort
  • Legs adjust independently for uneven terrain
  • Shoulder strap and compression strap for chair base makes for easy transport
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Four large swivel feet help stabilize base and prevent sinking
  • Durable TechMesh material
  • Powder-coated steel frame

Best Dove Hunting Decoys

Do motion decoys still work? YES! They won’t attract all of the birds, all of the time, but they work often enough that I can’t shake my use of them. The more, the merrier in my experience. These flock a flickers by Mojo give a good ratio of cost-to-flicker and are easy to pack.

MOJO Dove a Flickers Dove Decoy

MOJO Dove a Flickers Dove hunting gear Decoy


  • Operates up to 20+ hours on 3AA batteries (not included)
  • Designed for dry fields
  • Mimics the flash given off by a flock of real doves
  • Includes 4 units pre-programmed with random on/off timers
  • Spinning wing concept in an all new look

If you duck hunt, go ahead and get these instead. They cost more, but they’re waterproof and can be clipped to Texas rigs.

MOJO Outdoors Flock A Flicker 2 Duck Decoy

MOJO Outdoors Flock A Flicker 2 Duck Decoy


  • Make it easy to bring spinning wing duck decoy performance to your hunt
  • Combo pairs 4 Flock A Flicker 2 Spinning Wing Duck Decoys and carry bag
  • Motion decoy with removable magnetic wing
  • Individual random timer
  • 2 eyelets on the side and bottom of the base
  • Soft touch on/off button
  • Each unit uses 3 AA batteries (not included)
  • Protective decoy bag
  • 4 padded, removable compartments
  • Includes waterproof and mesh pockets
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and comfortable, padded carry handle
  • Weather-resistant exterior with heavy-duty zippers

If motion decoys aren’t allowed in your state, simple, clip-on decoys like these are an alternative. They can be clipped to low hanging branches or better yet, barbed wire fences along your stretch of the field. 

Cabela’s Dove Decoy 6 Pack

Cabela's Dove Decoy 6 Pack


  • Durable rubber dove decoys
  • Realistic molding and painting for true-to-life look
  • Rugged spring clips for easy placement on common dove roosts

If you set decoys, just be aware that they will make birds dip low to investigate. If you’re sharing the field with other hunters, it’s imperative that everybody understands not to shoot at low-flying birds. Getting peppered with shot isn’t fun.

Best Dove Calls For Hunting

You don’t see a lot of people calling doves, but they are both social and vocal. It’s been my experience that any bird with those two attributes can at times respond to calling. Particularly if you’re sitting by a decoy spread, a caller like this Haydel model can help seal the deal now and then. And if the dove aren’t flying, it gives a youngster something to do in the down time instead of get into trouble at the station.

Haydel’s Game Calls Small Game Dove Call

Haydel's Game Calls Small Game Dove Call


  • Replicates mourning doves’ unique natural song
  • Locates and calls mourning doves
  • Durable and lightweight acrylic construction
  • Blows wet like all Haydel’s calls
  • Easy-to-use call

Best Dove Hunting Hat

A good hat is a necessity in the dove field. Aside from keeping the sun off of your face, being able to shade your eyes from the sun will help you see birds coming at certain angles. Tilley makes quality hats that will keep you cool and shaded whether you’re hunting, fishing, golfing, or just lounging on the patio. 

Tilley Endurables AIRFLO Supplex Hat

Tilley Endurables AIRFLO Supplex Hat dove hunting gear


  • Repels rain
  • Low and loose fit
  • Won’t shrink
  • Hydrofil anti-sweat band
  • British brass ventilation grommets
  • Adjustable tuckaway wind cord
  • Concealed pocket in crown for small essentials
  • Wide, down-sloping brim
  • Open-mesh crown
  • 3.5″ front and back brim, 2.5″ sides
  • UPF 50 sun protection

Shell Retriever

If you were lucky enough to get an invite to a dove field, the last thing you want to do is get yourself uninvited from next years shoot because you committed a breach of etiquette. Refrain from shooting high birds that may offer others a better shot, don’t pepper other hunters shooting at low birds, and for the love of all that’s good…pick up your trash!

A shell retriever like this one may not be a necessary piece of dove hunting gear, but it’s remarkably convenient, especially if you have problems bending over. 

MOJO Outdoors Portable Shotgun Shell Hull Retriever Pick Stick

MOJO Outdoors Portable Shotgun Shell Hull Retriever Pick Stick dove hunting gear


  • Makes shell cleanup in the field or at the range easier
  • Specially designed magnet mounted in an easy-to-use, adjustable staff
  • Secures up to 25 hulls at a time
  • Adjusts from 32 1/2” to 55 1/2”
  • Works in water or on dry land

FAQs About Dove Hunting

What to wear dove hunting?

If you’re going to be spending the day on a dove field, you want to dress for heat and sunshine. Lightweight long pants and long sleeves are the name of the game, as well as a hat to shade your eyes, protective shooting glasses, ear muffs, and a comfortable and lightweight pair of boots or shoes. A lightweight vest can be a useful tool to help you keep shells, spent hulls, and downed birds on your person.

What choke for dove hunting?

For most hunters in most situations, an improved cylinder is a solid choice. If you’ve got the confidence to make the longer shots, consider something closer to a modified. As always, be honest about your shooting ability and pattern your gun before you hit the field. If your not sure what kind of shooting you’ll be doing, get with whoever is organizing the shoot and ask what range you should be prepared to take birds at. Read more about choosing the best choke for dove hunting here

Why do people hunt doves?

It’s easy to look at a tiny dove and ask, “What’s the point?” It’s true that there’s barely a bite of meat on one, but what meat there is, is choice. I’ve eaten more game animals than I haven’t, and dove tops the charts for me when it comes to flavor profile and tenderness.

But, to be honest, dove hunting is much more about camaraderie than anything else. A dove field is the most social setting you’ll ever encounter as a hunter. If you’re used to deer or turkey hunting, or other solitary pursuits, a dove hunt may come as a surprise. There’s no need to be quiet, and rather than being competitive the hunt is much more cooperative. 

Do you need a migratory bird stamp to hunt dove?

In my home state of Alabama, no. However, it’s important to always clarify regulations with members of your local Department of Natural Resources. 

Final Thoughts On Dove Hunting Gear

In conclusion, dove hunting is not just a sport; it’s a cherished tradition that brings people together while fostering a deep connection with nature. Equipping yourself with the right dove hunting gear is essential for a successful and enjoyable hunt. From shotguns to camouflage clothing, every piece of equipment plays a crucial role in the overall experience. Remember to prioritize safety and respect for the environment throughout your hunting journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a beginner taking your first steps into the world of dove hunting, this ultimate guide has provided you with valuable insights and recommendations to ensure your next dove hunting expedition is both rewarding and memorable. So, gear up, practice your shooting skills, and head out to the fields with confidence, knowing you have the knowledge and equipment needed to make your dove hunting adventure a resounding success.

Full Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. There’s no extra charge to our readers for using these.

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