Dove Gear

Hunter standing by a bale while aiming a shotgun

It’s not just fast action that makes dove hunting so incredible—it’s also the fact it’s not a gear-heavy endeavor. Side of a trusty shotgun, the initial investment to get going is minimal. Still, there are some items you’ll want to consider.

Ear Protection

You can't repair lost hearing. When it's damaged, it's damaged, and there's no going back. Chances are you’re going to boom a bunch during a dove hunt. Protect your ears with a quality ear protection device. Twist-in foam plugs are better than nothing, but custom-molded earplugs and earmuffs will up your level of protection and allow you to hear whistling wings, voices and the like but drown out the bang of your shotgun.


This one seems like a no-brainer, but new dove hunters often don’t bring enough ammo. Doves are challenging targets and limits are generally incredibly liberal. It’s not uncommon for an accomplished shooter to go through 30 or 40 rounds in a day. Bring plenty of ammo.

shotshell being loaded into shotgun

As for what ammo’s best, you don’t need to break the bank. Low brass No. 7 ½ and 8 shot work incredibly well. You want a good pattern with lots of pellets going through the air. With that noted, a high-brass option like Federal’s Game Load Upland Heavy Field or Federal Premium Hi-Bird will reach out and touch birds a tad further out. 


Most shotguns come with a choke set, and when doves are on the menu, you want a sizeable pattern. While a standard modified choke will work, an improved cylinder choke is usually a better choice—especially for new hunters. Commonly used by trap, skeet and sporting clay shooters, an improved cylinder choke is very effective between 20 and 35 yards. It throws an incredible pattern and will help new shooters be more successful out of the gate.

Hip Game Bag Or Vest

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you’ll want a hip-style game bag, or one that's worn around the chest. You can go with blaze orange, solid or camo—check your state’s regulations regarding hunter orange requirements and go from there. Both items keep ammo at the ready and give you a compartment to put birds. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for your empties when the hunt is over. It’s every hunter’s responsibility to police their spent shotshells. 

bag full of shotshell

Take A Seat

Though not a must-have, a stool or bucket makes a dove shoot more enjoyable. You’ll often shoot from a sitting position, which helps conceal you. In addition, if the action slows or if you need to take a break, you have a spot to rest. 


You might roll your eyes at this one. Don’t. Like a seat or stool, dove decoys aren’t a must-have item, but they will boost your success incredibly. Doves decoy like moths to a flame. Attach them to a small tree, fence line or whatever, and you’ll get more shooting. There are lots of makes and models on the market, but spinning wing models are hard for even pressured doves to resist.