Who doesn’t love a gear list? Now that we are in full-time prep season, Texas BHA thought it would be helpful to put out some of our gear lists for the types of hunting and fishing we enjoy the most.
Ryan Reed is a BHA member in North Texas and looks forward to that first weekend in September, like many other Texans. Reed has been hunting dove all over North Texas since he was a kid, and his experience has given him a great gear list for any dove hunter.
Hunting License – Dove season in Texas always signifies the turning of a new year of hunting and fishing. You’ve got to pay to play and don't want to catch those charges on the backside. In addition, a valid Hunter’s Safety certificate should ALWAYS be kept on hand. Get your 2023-24 hunting license here.
Scattergun – Whether you're running a top-of-the-line auto-loader or your Grandad’s cherished 870, you’ve got to get some shot in the air. It may be age making me soft, but I’ve recently leaned heavily onto my Weatherby Element 20 gauge. At no fault of the gun, I’ve been able to miss many a bird and not have to feel it the next day.
Shells – One of the most essential elements of your hunt will always be your ammunition. That said, do yourself a favor, and don't rely on that box of shells you found in the bottom of Grandpa’s gun safe. Most shotgun shells are manufactured as cheaply as possible, so spend a few bucks on a flat of shells that can get you through the season. Any reputable brand with a 7-8 shot load will do the trick.
Eyewear – Good shades are a must in the early morning or late evening sun. I prefer a non-mirrored lens, and the Smith Optics Emerge sunglasses have become a go-to for bright, sunny conditions.
Clothing – One way or another, the Texas heat can seem to find a way to make even a good hunt feel miserable if you're not prepared. Find a breathable, moisture-wicking shirt and a lightweight pair of pants, and you won't regret it. Duck Camp’s Lightweight Hunting Shirts are my go-to and hold up well to the task.
Footwear – Often overlooked when considering a dove hunt, a good pair of hunting boots can make or break a day chasing birds. The non-insulated Irish Setter Vaprtrek is an excellent option for any warm-weather hunt. Whether sitting on a pond or patch of sunflowers or flushing a field, they provide comfortable support throughout the day.
Decoys – There’s nothing better than seeing a group of birds descending on a decoy spread. The closer you can draw them in, the less walking you must do to pick them up. Pairing a few Mojos Doves with stationary decoys will almost always get the job done.
Seating – I graduated from the old padded-top dove bucket in my early twenties. While the time-tested perch can undoubtedly serve its purpose, there comes a time when comfort and convenience are very much preferred. The Game Winner Ultimate Hunting Chair is a hands-down winner in this category. With a large gear pocket, as well as its built-in shell pocket and side-mounted cooler, you can kick back in comfort with a beverage of your choice and play the waiting game.
Ear PRO – When the birds are flying, the shots seem to follow, and nobody enjoys that ringing in your ears at the end of the day. One lightweight and comfortable alternative to traditional ear muffs is the Axil GS Extreme 2.0 earbuds. With active sound enhancement and hearing protection, you can prevent damage to your hearing and still catch every last jest and punchline.
Buddies – If there’s no other option, a solo hunt is better than no hunt; however, dove hunting is always more enjoyable with a group of friends. There aren't too many hunts where you can sit around and poke fun at the guy who just missed all three shots at a bird, so get out and enjoy it with the company.
The Texas chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers wants you to gear up and get out there in the upcoming hunting seasons. So, enjoy the gear lists, hunt and fish some public lands and waters, pick up some trash while you’re out, and most importantly, tell other hunters about the mission of BHA to ensure the heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.
Be sure to check out our 2023 Adopt an Access program aimed at helping maintain access for dove fields and small game hunting properties included as part of the Annual Public Hunting (APH) permit . These properties are private lands which are leased as part of the Voluntary Public Access (VPA). Learn more here!