Dove locations

Beniciahd

New member
Long time all! It’s been a crazy busy off season. These fires are no help with my work life. So, my new hunter is my 11yo daughter and I’m gonna start the season with Dove. We’ve been at the range shooting clays. I put in for a ton of hunts and didn’t get any. So now I’m looking into backups. I can hunt local at one of the wildlife areas but I finally have some time off to go somewhere. Anyone have any recommendations from them Central Valley all the way to Sacramento Valley. We will likely camp in the truck or a room. If any of you have some thoughts let me know. It’s going to be some great bonding father daughter time!!
 

calamari

Member
Up until the recent cool down period I've never seen so many doves in the Lincoln to Marysville area. Maybe the fires and smoke shoved them south. The cool temps may have moved them out however. Lots of Eurasian Collared doves which don't count toward your dove limit and has no closed season. Learn to recognize them and you end up with bonus birds.
Remember, steel only on any state wildlife areas even for doves. Next year's season it's statewide everywhere.
 

calamari

Member
Well here's a single data point. Today I had to drive to Lincoln for a Dr.s appt. I didn't see a single dove along the road where a couple weeks ago I saw bunch after bunch. I live in Auburn and the doves were around here up until the recent cooling off. I saw one today. Like I say not much information and only a single data point.
Check the smoke maps as it could be bad around Red Bluff and that might even affect whether the doves leave or stay. Traditionally, when it gets cool the doves move south or up into the first foothills where it's usually a little warmer. That's conventional wisdom.
 

calamari

Member
One more piece of information. A friend had reason to go look at his dove spots Sunday. He hunts in the North Sutter Buttes just south of Gray Lodge. Almond orchard and pasture that usually has doves even when Gray Lodge doesn't. He also helps a wild rice farmer friend with his bird depredation shooting in the Nicolaus area. Both places had lots of birds up until the cool down. They were gone from both areas Sunday and talking to the property owners they left with the cool down.
Traditionally, when it gets like this the Sac River can be one of the last spots to have doves. It's almost all boat access to the wildlife /hunting areas and the river can be very crowded.
 

Beniciahd

New member
Well thank you! That’s some valuable information. I looked at the smoke maps and it’s bad everywhere. The bummer was I couldn’t go scout because I’ve been slammed with work and the fires. Then my wife dragged me to Tahoe this last weekend and so I’ve had to almost throw a dart at a map. I guess I’ll look for a plan B south of the Bay Area. I wanted to stay away from the refuge’s because, well it’s a refuge! And it’s too early in the year to start flashlight wars. I rented a camp site in Red Bluff. Hopefully I can get out of it. It’s hard to keep these kids excited about hunting, so I’m doing my best to give her good opportunities so she carries on the tradition!
 

calamari

Member
Remember, I only gave 2 data points and I'm sure there will be doves shot at certain locations. If you were thinking of the Tehama Wildlife Area, that might be a possibility. It's amazingly rugged, beautiful and the only place I know of where you can cross a good sized stream on an actual engineered and constructed ford. If you've never been there it will takes several trips to see and learn it all. On the back road into it I found the only guzzler I've heard of in the Sacramento Valley foothills. That will tell you how dry the place is. If that's where you go read the book about Ishi. He was the last Native American living in the wild in Calif. Sad story too often repeated. There's a Wilderness Area named for him between Red Bluff and Chico that you can drive through and along.
Good luck.
 

Beniciahd

New member
So I ended up sticking to my original plans. I got a single dove and my daughter got none. We only saw about 7. There was some sporadic shooting going on around us but nothing crazy. This evening at the camp site about 200+ showed up. I couldn’t have been that lucky and have them at my hunting spot, but they knew where to find me and laugh! At least I was able to show my daughter what a flight of doves should look like! Thinking of switching things up tomorrow. We shall see.
 

NewmanCA

Member
We had World War II at our spot, LOL. We could hit the doves with a stick. I need to get my lazy behind moving this winter. I am going to plant Safflower in my pasture next month. Hopefully the mourning doves come out of the almonds. We get to many Euros which we don't want
 

calamari

Member
We get to many Euros which we don't want

You can fix that problem since there's no closed season and an unlimited bag limit. They do seem to be a smart bird however that doesn't take much shooting before it leaves the area. There are a ton of them at a NoCal wildlife area that stay next to the check station and then take off and fly down the closed zone boundary near the building and then leave through the only route that takes them over safe ground.
A little bigger than a Morning Dove but they BBQ just as nicely and make great Dove fajitas.
 

NewmanCA

Member
You can fix that problem since there's no closed season and an unlimited bag limit. They do seem to be a smart bird however that doesn't take much shooting before it leaves the area. There are a ton of them at a NoCal wildlife area that stay next to the check station and then take off and fly down the closed zone boundary near the building and then leave through the only route that takes them over safe ground.
A little bigger than a Morning Dove but they BBQ just as nicely and make great Dove fajitas.

I don't feel like shooting them just to shoot them. They seem less smart than Mourning doves. There were a flock of them that used to stay in the walnut orchard in front of my house. A couple of guys blasted the hell out of them and they kept coming back. Long after Morninf doves would have left
 

calamari

Member
I assumed you'd eat them as I assume you do Morning Doves. Same thing just bigger.
I never found them to be stupid but maybe it was the time of year or maybe they were nesting in the walnuts. As an example a friend was in Arizona where the regs are similar to ours as far as Collared Doves and found a large flock using some trees and power lines where hunting was allowed. He went back that afternoon and shot 6 and called it a day. He came back in the morning to do it again and no doves. Not just fewer but none. Tried it that afternoon for the same result and again the next morning for ditto and declared defeat. He was a DFG biologist and compared them to Starlings as far as being quick learners which he said were very smart. Maybe there's a San Joaquin variant? ;)
 

calamari

Member
Doves and especially feral pigeons are a lot of fun to decoy. Especially pigeons. More like ducks when they dive out of the sky and you can make very good decoys out of carefully shaped newspaper. Soak the pigeons in salt water overnight and any strong taste goes away. They will feed in corrals and stockyards or dairies in your case and can get funky w/o the soak.
 

NewmanCA

Member
I don't feel like shooting them just to shoot them. They seem less smart than Mourning doves. There were a flock of them that used to stay in the walnut orchard in front of my house. A couple of guys blasted the hell out of them and they kept coming back. Long after Morninf doves would have left

We only eat mornings. Mornings wise up from being shot at much quicker than euros. Starlings are dumb as hell. They cause significant damage to our cherry crop. I kill them every year. I will shoot at them.for hours and even with all the shots they fly right up to me. It takes a longvtime before they get spooked. I killed 40 starlings in about an hour
 

calamari

Member
We only eat mornings.

How come? They're the same basic bird? The ones I've eaten were, except for size, exactly the same as Morning doves. Kind of like, "I only eat Valley Quail but I'd never eat a Mountain Quail." Everybody is of course entitled to their own tastes and prejudices.
My friend lived on a wildlife area on the east side of the Sierras that was purchased by the state as winter range for the migratory deer herds that spent the winter in its valley. Little Antelope Valley which is next to Slinkard Valley that is also a winter range purchase by the state.
He lived in an old farm house and raised some chickens for his eggs. The Starlings would get out in the chickens while they were eating their scratch and he didn't like it. He said he was able to shoot one before the flock would go up into the barn or trees and out of range. He'd have to wait a couple of days to get another. That was his experience along with others that were similar.
Another friend shot "Starlings" that were eating a friends wild rice. Most of them were actually Blackbirds but the Starlings were in the mix. Maybe it has something to do with the number of birds in the flock using the area and the amount of feed. I don't know. All I can relate is what I've seen. They shoot very few Collard Doves on the wildlife areas in the Northern Valley in spite of a growing population on the areas.
 

NewmanCA

Member
How come? They're the same basic bird? The ones I've eaten were, except for size, exactly the same as Morning doves. Kind of like, "I only eat Valley Quail but I'd never eat a Mountain Quail." Everybody is of course entitled to their own tastes and prejudices.
My friend lived on a wildlife area on the east side of the Sierras that was purchased by the state as winter range for the migratory deer herds that spent the winter in its valley. Little Antelope Valley which is next to Slinkard Valley that is also a winter range purchase by the state.
He lived in an old farm house and raised some chickens for his eggs. The Starlings would get out in the chickens while they were eating their scratch and he didn't like it. He said he was able to shoot one before the flock would go up into the barn or trees and out of range. He'd have to wait a couple of days to get another. That was his experience along with others that were similar.
Another friend shot "Starlings" that were eating a friends wild rice. Most of them were actually Blackbirds but the Starlings were in the mix. Maybe it has something to do with the number of birds in the flock using the area and the amount of feed. I don't know. All I can relate is what I've seen. They shoot very few Collard Doves on the wildlife areas in the Northern Valley in spite of a growing population on the areas.

My dad does not care for the Euros and we cook for all of us when we are together. We have a large tree in our driveway at the orchard. I can't load the gun fast enough. I shoot in front of the tree and the Starlings keep returning to the tree while I try to reload. In three hours I shot several boxes of shells and killed so many starlings I lost count, After a few hours they finally have enough. They then get scared of the shots but it takes a bombardment first.
 

calamari

Member
I understand. I neglected to mention that I think you are to be commended for your position of not shooting something you don't want to eat. I feel the same way just I'll eat most birds at least once. In my life I've eaten, Sparrows, Robins, Black Birds, Meadow Larks and probably some more I can't recall anymore. Some were OK and some were for some reason truly terrible. I've never understood guys shooting ground squirrels or Prairie Dogs if they weren't going to eat them.
 

NewmanCA

Member
I understand. I neglected to mention that I think you are to be commended for your position of not shooting something you don't want to eat. I feel the same way just I'll eat most birds at least once. In my life I've eaten, Sparrows, Robins, Black Birds, Meadow Larks and probably some more I can't recall anymore. Some were OK and some were for some reason truly terrible. I've never understood guys shooting ground squirrels or Prairie Dogs if they weren't going to eat them.

Ground squirrels are destructive rodents. I trap and poison them. They girdle the bark around my young trees and have killed them. They chew up and ruin our sprinkler hose. They put mounds of dirt everywhere. They multiply like crazy if not controlled. I've shot them on my friend's cattle ranch too, Bad for cattle
 

calamari

Member
My family raised walnuts in the Napa valley for 50 years before they pulled them out and put in grapes for another 30. Nobody is harder on the natural world than a grape grower and there is nothing more like a desert than a vineyard. I understand that farmers and ranchers need to reduce pest animals in the most efficient way possible. For 15 years I was the contact person for ranchers and farmers in Placer County for all Williamson Act issues. My cousin was the Ag Commissioner for Napa County. My father is buried in Patterson. I have a long association with the ag community and again have no problem with reducing pest animal populations. My issue is with the guys who drive across 2 states to shoot Prairie Dogs because they think it's fun to see, "The Pink Mist." Guys who drive up onto public land to shoot ground squirrels where there's little risk from the squirrels damaging cattle. it's the squirrel's holes that the cattle step into that breaks their legs. Those holes remain after the squirrels are gone.
There is often more than one reason for what ag operators do to their land. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't. More than once I've been having breakfast with a bunch of peach growers in Live Oak and listened to them bad mouth guys who weren't there about how they ran their place. It seemed that one of the big drivers in why they scalp land is so they didn't look like they had a "rank" operation. All while saying they are stewards of the land.
Eat Collared Doves or don't. To say they are any different on the table is all about a personal prejudice because they aren't.
 
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NewmanCA

Member
Ground squirrels have been a personal mess when I've not been diligent. I've spent hours fixing irrigation hose that they've ripped to shreds. Holes and mounds of dirt everywhere. They ripped up the bark on about 40 trees two years ago. This spring they started chewing and breaking off limbs on a newly planted block of cherry trees. They are horrible. I had to take quick action to get them under control
 
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