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Secrets for Taking More Doves Day 2: Tune Shooting...

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Secrets for Taking More Doves Day 1: Use Proper Gun Position for Doves

Dove perched on a tree
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Editor’s Note: I was fortunate to meet former Olympian and Gold Medalist shooter, the late Tony Rosetti, 20 years ago. Rosetti had the reputation in years past as one of the best shots ever and had proved his prowess with a shotgun afield – particularly in hunting doves. His shooting expertise and tips are just as strong today as then and will help you have a better dove season this year. Rosetti was very concerned about dove hunting safely and said to, “Never: shoot at a dove below the tree line; take your gun off of safety until just before you’re ready to shoot; walk through a dove field looking for a bird without first engaging your safety; and allow alcoholic beverages on a hunt until everyone unloads his gun, leaves the field and stores his gun.”

A hunter taking aim at a doveFrom the corner of a field, I heard the late Tony Rosetti’s little .410 pop and watched a puff of feathers in the sky as a dove out of control flew into the field. A few minutes later, another gray phantom streaked across the Mississippi skies only to meet the same fate as the first. In the next 45 minutes, I watched one man dust more doves than I’d ever seen happen before. But I convinced myself that, “Tony’s not having nearly as much fun as I am. I get to shoot two or three times before I take a dove. At his rate, he won’t even shoot a box of shells before he has to quit with a limit of birds. But if I keep shooting like I am, I’ll shoot up both boxes of shotgun shells and perhaps have to return to the car for a third box before I’ve got my limit.”

The shooting demonstration Rosetti put on this day with me explained why he’d won the Skeet-Shooting World Championship in several caliber classes.

A hunter takes aim with his rifle“Most hunters allow the stocks of their guns to get too far out on their arms or their shoulders, instead of cradling the stocks of their guns into their shoulders,” Rosetti explained. “Then they can’t put their heads in the proper position to aim correctly. They’ll have to lean their heads to the side to get their heads down on their stocks and look down the ribs of their barrels. When the gun’s in the wrong position, you cant your eyes and lose your depth perception. To shoot accurately, keep your eyes as level as possible. Simply raising your eyebrows up on one side of your face can cause you to shoot incorrectly. When you bring the gun to your shoulder, your arm makes a pocket in your shoulder for the gun to fit in naturally. If your gun is positioned correctly in the pocket of your shoulder, all you have to do is lay your cheek down on the stock to see and aim properly. When a dove hunter’s shoulder or arm is blue from the recoil of a gun, you know he hasn’t had his shotgun seated correctly in the pocket of his shoulder.”

Point and Look At the Same Place At the Same Time:

Rosetti believed most people looked at doves with their eyes but didn’t point their guns in the same direction as they’d focused their eyes. They brought their shotguns to their shoulders and followed the birds with their eyes. As they tracked the birds with their eyes, they kept their gun barrels down until they wanted to shoot, which caused hunters not to have the barrels of their guns pointed at the doves when they shot.

A hunter aims at a bird“The first thing you must do when you see a dove is to understand where your barrel is in relationship to the dove,” Rosetti reported. “Once you spot the bird, make sure you have the barrel pointed at the bird. Often a dove hunter looks at a dove and then brings his or her barrel to the dove. Instead, to sight and aim, look at the barrel first. Then bring the barrel to the dove, and pass the dove with the barrel. Although this suggestion may sound simple, if your barrel’s not pointing where your eyes are looking, you can’t shoot accurately. Practice looking at the bead on the barrel and swinging the barrel behind, through and past the dove. Once you have the bead and the dove in your sight picture, then and only then do you think about taking the shot.”

Cover: How to Hunt Deer Like a ProBesides enjoying shooting doves, to learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, Print and Audible versions, at ( You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can hear 10% for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book. To see more of John’s deer books, visit

Tomorrow: Tune Shooting Skills for Taking Doves

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