Low Down on Dove Leases
Keep It Simple Series
For the average shooter, hunter or sportsman
By Johnny Dury
Getting the Low-Down on Dove Hunting Leases
One of the most often asked questions from bird-hunting customers to our shop is not about picking the right shooting tool or best ammo -- those are easy answers -- but can be a real stumper.
The question is: "Do you know where I can find a good dove lease?"
While Texas is a hunting Mecca that offers some of the best wing-shooting, big game hunting and outdoor adventures in the country, most of the property in the Lone Star State is privately owned.
If a hunter is not one of those property owners (who control about 97 percent of land in the state) or doesn't have family members or friends in that group, finding a hunting lease is about the only avenue for getting out in the wild.
There are a multitude of hunting opportunities available for lease seekers, running the gamut from small to large outfitters featuring everything from bare bones to plush lodging.
Listings in the classified advertising of both area newspapers and magazines or local chambers of commerce in the counties where a hunter is seeking a lease are good sources. In addition, local coffee shops; game processing lockers; feed stores; and farm and ranch implement operations are worth checking for potential leases.
In any case, the next step after finding a potential hunting property is to go over some specific questions for the property owner or lease holder.
While "How Much?" is often the first question on a hunter's mind, here are some other areas that are key to making a good hook-up between the leasee and leasor.
Some of these questions might be:
How long has the property been leased for dove hunting? How large is the property and what is on the neighboring property (such as farm land, brush country, open pasture or structures, including homes)?
What type of bird flights are the predominate hunting opportunity; such as pass shooting on high flying birds along flyways; close shots around tanks; or are the birds entering or leaving crops in fields? A secondary question would be: “Will there be mourning doves, white-winged doves, Eurasian Collared doves or a mixture of target-rich opportunities?”
Is all-day hunting permitted or the birds allowed some recovery time during the mornings or afternoons?
Is there the possibility for a family discount for father/son, mother/daughter or other combination of family members; how many hunters will be allowed on the property at one time; and will the shooting conditions be compatible for young or inexperienced shooters?
Will there be facilities available such as restrooms, bird-cleaning stations with running water or other creature comforts to make the hunting experience more enjoyable?
What type of road conditions can be expected, particularly if there is bad weather, and can the shooting areas be reached within easy walking distance of where vehicles will be parked?
What type of relationship do you and/or the landowner have with the local game warden or other law enforcement officers? NOTE: It is a hunter's responsibility to be aware of and comply with all game laws and regulations.
If these questions are answered in a satisfactory manner, there is a good chance the hunter will have found a good hook-up to some of the state's most popular family-oriented outdoor activity.
By the Way: Dury's Gun Shop does not maintain a registry of hunting leases, but does deal with outfitters and property owners on a regular basis and may be able to provide some contact information. Feel free to ask us any time you visit -- we are happy to help.