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Kit & George Harrison wrote in their book “The Birds of Winter” “that pigeons and doves are not really gallinaceous (chicken like) birds. They are plump birds with short necks, small heads, and short bills that are ideal for pecking at seeds, which account for 98 percent of their diet. Strong fliers, they can evade predators on the wing. The fact that they are gregarious and are often found in large flocks in winter is undoubtedly a survival tactic to facilitate finding food and cover and to avoid predation.”

The majority of us might recognize them as pigeons or pests, with black, grey and sometimes even white feathers but to me the rock doves are an awesome bird and a very enjoyable small game hunt, gregarious and evasive indeed.

What I really like about rock dove hunting is that it’s open all year round in Quebec under small game and it can be a really fun and a challenging sport. It involves careful still-hunting, great stalking skills and also approach tactics when dealing with your advance to your shot.

Sometimes, I find myself at my friend’s farm hunting duck, grouse or even snowshoe hare but either the weather is not cooperating or other negative factors can affect my choice of game, such as large farming equipment or dogs making noise. One thing I can always count on as a backup activity is rock dove hunting. Easily scared off, they will often fly away for twenty minutes or more but they will always come back.

At the farm, they will normally stay close to a barn where their nests are located and then they will fly around feeding on seeds near the cattle. For my approach, I like to pretend that I am going about my normal business chatting with the farmer or just walking around, actually what I am trying to do is place myself strategically for my advance to my shooting spot. Just like crows, they are watching you and they see very well. Once they burst into flight, it takes a skilled shot gunner to get a confirmed harvest as they are extremely quick and almost seem to dance around your shot.

I find that one rock dove is plenty of meat for one meal with an average size of 11 to 13 inches but with several rock doves you can make very nice dishes such as: Salmis De Pigeons. I have included a picture of a rock dove that I field dressed for supper.

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