Dove Bucket List: 7 Essential Items for the Opener

Photo by Ralph Smith

I almost never go dove hunting without my bucket. It makes for an instant field seat, and it keeps my gear in one place and ready to roll out when I am. Doves are never going to be a cinch to hit, but the less I'm thinking about what I left behind in the garage, the more I can focus on dropping some birds. Here's what's inside my dove bucket.

1) Three boxes of ammo
Winchester 12-gauge Super-X 1-ounce steel No. 7 loads are easy on the shoulder and wallet. Plus, they satisfy nontoxic requirements.

2) Five decoys
Doves seem hypnotized by the motion of the fast-spinning wings on Mojo Outdoors' Voodoo Doves. I pack two, with stakes and 9-volt batteries, and three Flambeau foam decoys with clips for attaching to branches, fences, or sunflower heads.

3) Dog-training e​­collar and remote
My black Lab wears a Micro-iDT Plus series e-collar from D.T. Systems, for far-reaching reminders to focus.

4) Bug busters
A butane-powered Therma­Cell for when you're sitting, and Deep Woods Off! for the walk in and out of the field.

5) Padded cushion
Top the bucket with a folding, self-inflating Bunsaver cushion and settle in.

6) First-aid kit
To deal with minor injuries to you, your pup, or your gear, fill a quart-size baggie with tweezers, cotton swabs, aspirin, antacid, dental floss, nail clippers, bandages, safety pins, braided nylon cord, a styptic pencil, superglue, and a small multitool.

7) Toilet paper
Always. Stored in a resealable bag.

Plus: Shooting glasses, water, and snacks.