dove decoys

Dove Season

| October 4, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The Idaho dove season started at the beginning of September, and the area of Idaho I am currently living in is a magnet for the Collared dove, with tons of grit, grain fields, corn fields, and water sources. Collared doves have been sweeping across America for more than a handful of years now, displacing the native Mourning Dove population.

Benelli Dove Hunt

This season I initially I did some pass shooting, but after a little arts and crafts from dollar store materials, I have a flapping decoy that is bringing in the action a little closer, for a little more fun.

My harvest ratio of Collared to Mourning dove is about 8 to 1, which isn’t that inspiring for the Mourning dove population, and really presents how much of a threat Collared doves are to Mourning Doves. The only positive side of harvesting a Collared dove is that they are almost 2 times larger than a Mourning dove, and are not part of the dove season. They can be taken anytime. Double check your local rules and regulations though, some other rules may apply.

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Dove Decoys Part 2 – Shaping

| October 24, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Just an update to the dove decoy making. The majority of rough shaping of the first decoy is done. I need to work on head shape, then detail, but in general its looking half decent. I don’t ever start a project thinking I won’t finish it, but I was genuinely concerned that I didn’t have the talent to shape wood blanks into a convincing dove.

While I have decent enough wood working and carpentry skills, and I am confident using hand tools like rasps, files, chisels, and routers, for things like dove tails, tenons, and finger joints, this sort of shaping something from nothing falls into a category of art. I can easily see how people appreciate, and collect decoys as art.

Its actually been sort of strange how many tools I’ve used so far. I’m trying to use the right tool for the job. I cleaned up old 2x4s with the table saw. Then glued them up. I did the major rough cuts for shape and 45 degree cuts to create a ’rounded’ body from the blank with my table saw.


I glued up a head block and tail then rough shaped them with a small hand saw, and chisels. The dove decoy immediately went from a block of round wood to a dove shape. I worked the body, head, and tail with a rasp. Uneven material was removed with chisels and hand routers. I continued to work the whole thing with a rasp.

Then I started to hit the decoy with files, and work it over with the rough drum sanding bit on a Dremel 4000. A little sand paper on the whole thing, and now I can visualize what the final bird should look like. I’ll post a new update after I finish shaping the head and add a little detail.

I’m really starting to look forward to getting beyond roughing things out. It’ll be fun to get to the point where I start detailing, texturing, and painting the decoy to look like a collared dove. While I probably could have done all the work with hand tools, the Dremel 4000 was beyond helpful for removing small amounts of material quickly and smoothly, and will come in handy when it comes time to add detail. If your budget affords it, and you don’t already have a rotary tool you should get yourself a Dremel 4000. I’ve used it for so many things now, it’s paid for itself ten fold in time savings. If you have any suggestions or comments, please leave me a comment below. Thanks

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Dove Decoys Part 1

| October 19, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Collared and mourning doves frequently land in the yard and forage for food and grit. I will occasionally harvest a collared dove or two with my Crosman 1322 air gun, and cook em up with dinner.

I decided I wanted them to frequent the property more often, and broadcasting wild bird seed as well as setting up a few decoys would be the way to do it.

I’m approaching this in multiple steps. Step one, create decoys. Step two, add movement to decoys. I had some 2×4 scraps sitting around, so I decided to glue up some blanks that I could carve into decoys.

I drafted a dove pattern, but expanded the size from a mourning dove to a collared dove size. My plan is to carve the body from the glued blanks, after adding a head and separate tail piece. I may ultimately wish I just sculpted these from foam, and finished them with mastic like duck decoys, or even bondo and some fiberglass, but with the scraps of short 2×4 pieces I had on hand, it made sense to give wooden dove decoys a try.





So to re-hash, this is going to be a two step process. Step one is to create decoys, and decide if wood or foam and composite are the way to go. I could also create a mold from a wooden decoy if I am pleased with the outcome, then use expanding foam to create a lot more dove decoys.

Step two will be to add movement and realism to the decoy by use of a simple oscillating circuit, and a vibrating motor or solenoid to drive artificial wings. I know there are a million companies selling stuff like that already. However, given my skill set and knowledge of electronics and programming, I’d rather spend 2 dollars on parts, and not 15 or more dollars on a prefab item that won’t fit my decoys, or do exactly what I want them to do. Besides, I enjoy the process.

Feel free to share your thoughts, or contribute any suggestions via the comments.

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