Trouble finding downed birds.

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by Travis Thacker, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. Travis Thacker

    Travis Thacker 6 pointer

    Sep 1, 2018
    Corbin KY
    Maybe my eyes are getting worse or I simply suck at marking a downed bird but I've lost 4 Dove this year while hunting and I know they were all shot DOA in the air. Watched the birds fall and either marked with my hand or picked out a plant stem to to mark the spot. The last bird I hit yesterday I marked with my hand and walked right over and even found the dang WAD from the shotgun shell and I know it was my PT-28 Remington wad from reloads, even had some copper plate dust on the inside to confirm it was my spent power piston. ( How can a man find the wad but not the dead bird in the grass.
    At this rate I might have to teach a house cat to retrieve birds, can't afford any more pets lol have to make use of the one I have.
  2. Drahts

    Drahts 12 pointer

    Apr 7, 2015
    I'll save ya time, get rid of the cat and get a bird dog! Hunting is always more fun with a dog.
  3. HuntressOfLight

    HuntressOfLight 12 pointer

    Nov 23, 2019
    Guarding my lovely bluebirds
    How much time elapsed, before you arrived at each spot? No idea about Kentucky, but we have large critters in Florida, which won't hesitate taking a free meal.
  4. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

    Nov 17, 2007
    When i first started dove hunting on public fields i would shoot my box or two of shell and end up with a half limit.BUT I found I could typically complete my limit by walking around after others left and picking up wounded or lost birds. I was a better hunter than i was a shooter lol
    Lots of birds get wounded and move enough on the ground to escape person looking. Id say some prescription glasses may help if you cant find dead birds but a dog is certainly best, or maybe some kids.
    I always had ridiculously good eyesight but at 41 im losing it a bit. I can still see movement, the shape of my favorite critters, and mushrooms pretty good.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2021
    Travis Thacker likes this.
  5. Travis Thacker

    Travis Thacker 6 pointer

    Sep 1, 2018
    Corbin KY
    Yea I hit 40 this year and I know my eyes are not what they were a long time ago but at Dr. visits they say I still have 20/20 vision. I can tell years of welding even with the proper gear and lenses have taken a toll on eyesight a bit. I got bad UV burned once due to a reflective surface area that was being used as a trap between welders. ( You would not think a common tarp could reflect UV light but some materials do a great job of it.) Worst pain I ever felt from the neck up that is.
    Usually I can do the same as what you mentioned, walk the field and find feathers and dead or wounded birds if they can still flop or fly a tad bit. I pick up after others a lot so finding shells, wads, even mark-5 shot wraps. It's easy for me to spot them all. The only thing I can come up with is the tall grass and weeds hides them so well or they dive bomb under the stems when hit. I know for a fact that last Dove I hit yesterday went down like a sack of bricks and I walked right over ASAP after pointing to the spot it went down. Walked right up and there was the PT-28 plastic shot cup on the ground and no bird in sight. I did circles from 5PM till 7:30PM looking for that sucker. Was so angry as it's bird #3 I lost in that same field this year.
  6. KY_Fried

    KY_Fried 12 pointer

    Nov 13, 2003
    Foster, KY, USA.
    It's frustrating but it's going to happen. Even with a good dog you'll loose some.
  7. Ezelkyhunter

    Ezelkyhunter 10 pointer

    Nov 28, 2013
    It’s been my experience that if you are in any field taller than 10 inches if you don’t walk straight to the downed bird and literally never take your eye of the spot your going to lose some. I quit trying to shoot doubles etc a long time ago Bc unless it’s a cut and mowed field you’ll never find them.

    I will say if you wait til they land on a power line like some you will find nearly all by just lining yourself up with the line :)
  8. WildmanWilson

    WildmanWilson 12 pointer

    Dec 26, 2004
    Western Ky.
    For one they just blend in and tough to see. I shoot and never take my eye off the spot. Not to reload or shoot another bird. Shoot and walk a straight line immediately to the bird.
    beauhunter41031 and Feedman like this.
  9. Feedman

    Feedman Cyber-Hunter

    May 28, 2003
    In the basement
    I do this also unless it is a clean corn field or wheat field.
  10. slickhead slayer

    slickhead slayer 12 pointer

    Nov 14, 2005
    VP OF ADMIN Development
    Yeah a mt lion came and took his dove but he didn't notice the mt lion.
    Feedman likes this.
  11. Travis Thacker

    Travis Thacker 6 pointer

    Sep 1, 2018
    Corbin KY
    Well there is some merit to the predatory animal thing. I did see a Coyote or large Gray Fox today when I went back out and it was in the same general area of the field that I hunt in. I figure If I can spot that K9 while walking into the field I would have noticed something like that run over a snatch up a dead dove shot not 45 seconds prior.
    Seen 2 deer in the same field today but it was pretty well dead for doves until 630PM, shot one walking out that flew into a tree and about 6-8 more flew over real high so I took shots on them but missed. I've pretty much learned that the high shots will be misses even if I'm on the bird with the pattern it's luck for a #6 pellet to find it's mark with only 3/4 oz worth of Lead. When PRI.Inc gets some more nickel plated #8 or #8 1/2 in I will order it. I've been using #6 copper plated Winchester shot reclaimed from those late 90's Supreme Heavy Field Loads. I bought 5 boxes of that stuff on sale from Buds 5 years ago for 12$ or 13$ a box which was a pretty cheap deal at the time for 1 1/4 oz 12 gauge copper plated. Decided I did not need all 5 boxes, I'll never shoot it all up with the 12 gauge so I scrapped out #2 boxes and got the primers, wads, and shot. Believe it or not that #6 CP is actually pretty well harder then any of the so called "magnum" shot in the modern Super-X Turkey loads or any of the Federal ammo.
  12. Travis Thacker

    Travis Thacker 6 pointer

    Sep 1, 2018
    Corbin KY
    That particular field is just hard to hunt in general. Lots of woods and trees and of course the tall millet and sunflower that was not cut down as good as it was last year. There was actually grass on the edges last year but this year it was grown up real bad and the bush hog settings used to cut the rows must have been set on 6-8" inches tall or more.
    It holds birds well into late season even. You can hear them all over the forested edges and by the creek or ponds in the woods. All day sitting there you will hear them flutter and coo coo coo. The whole 11AM not shooting before thing hurts public field late season. The birds learn real fast to feed early and roost up for the day then migrate out at around 5-7PM in one large flush. You might get one pair or a single bird to decoy low enough into the field and when you shoot it or at it the rest boom out of the trees and climb like a F-15 just out of shooting range.
    Meatstick likes this.
  13. HuntressOfLight

    HuntressOfLight 12 pointer

    Nov 23, 2019
    Guarding my lovely bluebirds
    I was thinking more along the lines of our overzealous snakes and other burrowing critters, as well as gators, but I guess bigfoots might enjoy a bird or two every now and then, too?

    It is rather amazing how intelligent some birds appear to be. I was hearing and seeing many doves around here, same with geese, but they seem to know precisely when to become quiet and more stealth.

    My dogs just bolted in chase of something again. Second time within thirty minutes. I think that I must have a friendly raccoon. Whatever it is ran right past me last night. I could hear its nails clicking upon the sidewalk, before it vanished into one flowerbed in serious need of weeding. I caught merely a split second glance of it, as it ran past me. No lights but clear skies.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
  14. bondhu

    bondhu 12 pointer

    Jul 3, 2015
    Battle Run
    Take the cat to the pound and swap it for a dog.
  15. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

    Mar 14, 2005
    Take off your sunglasses when looking for them. I have found sometimes the sunglasses tints can affect how the eyes perceive the colors and contrasts of a downed bird. Fwiw
    bowhunter269 and Feedman like this.

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