Dove Hunting Guide
Dove hunting for generations
Schlamann family continues family tradition with annual hunt
Like grandfather, like father, like son.
This dove hunting season, Bill and Seth Schlamann look to continue a family tradition in Yuma County that spans multiple generations.
Bill Schlamann is originally from Webster, South Dakota. Just under 1,800 people inhabit the small town located in the northeast region of the state. As an eight-year old, he first experienced hunting with ducks as the main target. By age 10, Schlamann moved onto dove hunting.
By 1962, Schlamann family had moved to Arizona where Bill continued his love for the outdoors and hunting. To this day, Bill’s father Neal, 86, still hunts and fishes in South Dakota.
Meanwhile, Bill and his son Seth, a Yuma native, have been going dove hunting together in Yuma County for over a decade. Now 23, Seth said he loves the thrill of the hunt so much, he cannot picture a life without it.
“I love to go out there and hunt. I’m never going to stop,” Seth said. “It’s definitely going to be something that will always be a part of my life.”
When out in the field searching for doves, the Schlamanns said they keep a basic approach when it comes to gear. Bill said he wears shorts, flip flops and a regular T-shirt. As for Seth, he may wear the occasional camouflage shirt, but does not feel it is an essential part of his wardrobe for hunting doves.
“I usually just stick with basic neutral colors for the most part. For doves, their visual senses aren’t too great, so I don’t think you need to dress in head-to-toe camo. They mostly rely on sensing movement to get away from predators, so if you don’t stay still, they will fly away from you,” Seth explains.
Typically, the Schlamanns prefer to do their dove hunting in the very early morning hours. The pair try to be out of the house by around 5:306:30 a.m. and prepared to start their quest during the shooting light hour of 7 a.m. In addition to beating the early morning heat, Seth stressed the importance of getting a head start on staking out a prime location in the field.
“In Yuma, hunters are very competitive. If you show up a little bit late, there is probably going to somebody already camped out in your spot,” he added.
One of Seth’s fondest memories during his evolution as a dove hunter came at the age of 14. He said he received his prized shotgun that he still uses today as a late birthday present, a 12-gauge semi automatic Tristar. Family friend Clint Curry used to own a local gun shop and let him try out the shotgun, then insisted that young hunting enthusiast keep it as a gift.
“It was virtually brand new when I got it, and it’s never failed me all these years later. When I was younger and didn’t really understand how to take care of and maintain guns, it still worked perfectly fine. One time, about two inches of a spring came off. I never bothered to replace it and it still works great,” Schlamann shares.
When it comes to an epic dove hunting moment, the Schlamanns have a most unique tale as part of its family history. One time during a hunt, the elder Schlamann was with his son and a friend. The friend asked Bill to hold his shotgun while he stepped away for a moment. Now armed with his friend’s shotgun and his own, the veteran hunter suddenly saw two doves flying overhead and was in range for a shot.
With a shotgun strapped over each shoulder, Schlamann fired both weapons simultaneously and shot both doves. Normally a right-handed shooter, he said it was the only time he ever shot left-handed. The tactic worked to perfection.
“I didn’t have much time to think about it, I just kind of reacted. But I guess I was also trying to show off a little bit,” Schlamann laughed. “Seth was real young back then, so he was very impressed, but so was I.”