Cleaning a Dove Quick and Easy

For many hunters Dove season marks the beginning of their upcoming hunting season and is always a much anticipated event. This year is no exception. With the cool weather approaching and the birds beginning to make their way through the area, it should be another great dove season shared with family and friends. 

Opening Dove Day in Oklahoma

After the hunt, there is always one more remaining task that needs to be
handled: cleaning of the birds. Every year in the forums we receive a
lot of the same questions about the methods that are used to properly
clean dove. There really isn’t a wrong way to clean dove, but if you
follow these steps you will soon find out there isn’t a much faster way
to clean one than I am about to reveal.

Buddy and His Dove

Make sure you clean your birds promptly after the hunt. Do not leave them sitting around in the back of your truck in your game bag. Just like any wild game, it should be treated with respect and cared for properly. You will need a few supplies: scissors (game shears), trash bag/can, a 5-gallon bucket of water, and latex gloves (if you aren’t into having dried dove blood under your fingernails for 2 weeks). If there is more than one person cleaning birds, designate one of the cleaners as a wing guy/girl. His or her sole responsibility is to use the game sheers to cut the wings off at the ball-and-socket joint of the dove. This really speeds up the entire process. Grab one of the de-winged birds and place it upright in the palm of your hand. With your opposite hand, place your thumb and index finger on the bird. Thumb goes under breast and index finger goes up towards the head to hold in place and to perform another key role, which will be explained shortly.

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Slowly, insert the thumb under the breast plate while simultaneously lifting up. While lifting, make sure to keep your thumb positioned along the breast plate to help loosen the organs.  While lifting, grab the head of the dove with the hand holding the bird and with one motion pull apart. If done properly, you should now be holding the dove breast in one hand and the remaining parts in your other hand. Throw the remains into the trash bag and begin cleaning up the breast. Once the breast is removed, pull off all the feathers and any remaining skin from the breast before placing it in the water bucket. Remember, practice makes perfect so volunteer to clean your friends' birds until you have it down. I am sure he will not object to your hospitality. View the video below that will demonstrate what you have just learned. I didn't have the fortune of having a wing man for this demonstration so to remove the wings I simply twisted the joint loose and pulled each wing off. Good luck and safe hunting.


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