Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting on Vancouver Island

Anything you need to know about the best time, places, outfitters, and regulations of Vancouver Island band-tailed pigeon hunting, you can find them here. We are ready to help you make a rewarding BC hunting opportunity.

The content is valid until June 30, 2024.

Some bird hunters say that band-tails are challenging to shoot. Band-tailed pigeon hunting will surprise hunters as it is harder than one may imagine. These migratory game birds fly fast, so don't skip this chance if you think you are talented. With 33-40 cm (13-15.7 inches) long and a mean body mass of 342-364 g (12-12.8 oz), they are on the BC Blue List. They are protected in BC under the BC Wildlife Act. Band-tailed pigeons may be rare to watch, which is why its hunting season is just 15 days.
A band-tailed pigeon is a wild pigeon from North America having a black transverse band on its tail. This small game is medium-sized, dark overall, with a purple-grey head and distinctive white crescent on the hindneck. In Canada, the breeding range of the band-tailed pigeon is restricted to BC, specifically on the south coast. Its range in BC expanded northward along the coast and eastward into the Southern Interior in the 1980s, but it has since largely disappeared from the Interior. Band-tailed pigeon population sizes in Canada and Vancouver Island are unknown. Some estimate the Canadian population to be 2,500-10,000 mature individuals, but those numbers are not based on any population census. Mark-resighting data from mineral sites suggest several tens of thousands or more is a reasonable estimate of current populations in Canada. Extrapolations from Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS) indicate between 43,000 and 170,000 birds in Canada, but these are not precise or robust estimates. At Vanisle Hunters, we help you recognize their feeding areas, best times, methods, and outfitters for a successful hunt.

History of Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting on Vancouver Island

Band-tailed pigeon hunting has a long history of importance. This small game was mainly harvested for food. But during the last 100 years, it came to attention as a game bird for sports hunters. For now, few hunters pursue band-tailed pigeons in Canada, and mainly it is a delightful choice for birdwatchers.

Vancouver Island Band-tailed Pigeon Hunters

September can be considered a slightly cold and rainy time on Vancouver Island which many choose for swimming and sunbathing. Whether you are a professional or beginner hunter, get the most out of your time by going into the wilderness area to hunt band-tailed pigeons and gamebirds of wild type. All hunters must possess a valid Canadian Migratory Game Bird hunting permit in addition to any required provincial hunting licence for hunting band-tailed pigeons. You may be interested in having a bird dog with you. A dog can be helpful for you as a hunter, and dogs are permitted in hunting all game animals. Unleashed dogs may be used to hunt small game. Having binoculars with you will help to spot birds sitting on top of the trees and flocks.

After all, band-tailed pigeons are not the only game for harvesting on Vancouver Island. Whether you are a bird hunter or a big game hunter, there is always a legal target for you while you are on Vancouver Island. Even if you're trying to decide what kind of hunter you desire to be, we are here to help you.

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Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting Trip

Reasons to Hunt Band-tailed Pigeon on Vancouver Island

Band-tailed pigeons were once a popular game among hunters. Then they fell out of favour due to the decreased numbers, and hunters went to other birds for sport. Many people widely eat pigeons. Some say that band-tailed pigeons' taste is more like an elk steak. Each year you have only 15 days to look for and hunt band-tailed pigeons on Vancouver Island. As they are tough and rare game animals, take the opportunity to try your skill level in hunting these birds. Whether you are a bird hunter or not, even though you may face difficulties along the way, we help you to experience a successful hunting adventure.

Where to Hunt Band-tailed Pigeon on Vancouver Island?

The forests of the east and south are the main areas for band-tailed pigeons on Vancouver Island. Pursuing this game bird, you will reach a dead-end in your attempts if you try the asphalt and concrete jungles or barns.
Mineral sites are important seasonal habitats for band-tailed pigeons in British Columbia as sources of sodium. Foraging habitats include areas with flowering and berry-producing trees, and bushes are their favourites.
The best-studied race of band-tailed pigeons is the inhabitants of British Columbia. According to BBS data, the highest numbers of band-tailed pigeons in BC occur in the southwest mainland and southern Vancouver Island.
Band-tailed pigeons live between sea level and 1,000 feet (305 m) of elevation on the Pacific Coast in temperate rainforests of trees such as red cedar, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, red alder, and Douglas-fir. In September, on Vancouver Island, Red Elderberry is a favoured food. For now, the management units (MU) or the hunting areas designated by BC regulation for hunting band-tailed pigeons are 1-1 to 1-15 on the region 1 (Vancouver Island) map. After all, hunters should be aware of no hunting and shooting areas on Vancouver Island.

When to Hunt Band-tailed Pigeon on Vancouver Island?

The season for band-tailed pigeon hunting on Vancouver Island is short. It takes 15 days, from Sept 15 to Sept 30. During this time, the bag limit is five. If you wonder about the best time of day to hunt these birds, band-tailed pigeons are active during daylight hours.

Conditions for Hunting Band-tailed Pigeon on Vancouver Island

✔️ Weather Condition:
Hunting band-tailed pigeon needs dry weather, in perfect condition, with some cloud cover. Rain may be a miserable affair. Everything gets soaked, and the birds are reluctant to move. Band-tailed pigeons will stop coming as soon as the rain starts. It turns out that birds have a natural ability to sense weather patterns, so knowing that the rain will stop shortly, turning on again soon after it does. Pigeons will not move in fog and, even if they do, will descend to the nearest field.
✔️ Wind:
The wind is a factor that determines how band-tailed pigeons approach and how much subsequent shooting disrupts the flight line. The strength of the wind completely dictates roost shooting.

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Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting Methods on Vancouver Island

Hunters do not have the defined same ways to experience band-tailed pigeon hunting. But it's expected to choose the best hunting methods according to your skills.

Shotgun Hunting

You can hunt migratory game birds using shotguns. Despite the law that the possession or use of a shot other than the non-toxic shot is prohibited, there is an exception for pigeons. The shotgun you use must not be loaded with a single projectile or be larger than a ten gauge. Hunters must not hunt migratory game birds with more than one shotgun unless each gun in excess of one is disassembled or unloaded and encased.

Archery Hunting

Bowhunting (or bow hunting) is a classic but challenging method for hunting birds. Band-tailed pigeons are fast and tough to bring down. Be patient and remember that they may continue to fly after getting shot. Hit hard at the right time.

Hunting with Dogs

Dogs are wonderful companions for hunters, and having a skilled hunting dog will help retrieve birds. According to British Columbia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, dogs are allowed to hunt all game species, and unleashed dogs may be used to hunt small game.

Calling Pigeons

A skilled bird caller can convince birds to travel a long distance to check out the calls they hear. To not disturb band-tailed pigeons' behaviour, it is best to synchronize your calls and not call when they are in flight or close to you.

Hunting from a Blind

Band-tailed pigeons benefit from excellent eyesight; that is why staying well-hidden without any movement will help bird hunters. Raising shotguns too early will scare passing or incoming band-tails away.

Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting Regulations on Vancouver Island

Regulations| BC Band-tailed-pigeon Hunts| Region 1

Vancouver Island Band-tailed Pigeon Hunt Cost

A one-day simple band-tailed pigeon hunt without the price of a licence, lodging, cleaning and packaging, shotgun, blinds, and any other gear will cost around $200-$300.

Choose Among the Best Guide Outfitters for Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting in BC

You may need tips, tactics, and advice on band-tailed pigeon hunting, but reading about it alone won't make you a pigeon hunter. It is time to practice. Solo hunting trips will involve mistakes and failures. Right guide outfitters for band-tailed pigeon harvesting help you overcome those challenges.
Besides the advantages of accompanying quality and experienced guides, the best gear you need would be available.
If you don't know a place to hunt near your hometown, hire a guide.
To experience a successful hunting tour:
1- Plan for it in advance.
2- Choose the lawful area you intend to hunt migratory game birds.
3- Apply for and obtain the necessary licence.
4- Select the right outfitter.

An outfitted trip is not only for unskilled hunters. Hiring a professional outfitter or guide provides a truly world-class hunt. It helps you access the best areas for hunting on Vancouver Island and new vistas of an outdoor adventure.

Tips and Tricks to Make Your Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting Trip a Success on Vancouver Island

✓ Band-tails are known to sit on the fir tree's very tips.
✓ Pigeons are swift birds; that is why hunters should be quick on the swing.
✓ As band-tailed pigeons are tougher to bring down than you might think, it would be best to have extra shells.
✓ Band-tailed pigeon hunters should focus on locating a food source to harvest the game successfully.
✓ Take the wind speed and sun into account for a successful shot.
✓ Studying band-tailed pigeons' behaviour beforehand is recommended to know their habits, flight paths, and routes.
✓ Birds' UV and 2D vision make them able to spot us from very long distances. It is why good camouflage will be helpful.

Customize Your Hunting Trip on Vancouver Island

Duck & Goose
Snowshoe Hare
Band-tailed pigeon

Vancouver Island Band-tailed Pigeon Hunting Common Questions and Answers

According to "Band-tailed Pigeon Management Plan 2019", band-tailed pigeons are blue-listed by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre (B.C. CDC 2009).
Band-tailed pigeons mostly eat berries. In September, on Vancouver Island, Red Elderberry is their favoured meal.
Band-tailed pigeons previously travelled in large flocks. Now they have become uncommon in most areas in Canada, but they still thrive on the west coast and Vancouver Island, specifically in Victoria.
Yes. Many people widely eat band-tailed pigeons.
Band-tailed pigeons' speed can reach 77.6 mph (124.8 kph) for short periods, but they can fly as fast as 92.5 mph (148.8 kph).
Yes. But it is illegal to use live birds as decoys or recorded bird calls to hunt game birds on Vancouver Island.
Band-tailed pigeons are mainly migratory species, but there are also resident groups. Migratory birds breed and nest in British Colombia.
Yes, have band-tailed pigeon hunting experience during the open season, out of protected areas with proper licence. Consider bag limits and other regulations.
From Sept 15 to Sept 30.
Choose the necessary equipment to keep yourself safe, warm and comfortable; among them are ear and eye protection accessories and waterproof and windproof clothes. Camouflage clothing like balaclavas, caps, and gloves will give you more chances to have a successful hunt.

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