Early Birds

Be ready for fall’s first hunts by choosing loads tailored to the situation and species.

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Man petting dog holding shotgun and ducks

The weather might still feel like summer, but early fall gives up hot action for hunters. Teal and doves are two of the first opportunities for most of the country, and these fast, flighty birds are a potent reality-check for hunters who let their shooting skills dull during the long off-season.

One of the best ways to connect on opening day—besides year-round practice with trap, skeet and sporting clays—is to select the right loads. Let’s take a look at two of your best bets.


Anyone who’s ever gone to the plug without touching a feather on a hard-crossing teal can appreciate a velocity advantage, and HEVI-Teal® offers one. The first all-steel shotshell from HEVI-Shot®, HEVI-Teal leaves the muzzle at a blistering 1,500 fps, which is a solid 50 fps faster than competing steel loads. Besides reducing how much you have to lead birds, this velocity delivers 9 percent more energy at 30 yards and 8 percent more at 40.

Combine that with a best-in-class wad and precision manufacturing techniques, and you get more knockdown power and fewer cripples—not only on early teal hunts but all season long.

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12 gauge HEVI-XII packaging and shotshells

HEVI-Hammer Dove

If you’re hunting a lead-free dove field, you’re in a tight spot. Do you sacrifice all the performance of classic lead loads and go with straight steel, or splurge on high-dollar, heavier-than-lead alternatives on what’s sure to be a high-round hunt.

Now you don’t have to sacrifice performance—or your checking account. HEVI-Hammer® Dove combines the economy of steel with the density advantage of bismuth. A full 15 percent of the payload is made up of 9.6 g/cc HEVI-Bismuth™ pellets cast at the HEVI-Shot foundry in Sweet Home, Oregon. Those pellets are layered over the remaining 85 percent of the payload, precision steel shot.

The bismuth is the same shot size as the steel, and that small but mighty leading edge packs nearly 50 percent more knockdown power than the steel at 40 yards. This gives you great overall pattern density as well as the power of classic lead.

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12 gauge HEVI-XII packaging and shotshells

Two Loads, Endless Options

With a variety of payloads in 12 and 20 gauge, both HEVI-Teal and HEVI-Hammer Dove are ready for anything early fall can dish out. Choose the one that suits your species and situation, and then get the season started right.