Dove Hunt

This past Tuesday afternoon, I went to a friends ranch and had some fantastic shooting, the white wings were plentiful and my new shotgun actually felt comfortable!  The only problem, it was hot, 102, and the shade, even though there was a nice breeze, was hot too!

The small lake was originally about 5 acres, but with the heat, the cattle watering and the lack of rain, it has shrunk to stock tank size.  The picture shows the extent of our drought.  The past year I hunted far to the right of the picture, under the copious oak trees, around the bend of the lake.  The lake is down about 10 feet and our conditions are much worse that last year’s record drought!

Taking up a position, in the shade of course, behind the lake dam, I eagerly awaited the white wings.  Slipping two shells into my shotgun, I cycled the action, thinking there was a shell in the chamber, waited and sweated.  My wait wasn’t long as a group of birds, 8 or 10, came barreling in, picking one out and pulling the trigger, click, nothing happened, no puff of feathers, nothing but the click and later I found out that the chamber should be loaded first, duh!

After about 10 minutes, the doves really started piling in, picking one out, boom, I knocked it down and if it wasn’t for the white stripe on the wing this one would have been very hard to find.  Also, I was shooting gray shells, they were really hard to find!

The second white wing was a head on shot and it almost fell into the water, landing right on the edge.  Close to the edge it was boggy, looks can be deceiving, it will look like good footing, but one step too many and down to the boot tops, so I found a long stick, rolled the bird out until it was clear of the mud and added it to my bag.

Stopping shooting with 8 birds in my bag, 10 shots all told, but I only found 9 gray shells. If you count the failure to insert a shell into the chamber on my first bird, 8 for 11 attempts, still not bad.  Limit shooting would have been easy, birds were everywhere and my shooting was, like the weather, hot, but in the excitement of the hunt, I forgot my water, left it at home and was dry, “spittin’ cotton”, thank goodness it was only a 10 minute drive to my house.

Adding a note about picking up the shells, cattle will chew up any shells left on the ground, the brass can’t be digested so all shells should be picked up!