The Big Country – A Record On Doves

In the late 1990’s, the town of Millersview, Texas consisted of a one pump, gas station/feed store, a Post Office and a WW II memorial.  Millersview is in the part of west Texas known as “The Big Country”. It’s on Farm/Market Road 765, in Concho County, 55 miles west of Goldthwaite and 40 miles east of San Angelo and the closest town, Eden, is 20 miles away.

Back then, 3 miles outside of Millersview, I was on a 2,000 acre, quail/deer lease with plenty of mesquite and prickly pear cactus.  Lease rules were positively no shooting of turkeys and a minimum of 10 points on a buck. There was a nice camp house with running water and indoor facilities and the place was loaded with game, including big deer and “mucho” quail.

Having just signed up on a the new hunting lease near Millersview, the opening of dove season found me standing by myself, in the shade of a mesquite tree, the sun on my right and a 1/2 acre stock tank to my front.  The banks of the tank were sandy/gravelly, just right for doves to use.

Arriving at the tank around 4:00 PM, too early for the birds to water, I sat real still and watched the songbirds and, of all things, the deer, eight or ten doe came into the water.  There was a lot of shooting that I guessed was about a mile away on a bordering ranch and I was hoping that the birds would come into the tank that I was guarding.

One hour later, here came the doves!  Beginning with a trickle, I knocked down the first two and they both fell just in front of me, right on the tank damn,.  Picking my shots, being careful not to splash one into the water, the doves kept falling and I stopped for a minute and counted up.  Eleven birds, then I counted my empty shells, eleven shots.  Counting the empty shells was easy, because we always picked up the fired hulls for 1, reloading and 2, because the cows would try to eat them.

Thinking back, I had never having gone straight on a limit of doves, I had run over a hundred and fifty straight on clay birds in trap and downed twenty straight Mearns quail, but not the diving, twisting and turning doves.

Here came number twelve, right at me, and easy head on shot.  Covering the bird, for some reason, I raised my head and missed!  The dove veered to the right and pow, my second shot dropped it right into the tank.  Chunking rocks and cow chips at the bird, the waves brought it to the bank and then it was in my bag.

Twelve for thirteen is still not bad and the new lease got only got better.