When You’re Hot, You’re Hot

Dove season in Texas’ central and north zones opens this morning and I thought it appropriate to post this dove hunting story from the past that took place “South Of The Border, Down Mexico Way” near Lake Guerro. Our excessive shooting can’t be condoned, but for excuses, there were so many birds, so few hunters and a “waiver” or “pay off” had been delivered to the local Game Warden, that my friend’s and I reluctantly went aheadfed a lot of poor Mexicans.

Mid-September found us, Tommy Walker, Norman Shelter and our wives,driving in northern Mexico,south of Brownsville, on the way to a fishing camp on Lake Guerro. We were hoping to sample the white wing dove hunting and some fantastic bass fishing! Our destination was almost a hundred miles south of the border towns on the Texas side of the Rio Grande and it was plenty hot, but that didn’t stop us!

Arriving at our destination, we were told that the white wing hunting bordered on stupendous, but the bass fishing had reached rock bottom since commercial netting was rampant and “dynamiting” was on the upswing. After the second morning of trying to catch some bass, we gave up and began concentrating on the birds.

That afternoon we piled into an old school bus with the windows down,for the twenty minute, hot,dusty driveand arrived, sweating, at our hunting spot at 3:00 PM.We werehunting on a five hundred, acre, uncut, milo field. White wings land on thestalks and feed directly from them, while mourning doves land and feed on the ground. The field,borderedby a plateau on itsnorth side that wasused as a roosting area by the white wings,had dense brush and trees, or jungle, on the other three sides. Our guide told us the the roost held between 250,000 and 350,000 birds and local crop depradation was high, but for us not to worry about the limits, that ithad been taken care of.

Based on the guide’s input, Tommy and Norman decided to try for one thousand birds each and I set my goal to see how many shots it would take me to bag a hundred. The birds that we didn’t eat at the camp, or take home, were given to poor families, of which there were many, so there would be no waste of the game. Tommy and Norman were assigned three “bird boys” each and since my goal was low I was only authorized one.

Our spot was between the roost and the field in a hundred yard, wideopening in the trees. The guide told us that the doves would come funneling throught this opening in droves right at 3:30 PM. Funnel in they did! The birds were everywhere and our guns kept up a constant banging and the bird boys were scrambling to pick up the kills. You always hear “them” say, “We shot until our barrels were too hot to touch.” We did and we even had to be careful loading our pump guns and not touching the receivers because they were steaming hot also!

Our guns, since we brought them in from the U.S, were plugged, three shots each and “triples” were common. It took Tommy and Norman two and a halfdays of steady shooting, A.M. and P.M. to get their thousand. Horribly bruised shoulders kept them from shooting for over three weeks! In less than two hours, my one hundred and twenty-nine shots accounted for my hundred.

As “they” say, “When you’re hot, you’re hot!”