Opening Day Part 1: Morning of Mournings

My dad’s boss has a piece of land between Manor and Elgin.  It’s actually about five or ten minutes away from our shooting range, no more than that.  So the first night we got there, we got that piece of land mixed up with another one.  We ended up driving around on the wrong piece of land for a while.  When we figured that out, it stung quite a bit because there were doves, doves, and more doves.  When we drove up to the big pond, tons of doves flew up.  We were ecstatic until we learned we couldn’t hunt there.

Until we called the number on the gate.  Then, we were hooked up to a guy named Dennis, who owned the piece of land with all the doves.  He very kindly said we could hunt on his land.

So, on August 31, yesterday at the time of writing, we packed all our stuff up and went to bed excited.  My dad would be getting to hunt with me, which was rare, and for the first time ever, my 9-year-old brother would be hunting, too.

We got up at 5:15 A.M. on September 1 (today at the time of writing), had a quick breakfast, and left at 6.  Since it was so early, there was no traffic at all, so we got there within 20 minutes.  We walked around the pond and set up a few decoys.  We had four plastic doves that were in the roosting position.  We clipped those onto a fence, then set up our decoy that had battery-powered wings and another that had wind-powered wings.  When the wings turned, they looked exactly like real doves.

There were two other guys on the piece of land.  They were much better shots than we were, and they were dropping a few birds, but there weren’t very many birds at all.  It was a little disappointing, but we stayed there anyways.

Good thing, too!

Eventually, the sun got higher and we couldn’t see because it was right in our faces, so we moved to a slightly different spot.  Then, at about 8:00, the birds really started to come in.   Often, of course, they were way too far out, but we got shots.

Only problem was that we sucked.  We couldn’t hit anything.

Then, another one came in.  I felt confident.  Me and my dad stopped walking and waited.  It flew right over our heads.  Both of us shot, and it went down!

We had to finish it off.  It was a mourning dove, but for one of those, it was pretty big.  All of them were pretty big.

We put the dove in my belt pouch and kept hunting.

That’s when it got insane.  Tons of birds poured in, in ones and twos, yes, but also in big swarms, all coming to the decoys with the spinning wings.  We were constantly shooting.  At one point, in fact, I had used up my ammo and was reloading when there must’ve been 20 or more doves over our heads!  My brother William and my dad both shot, but they didn’t get any.  I couldn’t even shoot.

Then, William and my dad both shot and dropped one– William’s first dove.  He was really excited.  We found it and took it back.

By that time, it just didn’t stop.  William got another one.  We had a really hard time finding it, but we managed in the end.  My dad shot two, but they both dropped in the water.  I put one in the water, too, and it got a little frustrating, so we moved the decoys further away from the water.

I got another one.  My dad got one.  I thought I hit one and my dad went to look.  It turned out I had missed mine, but then we heard him shoot and yell:

“Got another one!”

I got one more.  Then, I shot and missed– or did I?  I wasn’t sure.  My dad said I just clipped its tail feathers, so it was still alive and well.  I wanted to check anyways.  So we went over there, but another one flew over our heads and I got it.  So we went back and picked it up.  Then, we went again to find that other one.  Another one flew over our heads.  I dropped it!  We got it and tried again.  This time, we made it without any distractions, but it wasn’t there.

Later, after we were done, we were heading back to the truck and we saw a dead dove on the ground.  It was missing its tail feathers.  That was the one I had hit!

So the total came out to ten doves– ten doves!  That was, of course, a record for me.  Then we noticed that they were all mourning doves, without a single whitewing in the mix.

That was awesome.  The reason I called this part one is because I’ll be recording dove season down in a day-by-day format.  So this part and the evening session of the same day will be one hunt.

Speaking of the evening session, we’ll be leaving to go do it in about ten minutes.  I’ll put the story up tomorrow or the next day.

…And may you always have meat in the freezer

 

 

 

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