My first morning of dove season found me on my lease in a wheat field that was across the road from, what looked to be, the best dove field in the county (also part of my lease). Why didn't I hunt across the road you ask? Well, last year I did hunt what appeared to be the best field, but the crowds were terrible and there was a near altercation that I would rather not go into. This year I wanted more space so I planned to intercept the doves coming and going into the primary field from my secondary location and it turned out nicely. I had more than enough room and could enjoy myself with plenty of birds to go around.
It is always a humbling experience the first morning of dove season. You discover just how "out of practice" you really are. Your gun can only hold three shells per the federal regulations governing migratory bird harvest, so when a dove flies over and you empty your gun "BAM, BAM, BAM" and then the dove continues to fly by unscathed you realize "seriously, I need to practice more!" Although as the morning went on I began to find my rhythm. I made some really great shots bringing down 7 birds. I had only taken a half day vacation from work, so I had to call it quits by 9:30 AM.
Thursday night was also great. I returned to the same location by 6:30 PM and the birds were already moving. I shot two while I was placing my decoys! Everything was coming together as the birds were flying by in range and my shooting had vastly improved from the morning. I was able to get the second half of my limit (8 more birds) bringing my total for the day to the 15 bird limit.
Friday evening I returned to my new "favorite spot" as soon as I could arrive after work. There were two other hunters North of me along a tree row and I noticed that the one of the hunters nearest me wasn't doing so well. He had a mojo decoy, but it was set up really close to his position and he was focusing his gaze to the East, but the doves were coming from the North West. Multiple times, groups of birds flew over him and directly to me. He didn't see them until I was unloading my 870 Remington pump into the sky and doves were raining down. I thought about approaching him and giving him a few friendly suggestions, but he looked grumpy and I don't like giving advice to armed grumpy fellas. The final straw was when he decided to pick up his spent shotgun shells and at that precise moment the biggest group of dove that evening flew directly over his position. I had time to watch them approach me so I picked out the lead bird as it drew close. After bringing down the first bird I and was able to pick up a second before the group passed. I walked out to get my birds and I could see him throwing his gear into his pickup to leave looking even more aggravated. He didn't even wave when he drove out!
I spent the rest of the weekend with my family, but did sneak in one brief Labor Day morning hunt. Things had gone downhill with the cold front blowing in. I only saw a handful of dove and my outings since have also not been productive either. Still, I have three nice freezer bags of dove awaiting their date with a grill in the future. Hopefully the hunting will pick-up again in a few weeks. If not, there is always Deer season come October 1!