Monday, September 12, 2011

The 2011 Dove Season Has Finally Arrived!

Dove Season has the most enviable placement among all the hunting seasons in Texas and Oklahoma as it is the first hunting season of the Fall.  Hunters across the area wait in anticipation of being able to once again go afield and have an outdoor adventure.  This year it seemed as though dove season would never arrive with the merciless +100 degree days and no rain in sight, but after much preparation and patience September 1 did arrive.

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!


  1. Glad to hear you kicked off your fall hunting season piling up dove bodies. nice decoys too.

  2. T. Chris, nice video of a dove hunt, I tried to flim some birds being shot on film, no luck. Glad to see someone else excited about the opening of dove hunting.

  3. Savage, those decoys are worth their weight in gold, they really do the trick!

    RiverMud, thanks for the kind words on the pic. I am always trying to dream up a cool shot and every once in a while it works.

    Tonto Rambler, I have to work hard to contain myself I get so excited about finally getting to hunt after months of waiting. If you figure out a good way to video dove hunting by yourself, please let me know. I have a new respect for outdoor hunting shows and the lengths they go to, to get the perfect footage.