A dove hunt to remember – Second Place, Junior Prose

I was really excited about this hunting trip because a cousin
was taking my dad and I on our first dove hunt. I had done some
reading on this kind of hunting the previous week. One thing I read
was that it takes an average of eight shots for every dove taken.
That made me a little nervous, especially because I would be using
a single shot .410. I also read that doves can fly up to 55 miles
per hour. That was hard to imagine. After a lot of preparation, the
big day was finally here.

When we arrived at the first field, we got out the hunting
equipment and guns from the bed of the pick-up truck. My cousin
carried the decoy bag and my dad and I each carried the chairs. We
hiked our way past a pond and through a strip of woods and into the
field. There were two large rows of wheat running parallel to each
other.

My cousin had some cool decoys, which we set up. One of them sat
on a pole about two feet above the ground. Inside the decoy was a
battery pack that made the wings spin when it was turned on. As we
sat in the grain field, we watched flocks of blackbirds fly over.
Even though I thought the decoys would attract a lot of doves,
after an hour we still had no action. A little discouraged, we
decided to try a different field.

Soon, we pulled into another gravel parking lot with new hope.
Again we unpacked and made our way to the field. This field had a
very long, thick row of standing corn. As we approached the corn,
my cousin mentioned how promising it looked. He suggested that he
walk on one side and my dad and I walk on the other.

We slowly made our way down the long strip of corn. Without any
warning, my dad suddenly blurted out, “There’s one, Brad!” I looked
up and saw a dove as it burst from the corn. Quickly shouldering my
gun, I flipped off the safety. Peering down the shiny barrel of my
.410, I swung it to my right and toward the bird. The steel bead
approached the gray dove, which was making a fast escape to the
nearby woods. As my sight passed the dove, I squeezed the trigger.
The shotgun recoiled into my shoulder with a loud bang.

After the shot, I broke open my gun and ejected the spent shell.
I reached into the pocket of my camouflage hunting coat and took
out another. I dropped it into the barrel and closed the gun. A
moment later, I looked up and saw some thin, white tail feathers
gently floating down. The feathers caught a ray of sun as they
drifted. I stood there, wide-eyed, scanning the surrounding woods,
ready for another shot. When I realized no more were coming, I
eased my grip on the gun and let out a long breath. I stood there,
partially frozen, trying to get my heart rate back to normal. Once
we started walking again, my hands were still shaking. I had just
had my first case of dove fever.

Throughout the rest of the day, none of us got off another shot.
Even though we didn’t bring home any doves, the experience of 
hunting them was really exciting and now I think I’m hooked. I
can’t wait until next season. I’m hoping my next shot will go
against the odds and get that dove!

Categories: Youth Writing Contest

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