Mourning dove hunting: Tough-to-hit little buggers
A chance encounter recently led to me getting permission to hunt a new dove spot. The farm, all 450 acres of it, is located just down the road from my house. The doves on the farm are thick as thieves, and they are city birds, which tends to equal easier hunting. All of these thoughts rattled through my head as I did a quick drive-by to check the spot on opening day.
Six birds picked away at foxtail along a field road, which was all I needed to see to skip work for a few hours and grab my Lab and my 20-gauge. We flushed the birds walking in, but I didn’t care. After setting out a few decoys, Luna and I settled into the corn and waited.
The first pair to fly in offered a hard-crossing shot and I missed with my first barrel. He wasn’t so lucky on his way out, and after Luna brought the first-of-the-season dove to hand I settled in with freshly loaded barrels. After that, it was an exercise in frustration. Far easier shots came my way and every one of them resulted in a dove sailing off into the distance no worse for the wear.
It was a good reminder that whenever I’m getting to cocky about my shotgunning skills, I just need to spend some time dove hunting. Nothing flusters me as much. Not grouse, pheasants, or ducks. There is something about doves that causes me wingshooting fits. That’s OK, though, because it’s still fun to hunt them.
And despite my recent poor, poor shooting, I’ll be back. That spot has too many birds, and we’ve got some nice fall grilling weather coming up. Somehow I plan to figure out a way to scratch a few more from the sky if for nothing more than to prove to myself I still can.