Dove Hunting 2022 Part 1

September 1st kicks off the annual Dove Hunting Season. Dove hunting is an important cultural tradition in rural Oklahoma. Each year, thousands of prospective hunters crowd around small ponds, field edges, or anywhere it is legal to discharge a shotgun in hopes of shooting small, gray bullets buzzing through the blue skies. Dove dart by at a blistering 30-55 miles per hour. Knocking these flying frisbees from the air takes lots of skill and luck. The national average for actual dove shot is one dove for every seven shots, or 14 percent. So, with a box of shells holding 25 rounds, one can hope three birds per box. But, we joke that they make shotgun boxes the size that they are so that when after you shoot your 25 rounds, you will have just enough room for the one bird you managed to knock out of the sky.

Now, none of the people I hunt with has ever gone one for 25. I would say, within my group, are collective average hovers one bird per four shots. But, this year, our average was slightly skewed. This year, I finally let my son carry his own gun into the field. He finally graduated from “bird dog” to “dove hunter.” His shooting skills were not as honed or as sharp as the rest of the group. But, by the end of the season, He shot 7 birds for 75 shots.

C waiting patiently for birds to fly into his shooting zone while a storm builds on the horizon.

Of course, C wasn’t the only one eager for hunting. G, my youngest son, absolutely loves the adventure. He is responsible for decoy deployment, bird recovery, bone finding, and snack/water distributor.

G explaining how he uses the rubber mallet to put decoys on the ground and how he may have to use it to guard the snacks.
G showing off one of the wounded birds he had to finish off.

C missed his first few birds. However, he did not get frustrated. I talked him through his mechanics and explained “exercises” he could do between birds. For example, I told him to pick a flower and practice pulling up and aiming at it. I also explained to him the importance of posture, firing lanes, leading the bird, and bird identification. With a little practice (and a lot of birds later), C finally shot his first bird!

C proudly holds his first dove.

Even though the purpose of dove hunting is to hunt dove, the magic is not in the shooting. Instead, dove hunting is about spending time outside. The hot September scenery is gorgeous, as storms build on the horizon. The quiet wilderness with subtle coos, chirps, and grunts of life. The many mysteries and discoveries hiding in mesquite meadows or shallow ravines. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we were not able to go but a few times. But, we made the most of it. From Grayson’s bone collection to Colton’s beaming smile, Dove Hunting 2022 will be one I remember for many years.

A sunlit thunderstorm lazily marching to the east.
The beauty of a muddy pond, surrounded by mesquite trees. We set up on the NE corner of this mudhole for three days, laughing and having a good time.

Normally, my brother takes the doves home with him. However, for a variety of reasons, we were unable to go together much this year. We only managed to go one time together. So, I brought a majority of the birds home with me. We cleaned them and cooked them. I will tell you how next time.

A “limit” that C and I shot together. I shot 12 and he added three. We cleaned and turned these guys into fajitas. We will show you how.
error: Content is protected !!