Dove Eve September 5, Dove Day September 6, 2014

Dove Day is just two months away and this is your friendly reminder of things to know and things to do. The following information is not totally inclusive, and you might need some medicine or good luck charms or other nonsense so pay attention and take care of yourself.

Once again we will meet for dinner at the Section Hand Restaurant in Brownwood where Keith Lane will reserve the John Wayne room for us on Dove Eve, September 5th, time: 6:32 or thereabouts, so be there. At that time you will be given the exact time to meet our guide in the lobby of the Hampton Inn and it will be sometime around 5:30 am on September 6. You are expected to be packed up and ready to roll at that time, not just fix’n to. Each year the hotel has had a breakfast sack ready for us so we will try to have Leroy confirm that again.

Things to know — Number One is Safety —
No loaded guns until you are at your station in the field and it is legal shooting time which will be 6:44 am on September 6, no exceptions. You will shoot at birds on the wing with lots of sky under them, you will not shoot towards other guys and if you walk up on a wounded dove and it takes wing make sure of the direction you are shooting when you take your shot. We decided that we don’t need to have anyone take a Dick Cheney shot so, don’t be a Dick.

When you need to set your gun down it is good to have the action locked open and we never put a loaded gun into a vehicle. Your gun will be plugged so that it holds no more than three shells, two in the magazine and one in the chamber, or if you are shooting a double barrel then you are set with two shells.
There will be no alcohol until guns are empty cased up and put away. We never drink alcohol while shooting.

Now, in the field, pay attention and be aware of others, remember no specific dove needs to be shot. Also, I don’t need to be shot either, nor does my son David, so if there is any question of having a safe shot or not, let it go and set up for the next dove coming in. When you shoot a dove it is your responsibility to recover the dove and keep it in edible condition. That means that you keep your birds in your own zip lock bag with your name on the bag and get the bird on ice as soon as possible. It is against the law to mix one hunter’s birds with another’s. In the past I have had a game ranger make me line up all of my birds in a row so he could count them. I was lucky. I was one under the limit and I thought I was two under so keep an accurate count of your doves. Our limit this year is 15 doves and no more than two white tip which have lot more white on them than white wings. Please ask me if you have questions about the type of dove you have shot and don’t shoot any practice birds cause they can be expensive.

Number Two — Stuff —
My suggestion on guns is either 12 or 20 ga. with 7 1/2 or 8 shot and at least four boxes of 25 in field loads. If you have removable chokes you will do best with modified, improved cylinder or more open chokes. Before Dove Day please clean your gun and put just a bit of oil on the action so it will work when you pull the trigger and you won’t have to tear it down while the rest of us are shooting. One of those cheap dove belt things from Walmart or Academy is a great way to keep your shells right at hand and tuck your dead doves away until you can put them on ice. Do not leave your nice dead doves on the ground or stuck in a tree while you keep on shooting since they will be full of ants in about thirty seconds.

Before you go out to Brownwood you need to buy your hunting license and it is required to have the migratory bird thingy and you need to be H.I.P. certified which means you have to tell them how many birds you shot last year, even if that is zero. Have a current license and a photo ID on your personal self when you are shooting. Our out of state hunters can get a five day license for a reasonable price. By the way, do not shoot from a car or truck, not even sitting on a tail gate because that is illegal and it can be real expensive since dove hunting comes under federal migratory bird laws. Last year we shot mostly white-wing doves and those along with mourning doves count towards you 15 doves for the day.

When it comes to your personal self, dress in some sort of buff, brown or cammo stuff. It does not have to be expensive or super Ninja gear, but the better you blend into your background, the better your chances of hitting doves will be. I was asked about boots. Since we do have snakes, and some have rattles, here in Texas I would recommend some sort of ankle protection, but since I won’t be getting bit, it will be your choice and I am not going to waste good hunting time taking you
into the hospital. Remember snakes think people taste like chicken. Head gear is nice to keep the sun off your goofy head and bug spray will keep the little critters from eating you up and sun screen will keep you from turning red. Please take care of your self. In answer to a question from one of our guys several years ago, no you do not have to wear Under-armor underwear, Walmart underwear will be fine.

Eye protection is a good thing sine pellets can rain down from time to time and hearing protection will keep your ears working longer so you won’t have to be saying “Huh?” all the time like me. And reminding you once more, sunscreen and bug repellent are good and if you have a little snack stuff it might make you feel better with that blood sugar crap. Keep on drinking lots of water or Gatorade type stuff all the time and not become dehydrated and you will be better company for the rest of us. A nice cammo chair and cooler will make your stay in the field a bit more comfortable and most of us are way past the years when we have to go out of our way to be uncomfortable. My Army years ended in 1970 and since then I have worked hard to make outdoor time comfortable and I have been accused, like our friend Leroy of traveling like a British Colonel.

Some extra hunting gear tips; the Mo-Jo dove stuff really works and those little plastic decoy doves help so if you bring some of those you can set them up in front of your shooting station and they just might bring more doves right to you. If you don’t bring any of that stuff, that is just fine because I will have some in front of me and that means some doves might fly past you after I shoot at them and miss.

Number three — Have a Good time —
So there you have it, our purpose is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, especially at the other guy’s expense so be gentleman hunters. Leave the field like we found it, pick up your shells and any litter and just leave tracks. We will clean our doves back in town and not leave a mess of feathers and bird parts for the landowner to see. If you are in a sweet spot and another hunter is not having much luck offer to change places for awhile and if you shoot a dove at the same time as another please just tell him that he shot that one and set up to take the next one that flies in. If you shoot a lot of holes in the sky and don’t hit too many doves than you are one of thousands of hunters just like us who shoot at doves on opening dove day and you will still have a great time.

If you want meat go buy some chickens at the grocery store but if you want to have a wonderful experience, then join us in harvesting some of the most expensive little bits of meat in the world and have a great time doing it. Remember we are hunting on land that provided food for American Indians for thousands of years and we are just a little tiny part of a long tradition of folks who make meat.

I have been told by Mike Wyatt at Firstshot Outfitters that we can expect an exceptional hunt this year and if you have any further questions
please give me a call: — 214 728 3522. photo

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.