Summer gives way to September and it has been months since you last picked up your gun. The tinge of excitement is in the air with opening day upon us. You gather up all your gear with great anticipation. A slight sample of Autumn with it beautiful leaves and a crisp morning tease you, only to succumb to the familiar heat that overtakes those sweet but elusive breezes. But it is opening day and there is so much to be thankful for. Combine that with football and it doesn’t get much better!
Dove hunting has always been very special for me as it is a time to hang out with our couple friends who hunt together. For the past several years we have been members of Honey Camp Dove Club and it is so exciting to see everyone on opening day! There is always an amazing opening day luncheon as everyone gathers to catch up with each other. As we go around the group and introduce ourselves to new members, there is always a good laugh as the typical characters hold court.
Last year, the entire region got hit with tropical storms and of course, Hurricane Matthew. It was a very tough year for dove hunting and we are praying for a successful year. Our Landowner/Club organizer, Dale Shelley along with his amazing right arm/retriever, Skip, have been working hard getting everything ready. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into preparing a dove field and no one does it with more zest, know how, and darn right determination, than Dale! “I’m glad to say we have an abundance of sunflowers , corn, and even a couple strips of Brown Top Millet. I did have to replant about 5 acres of sunflowers due to the 5 inches of rain that fell three days after it was planted… but after all was said and done, we have more sunflowers than a show dog can jump over”, Dale reported.
When I first started hunting doves my main concern was mistaking a tweety bird for a dove. But after a while, I was able to detect a dove easily with their amazing acrobatics. I still am awed at how they dive, corkscrew, and easily confuse us shooters. This year, I am hoping that I will have the best year yet! I have worked on my skills by getting out and shooting clays whenever I can. My number one priority is always to have a safe hunt and not shooting low birds is imperative for all hunters!
Besides safety, I am going to focus on staying hydrated and enjoying every minute of being out in the field. This year, we will be using our hunting cart, so it will be so much easier to get to our “stands” and carrying the gear across the hot field will be just a memory. I will report back and let you know if I successfully limit out on opening day. Good luck everyone!!