Boy’s First Successful Dove Hunt
By Cole Wimer
Unlike many of the stories you’re likely to find here, this particular tale is written from the kid’s point of view. It is about how his first good dove hunt played out on September 1, 2007.
This story starts on the opening day of dove season in North Carolina. We had been out on the previous Saturday and scouted a new field in the area managed by the North Carolina Dept. of Wildlife. It is a section that covers a total of 28 acres, but mostly in small tracts spread over a good part of two mountains. Very few dove come here and stay for any length of time, but we found one field that boasted a substantial population of dove sitting on the High-Lines.
Eventually, I talked my dad into taking me out on opening day to join the fun. Regardless of the fact that it was opening day, I expected there to be very few people in the field, as the area had only been published on the Dept. of Wildlife website for about 2 weeks. We left at 9:00 AM and didn’t arrive at the field until about 11:00 AM.
Things weren’t looking good when we pulled in. We saw about three on the lines as we drove past the field to the parking areas. Somehow, they disappeared by the time we got the gear unloaded. We jumped about 20 out of the wheat on our way in, which raised our hopes for the day. Shooting hours didn’t open until Noon, so I set out the Mojo Dove and accompanying decoys and sat down to eat lunch and have a Gatorade before Noon.
I must say that things were quite uneventful at first. I didn’t see a bird until about 12:30, and all of the sudden, here they came! A few at first, the 5, then 10 and on up from there, all about 5 minutes apart. They seemed immune to the usual attraction of Mojo, so I picked out what seemed to be a flyway and ducked down in some weeds to await the next group. Regardless of the thousands of rounds shot at the Clays range over the summer, the doves seemed invincible to shotgun pellets. I know I dusted one with at least one of the three shots I fired at 35 yards, but apparently I was a bit rusty.
By 1:00 PM I had fired close to a box of shells and it seemed that was about the end of the days shooting. To spare you the boredom, I saw two doves between 1:00 and 3:30, so things weren’t looking up. At about 3:30, I heard shooting in the other fields. A lot of shooting. The kind of shooting that told you that the field you were in wasn’t as good as the others. I went back to the truck to get a few boxes of shells anyway and as I walked I heard gunshots explode behind me.
Following my instinct, I ducked down to wait for a bird. I was over the crest of a hill and I never did see what they were shooting at. I had my head stuck in the bed of the truck trying to fish a few boxes out of the case, when, out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of grey streaking down the road. I stood up and pulled off an amazing 45 yard shot, dropping the bird cleanly on the road.
By this time it was 4:00 PM and I could tell that things were heating up. I had my dove and as I walked into my place by Mojo I saw my dad pull three out of his back pocket. Amazing. Come on, the guy won’t even double on a bird and he got three with three quick shots from his 870. The action slowed down a bit until 4:30, and then things really got going.
When the doves started flying in, it was as if they had been let out of cages. Like releasing prisoners from a jail. They came in droves. 20-30 birds in groups that came by every 2-3 minutes. I just started shooting and lost track of what happened after that. I’m not a very good shot, and my usual average is 1:8. (Not so bad, and probably better than average for pass shooting at doves. -Ed.) There was a lot of shooting going on and by the noise level, I might as well have been in Vietnam.
I’d never seen anything like it. My dad hadn’t either, and he’s been hunting for 35 years in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. I’d shoot one and on my way back from picking it up, a group would fly over, apparently unaware of the danger that lurked below. I had my limit by 6:30, but my dad had apparently been having too much fun watching me to shoot.
It would be an understatement to say we ran the field from beginning to end. Dad finally got his limit about 7:00 PM and by that time they’d apparently had about enough of being shot at. I’d bet money that he took the last one to come through the field. We packed up and went home, I was thirsty, hungry and dead tired, but there wasn’t a happier kid on the face of the Earth.
That, my friends, was the story of the boy’s dove hunt. That was me (the boy) typing the story. Hope ya’ll enjoyed it and best of luck to you this season!
Copyright 2007 by Cole Wimer. All rights reserved.