Dove hunting in the desert is best pursued in either the early mornings or late afternoons. The birds are flying to or from their roosts in predictable patterns. In fields where there is active agriculture, or better yet a dairy, the birds will be more concentrated. The problem with hunting these areas on Labor Day is it tends to concentrate the hunters also. This year was no exception, so the early risers get the premium location. With this in mind I woke my three boys early enough that we were the first ones to the field, choosing the best spot from which to hunt.
The birds began to fly just after legal shooting light and it was game on. I got off to a quick start by connecting on three birds with my first few shells. My boys on the other hand got off to a slow start burning through the stack of shotgun shells. Doves are fast flying missiles and can be tricky to hit, but the boys where having a great time trying. My partner in crime when it comes to hunting, Josh, once again was shooting lights out. At this time in the morning I came up with the concept of how well one shoots, is to take the amount of birds taken divided by the amount of shells used. A good number would be in the 2s mediocre the 5s and poor the 10s. While I have shot in the 2s before I am more of a 4.5s kind of shot. The problem for me this year though was the cost of supporting three boys who were definitely in the 10-12 range and getting a lot of birds.
Marc AKA Tonto Rambling
While this arbitrary system of shooting skill is fun for badgering friends, (Josh claiming to shoot in the 2s opening day?), it is not what dove hunting for me is about. I enjoy getting out with family and friends and just talking. The smell of gun powder burning in the barrel.Seeing the sunrise over the mountains. Meeting new people who enjoy the outdoors and the realization that fall is just around the corner. To everyone who hunts dove good luck. To the rest of you get out there and try this early hunting season and see just how fun it can be.