I am not a hunter. I don’t handle guns or do archery. I am oblivious to wild game that passes in my vicinity. I’m seen more deer and exotic animals from the car travelling with Bob in the past year than I’ve seen in the previous 40 years. Bob hones in on the conditions where game might be and enjoys travelling early in the day or at sunset so he can point out the animals. The only deer I killed, I slaughtered with a 1980 Chevrolet Chevette. It was like a school yard fight: even if you win, you lose. Hundreds of dollars later, I swore to never drive at night in deer country.
Bob’s intent on going hunting and since dove season started in south Texas on September 23rd, he’s past ready to go. I found out that I had a misconception about hunting doves. I always thought that you just fired into the dove herd and the shotgun pellets hit 8 or 10 birds like little metal heat seekers. Daily limit of 15 birds? I thought anybody who could fire a shotgun could do that.
That would be true if we lived in Looney Tune World. I found out it takes more skill than that. Texas Parks and Wildlife recommends visiting a shooting range and taking more shotgun shells than you think you’ll need. Their studies indicate that dove hunters average 3 birds bagged per 25 shots.
Doves have great vision and can spot hunters from high in the sky. I’m told that camo is essential if you are going to hunt doves. Doves eat seeds early in the morning and at sunset. Doves are like an ex-husband of mine. They usually stop off for a drink before coming home to roost. I don’t know how the Texas drought will affect the hunting season. Poor creatures probably have to fly for miles to find the nearest water pipe break. That’s the only water in gutters we have had in south Texas recently.
It isn’t okay to bait doves since they’re covered by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Baiting means to scatter seeds in the area where you are hunting. You can hunt in a recently harvested grain field, though. And you can bring dove decoys which I’m not sure will fool any dove. You are supposed to scatter them around the watering hole if you can find one.
Little known bird facts that most people know but were news to me:
- Most dove nests contain 1 to 3 eggs which were layed over an 18 hour interval.
- Baby birds fly within 10 days of hatching.
- A dove in captivity can live longer than 15 years.
- White wing doves are 33% bigger than mourning doves
- And, this from a Texas sport hunting website, studies conducted by state officials in Texas have shown that hunting pressures have had minimal impact on the quantity of birds.
We were given a bunch of doves by a friend of Bob’s a couple of weeks ago. There were 37 doves in the baggies Bob brought home. I had never seen a dead, de-feathered dove before last week; doves look beefy red. I stuffed them with serrano peppers, garlic, and Thai basil and wrapped them with peppered bacon. After baking them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, they were done and looked like the dark meat of a chicken. I thought they were a little dry and had a flavor that was kind of NOT like chicken.
Gary tells me that we should have mixed a can of cream of mushroom soup with a can of Ro-tel tomatoes and poured it over the doves after I’d done the stuffing and wrapping deal. I’ll try that if Bob gets his dove limit times 3 or 4.
I got a limited public use permit last week so I can go with Bob when he hunts on public wildlife management acreage. There were several reasons with the top three being that I like being with Bob, I think I can take some good pictures while we are out in the wild, and I believe I will look great in camouflage. I’ve been trying it on.