Itís almost that time. Time for what, you ask? If youíre a bird hunter you know. For the past few weeks your attention has been focused on strange things - like the sky - and telephone lines - and dried out corn and sunflower fields. Youíve dished out big bucks for the appropriate size shot (good thing you donít use bullets for birds: You might not find them in any caliber), and your hunting license is up to date.
Yes, itís almost time for dove season and it looks like itís going to be a good season. Now for the downside: Before you can enjoy a mouth-watering morsel of deep-fried jalapeŮo and cheese stuffed deliciousness, you have to hit them.
Iíve watched grown men practically dislocate their shoulders shooting a 3 1/2 dram load of #4 shot out of a 10-gauge shotgun. Even King Kong would develop a flinch after being pounded by such force. The Sergeant Major bagsíem with a 20 gauge (showoff) but most of us are just fine with a 12 gauge and #8 shot.
The gauge and shot size are just two pieces of the puzzle. The third is gun placement.
Doves are masters of the sky - maintaining high flight speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. They also like to make quick turns and darting maneuvers in flight. These attributes can leave a hunter scratching his head in disbelief after unloading three shells with nothing to show for it. A trip to the local sporting clays club is the best way to get your game on. Backwoods Quail Club in Rhems, and Black River Sporting Clays in Millwood are two great clubs with folks who can help you hone your skills before the big day.
While researching doves for this column I learned something new. Doves are also tracked. Since 2003, the Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have banded over 15,500 doves on public and private lands across the state. The bands provide vital information, which helps biologists determine harvest and survival rates thereby guiding decisions regarding harvest management regulations. If you bag a banded bird, call 1-800-327-BAND or go online to www.reportband.gov. I canít be certain, but I donít believe youíll be tracked as well.
If youíre a duck hunter you may have been a little envious of the guy with a lanyard decorated in duck bands. Thatís understandable, given the fact that you may harvest one banded bird in five years - if youíre lucky. Iíve never seen a hunter sporting a lanyard strung full of dove bands: But you never know.
Aporkalypse Aug 25, sportsman channel