It’s a ritual handed down, passed on, and played out across the country every September – it’s the Opening Day of Dove Season! For most it’s a tune-up, traditionally the beginning of the fall hunting season, an annual affair filled with family tradition. And it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80 most will agree there’s just something about getting together outside with friends and family, sharing the experience, and making memories.
For me, the best thing about the dove season opener has very little to do with the actual hunt or my shooting prowess. However, I did shoot better than the national average that hovers somewhere around three birds per box of shells (25 shots). That guestimate still blows me away. I mean who averages a dove every 8.333 shells? That’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong I spend my fair share on 16-gauge Remington game loads, but a bird for every 8.333 shells? I’d like to think that I’m a better than average shot, but I think it has more to do with the fact I simply pull the trigger less and I like my birds close.
Like a lot of hunters who make the annual pilgrimage to the dove fields it’s more about whom you’re hunting with and less about counting shells, although putting some meat on the grill was my first priority. Shooting better than my partner was a close second.
This year my brother-in-law Brent invited me to an evening hunt on a private patch of ground near Cushing, OK. Perfect timing, I thought since the mercury in Oklahoma only recently dipped below the century mark– just another beautiful day in America’s Heartland.
We made the 45-minute drive west from Tulsa, arriving a good two hours before sunset. We surveyed the freshly disked field and called out our positions. Brent took the east end zone and I headed west in my Chippewa 8" Mocc Toe Waterproof Lace Ups. Feeling the weight of my grandfathers Belgium-made Browning in my hand as I crossed the field brought back incredible memories of the two men who shaped my understanding and appreciation for the outdoor world. Whether they knew it or not, Dad and Grandpa sent me down a path that would ultimately lead me to my chosen profession.
In a world of synthetic stocks, camouflage coatings, and recoil reducing mechanisms, it took a beautiful 60-year old shotgun to remind me how I got here. Every loaded shell and trigger pull was a gentle reminder of my outdoor heritage, every miss a sign of how much more practice I truly need; every harvested bird resulted in an automatic smile for me and undoubtedly for the two men who got me here as well.0 Comments