I love this time of year!
Mid-August is when we begin preparing for one of the greatest of all holidays- Labor Day. Millions around this great nation celebrate the national work force by- ahem- not working! And sportsmen appreciate this glorious day more than most- Labor Day is the opening day of dove season!
Ah, dove season! Where grizzled old sportsmen are reminded what poor shooters they are. Where standing half-hidden amongst the bug-infested stalks of an un-harvested row of corn in 90 degree heat for a chance to shoot at the sky where a bird was is seen as a beautiful thing. We’ll spend $25 bucks on shotgun shells, $20 on licenses, $10 bucks for entry into a hunt, $15 on snacks and drinks, all for a chance to shoot and eat a bird that weighs less than 5 ounces!
Dove hunting is a raucous social activity; that is why most hunters like it. Unlike deer hunting where you must sit motionless in total silence in a swaying treetop wearing bright orange and hope a deer gets comes close enough to shoot but not close enough to smell you. Honestly, it is no fun to dove hunt alone- a dove hunter will become distracted by thinking about what to do if a dove flies within range of his shotgun; and when it does, he usually is too slow to shoot because he was busy thinking. No, it takes a pack of people with stories to tell to keep watching the skies. While one hunter is spooning the dirt from his beanie-weenies, and another is lying about past hunts, his hunting buddies can keep watch. And when someone yells, “DOVE!” everyone jumps to their feet hoping for a chance to watch their buddies unload their shotguns into clean air and miss the bird. It resembles a bearded meerkat colony wearing clashing camo or shorts and adult beverage t-shirts.
People brag a lot at dove hunts. A lot. Some hunters will tell stories that never happened. Not that they are liars, but, lets just say their DNA will stimulate their brains to over-embellish a memory to the point that it is unrecognizable, even to others who experienced it. Like the time the doves were so thick that you could kill your limit with one well-placed shot. Or the time when the ground was littered by lead shot from so many hunters shooting so many doves. Or my personal favorite, the hunter who ran out of shells and shot a dove out of the air with his bow and arrow. He had serious DNA issues.
Some hunters like to consume vast amounts of adult beverages from tall cans while carrying loaded firearms. Let me state for the record that is a horrible and dangerous activity. However, most become so attached to those interesting cans that they forget they are hunting. They’ll spend hours in the shade on their truck tailgates talking about what good shooters they are. They’ll throw their dead soldiers in the air and show off by hitting them one out of three shots. That’s what I hear, anyway; I don’t drink and I don’t hunt with those who are drinking. My DNA stimulates an extra measure of self-preservation.
Me? I like to take those dark dove breasts, wrap them in a thin slice of bacon and grill them on the bar-b-q just a few minutes until hot and tender; crack open a big-ole’ baked potato and slather it in butter; and spoon up a few dips of baked beans. Top it off with corn on the cob and the heel of a loaf of wheat bread and you have a veritable feast of mouth-watering pleasure!
Well, that’s what I’d do if I could hit ‘em…… come Labor Day…