Well, here we are at our first segment of this year's hunting season. Dove season.
A lot of first-year college students, home for the first time in their educational careers, will be on their toes to show their new-found intelligence by being the best shots on a given hunt.
More than likely, there will be a great cooking at somebody's farm. Great stories will be told about last year's hunt and the number of birds taken with a given number of shots.
And somebody who hasn't said a word will limit out first with an old plain-Jane Model 12 or a double barrel no one can read the name of.
First off, buy the correct license and, if necessary, the right permit for the area and state you intend to hunt.
Next, make sure your repeating shotgun, semi-auto or pump, has a “plug” in the magazine that will allow only two shells in the magazine. Remember the goose hunt you made last winter in a special extended goose season somewhere?
Our next purchase is shotgun shells. Shot sizes 7 ½ or 8, generally speaking, work on doves.
Now this is where you can really shine. Heavy loads might get you a bird more than your buddy and will surely work on your shoulder. Listen to me, I've seen men on Monday morning displaying their painfully blue shoulders. And they appeared to be proud of the mangled shoulders.
Buy good light loads, shoot a modified or improved cylinder choke or tube. You won't have to walk as far to pick up a bird.
Dress light. It can be extremely hot. Some type of basic camouflage made of cotton will help cool the body some.
Carry a light chair or bucket to sit on. This will keep some of your body off the ground and away from ground-crawling insects.
Have water available to drink. Please, don't try to see how much cold beer you can drink! It just doesn't work like that. Have water readily available for your dog. Bear in mind he is out there running and ripping for you.
Do not go out in the field without some type of mosquito dope. If there are at least two mosquitoes out and about, one of them will find you.
I am reminded of perhaps one of the best Louisiana dove hunts I've ever participated in. It happened on my Daddy's place in the '60s. For some reason, we planted a black-eyed pea patch nearly in the middle of a triangular hay meadow. It probably was only 12 or 14 rows, 60 to 70 yards long. But peas, let me tell you, this little patch turned to peas that then hardened.
We cut the hay maybe a week before dove season and bush hogged the pea patch. I just don't know where the birds came from, but by Saturday it was something.
Our local banker came out. Boy, he had the prettiest Winchester Model 12 I had ever seen. It had a trap-type stock, ventilated rib, and a Cutts compensator. He shot the Cutts off the barrel. I remember it going through the air, whu-whu-whu, swapping ends.
I shot a bunch of shells myself that weekend, using my Grandpa Price's Model 50. I tried reloading shells for the weekend hunt, but couldn't dot it. I wound up going to my Grandpa Dent for a box or two of his shells.
Everyone who likes to shoot needs to get in on a shoot like that at least once in his life. Shucks, I'm ready to go to Argentina now. Needless to say, the black-eyed pea patch worked only one year.
Hunt safe. Enjoy the big weekend.
If you get a chance, take a kid fishing or hunting. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy our outdoors. Some of the best meals and friends are made “at the camp.”