DOVE DUO — Mourning & Whitewing

DOVE DUO — Mourning & Whitewing

It’s time to test one’s shotgun skills on the tastiest targets in the sky.

Story and photography by Bob Zaiglin

It was a warm, humid, still September afternoon without a cloud in the sky as several of my high school buddies and I made our way up to the top of a Pennsylvania hillside overlooking a valley littered with corn fields attractive to mourning dove.  We were informed that birds leaving the fields each evening flew directly over the hilltop we were on as they headed to their roost, thus we eagerly anticipated taking a few of them.

Around 30 minutes before sundown, dove began exiting the fields, but by the time they were overhead, my 20 gauge seemed less than effective at reaching the high flying birds.  Those with 12 gauge scatterguns definitely had an advantage, but overwhelmed by excitement and poor shooting skills, few dove fell from the sky that September evening.

We did, however, have a great time establishing lifelong memories and that is really what dove hunting is all about.

Now 50 years later, I relish the memories of dove hunts with my daughters as they grew up in South Texas, and presently with my grandkids.  I still like to throw up a balanced shotgun, but I don’t bag the birds I once did.  Instead, I limit out on memories of trips with the grandkids to our favorite stock tank in our home county of Uvalde.

Now that Texas sportsmen have endured another oppressively hot summer, they can take a break from Covid-19 and all the political calamity by squaring off with the most challenging target in the sky — the mourning dove.  It’s time to usher in another hunting season by testing one’s shotgun skills on the tastiest target in the sky with family and friends over another celebrated dove season opener.      

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