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The Lonesome Dove
JD's first dove. January 15, 2011  

A field of whistling wings turned into a field of chirping crickets after the last snowfall.  I had hoped to get one last dove hunt in before the end of the season, but the snowfall changed my plans just a little.  A snow storm rolled through on January 9th and covered the cut soybean field in about 6 inches of snow and ice.  My plan was to get in one more hunt on January 15th.  I was sure that the snow and ice would melt by then but I was wrong.  Well, with fingers crossed I decided to give it a shot anyways. 

I had taken my cousin JD on his first deer hunt this past year and thought it would be fun to take him on his first dove hunt.  Leading up to the snow storm the field was full of whistling wings.  I joked that there were so many doves that my 4yr. old son Riley could have gotten close to a limit with his toy shotgun.  Seriously.

I knew from scanning the field earlier in the morning that we were going to have a tough go at it because of the recent snow.  The morning was cool and the sun shined bright that morning, but the field was still a soggy mess.  JD and I set out across the field at about 9:30 am.  The ice still covered the field in the shady areas which made our trek a little slippery.  I found a good spot on the shady side of the field behind some broom straw.  We sat down and talked about everything besides the doves that were not flying.  We traded guns and talked about that for a few minutes.  JD was toting his .410 shotgun that has been passed down through the family.  I was carrying my 20-gauge side by side that has also made its rounds.    We talked a little more about the rabbit hunters off in the distance that seemed to be having more success than us.  It?s funny how you can almost visualize a rabbit hunt from listening to the beagles run.  We were both a little envious of their success.  Well after awhile I decided that maybe we could jump a few doves by walking the tree line.  We got close a couple of times but couldn?t quite seal the deal. 

After lunch we found our way outside to play a little football.  Riley, JD, and myself tossed the football around a little while when the whistling wings of several doves flew overhead.  I immediately looked at JD and could tell that he was thinking the same thing I was.  I went back inside and grabbed his .410.  The doves had flown into a set of pines next to my house and I figured we maybe could get a shot.  As we entered the woods the odds were stacked against us.  Thick briars, crunchy ice, and my little sidekick were all on my mind.  Well, I let JD take the lead and Riley and I sat back and were his eyes and ears.  After what seemed an eternity we spotted the doves.  Two of them flew off without giving a shot and now we were down to one lonesome dove.  JD made a couple of slick moves through the thick stuff that would?ve made those cottontails we heard being chased earlier envious and he got into position.  One swift shot and the lonesome dove was down.  JD?s first shot at a dove was a success. 

We were all extremely excited.  We cleaned the dove and I sent it home with JD.  I told him he would probably have to wait till next year for his first dove meal, but it might make a good snack.  It?s funny how sometimes when plans change the best memories are made.  Does anyone have a good story of their first dove or first dove hunt?  Please share.

JD and Riley with JD's first dove.  


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