Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dove Hunt 2011

Opening day of dove season has always been special to me.  This year, I hoped to make it special for someone else.  Mike Furiness and his son Ben came along for their first dove hunt.  My goal was for it to be as special in their hearts as it was in mine.
We met at Mike’s house and I went over what to expect on a dove hunt.  Unless you have been, it is different than other hunts.  For those that have been, it is so ingrained in our consciousness, we do not realize how different it is.
Unlike other upland game hunting, there is not stalking the bird, flushing it from cover and taking the shot.  Basically, you sit still in one spot and watch the skies.  The closest to it would be duck hunting, however most times there will be no decoys (they do make perching dove decoys as well as flying dove decoys) and I have never seen or heard anyone try to call a dove in.  That is unless you count the occasional “c’mon bird, fly THIS way!” as a call.
Ben Furiness with first dove.
I spoke about limits, how the birds will fly, how to help out the other hunters when a bird is near, what to do before and after you shoot.  I am sure there is more I went over, but once in the field, it would start playing out naturally.

As is customary here in the South, the hunt began with a cookout.  Usually pig or chicken is the main course, and this meal was no different.  Some of the best pork chops and bbq chicken was served Saturday.  Shortly after eating, we proceeded on a hay ride to the fields.  Mike, Ben and I were positioned near each other so I could help if needed.

We were not in the field five minutes and Ben took his first bird.  Ben handled it like it was an old hat.  He reloaded and prepared for the next opportunity.  Birds were plentiful, as well as smiles, shots, and sweat.  Exactly what you look for in an opening day dove hunt.  In the end, Mike and Ben seemed like seasoned hunters, nearly taking their limits on their first dove hunt.  We took a few photos to commemorate the occasion afterwards and headed our way back to the house.
Mike Furiness with his first dove.
If I had to wonder if it became as special to them as it is to me; that wonder was soon vanquished.  Ben called not ten minutes after we parted wanting to know when we could go again.
Special thanks to Linwood Vick and Vick Family Farms for another great dove hunt!

Mike Furiness, Ben Furiness, and Bill Howard

Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the bowhunting blog site He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

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