Archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Turtle dove hunting has not been forgotten

September 13, 2000

To all you outdoors men and women out there who thought I had forgotten about the opening of turtle dove season in the mania of fall school sports, I didn't.

In fact, I was out in the field bright and early the Saturday after the season opened.

I had gone back home to Butler County to hunt doves while I spent time with my dad.

My dad lives on some land about 40 miles east of Wichita, and it was at a pond and cut wheat field on that land that we were to hunt.

The morning of the hunt Dad decided that the birds would be coming in to a pond to the northwest of the house, and I couldn't think of any reason to disagree.

If you know anything at all about doves, you know that they come in to water in the morning.

The dove leads a simple, easy to understand life. Let's follow the typical day for a typical turtle dove Let's call our dove Dave.

Daybreak:
Dave the dove wakes up and flies to water, where he gets shot at. Maybe after that he flies by a milo field for an early morning snack. If so he stops for some gravel from the road for digestion. Dave gets shot at again.

Sunrise (6:30 a.m.-7 a.m.):
Dave and some buddies from the watering hole fly to the cut wheat field to eat and get shot at. They go back to this milo field that Dave knows and eat there.

8 a.m.:
Dave and his dwindling number of friends fly back to the road for some more gravel for digestion, and they get shot at some more.

8:30 a.m.:
Dave and his two closest buddies light on a high line and complete the digestion process. Dave gets shot at again and laughs as the game warden pulls up behind the frustrated and tempted hunter.

9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.:
Dave flies back to the pond for a quick drink, gets shot at and flies back to bed to take a nap until about 3 p.m., when he'll start the same process all over.

But back to the hunt.

We had decided to wait for Dave and his friends at the pond, which immediately brought into play rule No. One of dove hunting: Wherever you go, the doves go somewhere else.

So the doves came in to the pond to the northeast, where we weren't. We knew because we heard quite a bit of shooting from that direction.

I take full blame for the doves not picking our pond.

I'd chosen one of the cows' feed buckets to carry my shells and birds (laugh). Consequently, about 30 head of cattle were mooing and milling around the pond, wondering why we were holding out on the food.

We tried hunting there for about an hour and then, after seeing not one bird, rethought our plan.

Some of Dad's buddies were blasting away at the wheat field, so we headed that way.

Which brought into play rule No. Two: The doves always fly over where you just were.

Right after we had gotten to the wheat field, hunting had dried out there.

We spent the morning watching the birds fly right where we weren't, and we were back at the house eating steaks and watching football on television by noon.

I only got two doves during the afternoon hunt, but I wasn't disappointed. I'd gotten to spend time with my dad, and I'd enjoyed the outdoors.

And even though it was hot outside that day, my weekend was significantly better than that of a migratory dove named Dave who has to spend his September days in the southeastern Kansas skies.

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