My Opening Day Dove Hunt Dilemma

11 years ago
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dove hunt

As I’ve gotten older, I have become more intolerant of certain things that I have no control over, such as close minded people, those who are entitled, spider webs, the government, people who drive slow in the fast lane, yogurt, the fungus that kills my tomato plants every year, and heat. So, when my buddy, Todd, called to invite me on an Alabama opening day dove hunt, I hesitated to answer.

There are few things I enjoy more than a dove hunt.  Even a bad dove hunt is better than 93.8% of the normal things I do during the course of an ordinary day.  So if I love to dove hunt so much, then why did I even hesitate to answer?  An opening day dove hunt in Alabama is hot!  So hot that most of the doves are enjoying an afternoon of relaxation and water sports on a local body of water instead of flying into a barren field of hotter than hell dirt sprinkled with feed wheat that is being trompled into the ground by an army of hunters.

There are two types of hunters in a typical dove field on opening day of dove season in the south.  There is the group of hunters who scoff down a plate of barbecue, baked beans, and coleslaw and run out into the field at 12:00 noon on the dot (which is the first legal shooting time on opening day) to sit in the shade of the only oak tree standing in the field and sweat so much that it will take 2 days to rehydrate.  And there is the group of hunters who are more interested in watching crappy early season college football games, enjoying cold beverages in the shade and socializing before lollygagging into the dove field at 3 pm to sit in the only remaining spots left in the field, in the sun and 92 degree heat with 95% humidity, and melt into a puddle of saltwater so big that the next season of Whale Wars is being filmed in it.  Despite the fact that these two groups have different hunting approaches, they do have something in common – neither of these groups will kill a dove before 3:30 pm.

I know this to be true because I have been a member of both groups.  I have been out in the dove field at 12:01 pm, sitting there for 7 hours with the only shots fired before 3:30 pm being at dragon flies that I have mistaken for doves that have fled the frigid upper 80 degree temperatures in Iowa.  I have also been on a dove hunt where I didn’t even grab my gun to shoot at a bird until there was 30 minutes of legal hunting time left.  No matter which group you fall, or dive, into, I can assure one thing will happen on opening day of dove season in Alabama – you will get hot and sweat!!  Camouflage clothing, sunshine, and humidity all mixed into a pot yield a delicious recipe of hotness and stickiness.  Hotness of the likes that I am now intolerant of at my age.  So, you may be wondering what my response was to my buddy’s opening day hunt invitation, and that is a very valid question.

My dove stool, shotgun shells (a lot of them), game/shell belt, cooler full of soon to be cold beverages, hearing protection, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, extra long extension cord, portable air conditioner, bug spray, ice pack, beach umbrella, and wagon to haul it all in are all piled up in my basement by my garage door.  Todd is picking me up at 9:00 AM, and I’ll let you know how the hunt goes.

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