My earlier August blog spoke of the opportunity to help prepare your children or grandchildren for their return to school by assisting in shopping for them. (I also "snuck" in some tips to help you make the most of these shopping trips). Well, the time is here to begin to really start experiencing what fall means to many outdoorsmen; hunting.
By now Dove season is either beginning or has already started. Hope you took the opportunity to visit your local Academy Sporting goods store to stock up on your need for the season. If Dove season has not started yet, you still have time to make sure your hunting trips are a success. I always found Dove season exciting. Just the opportunity to get back into a hunting mode, in the field, camo on, let me know that the other hunting seasons I cherish are also not far off.
I have always been a "man of comfort"--well not always, but certainly as I've "aged". I find it very beneficial to visit my local sporting goods store, such as Academy, to ensure I can maintain my "man of comfort" status. When planning my Dove hunts here is what is on my shopping list:
a. Ammo: and plenty of it. Light game dove loads are available and in large quantities, which is normally necessary for one to bag their limit of dove. (They fly too fast and too high for the average wing shooter, so one cannot have too much ammo.)
b. Bug Spray/repellent: got to have. Dove hunting days can get very warm, and with the heat come the bugs. I like the battery operated repellent devices as I've had great success with them. I could never quite get my whole body covered by the sprays and never really liked the feeling of the oily residue they tend to leave.
c. Camo: got to dress in camo. Dove have very good eye sight, I guess, and good camo allows you to "hunker down" and look like a bush, tree, shrub, grass, etc. It's either because the camo hides you so well they can't see you, or they slow down to take extra looks at you because, in their eyes, you look so ridiculous.
d. Backpack, in camo: This is a real must have because you need something to pack your lunch in and store all those boxes of shotgun shells you will carry with you to the dove field.
e .Sunglasses/umbrella: You probably think I'm crazy, don't you? Well I learned over the years that there are those periods when dove hunting when absolutely nothing is flying. Now, you can sit out in the heat and sun of the day while waiting for that next flight or, like me, you can retain your "man of comfort" designation by providing yourself some shade from the sun.
f. Ice chest or cooler: Because of the heat associated with early dove season, it is imperative that you have cold beverages available during the hunt. I am not a proponent of drinking alcohol when hunting so I leave the beer in the other ice chest in the car for after the hunt has finished. (Just kidding. After a day in the heat the last thing I desire is alcohol, besides beer makes my gout erupt in many painful ways). Keep the cooler stocked with water to keep yourself hydrated during your hunts. It's also a great place to put your birds, if you are lucky enough to kill any, to keep them out of the heat and preserve the meat. Take some large zip lock type bags to place them in. It's also a great place to keep your snacks in so you don't go hungry during your hunt.
g. A comfortable seat: Comfort is next to godliness, or something like that. I used to do the "bucket" routine, but find a folding chair, with a back, service tray on the side, pockets to put shells in, etc., to be much more comfortable and practical. Of course it must be in camo (visit Academy and they just might have what you are looking for).
h. Trash bag: with all the shells you are bound to shoot, plus the empty water bottles you've consumed, and the wrappers from the snacks, etc., you will need a trash bag to take your trash out with you. The people providing your dove hunting opportunity will be most thankful of your efforts to clean up after yourself and remove all trash from the field when you depart.
i. A good buddy: finding a good hunting buddy is paramount to having a successful day in a dove field. A good buddy will acknowledge your shooting prowess, will not claim a bird that you know you knocked down, provides a good ear when shooting is slow and you feel the need to converse, to help find or fetch birds when you are so comfortable you just can't find it within yourself to get out of your chair. Maybe most importantly, a good buddy who did not read this blog and went into the field with you a little shorthanded. That good buddy will be most appreciated when it's time to pack up and carry all your stuff back to your car.
Have a great and safe dove season and hone those outdoor skills for what is going to follow and visit your local Academy Sport and Outdoors store to stock up for your hunt. Mmmmm, fried dove breasts; I can already taste them.