It‘s finally time to think lead and gunpowder. The leaves on the Cottonwoods are really starting to yellow up and the evenings are perfect for an open window and an extra blanket. It’s also time for the doves to start their movement towards a warmer wintering spot. They are feeding up and bunching up for their migration and taking advantage of this challenging quarry is loads of fun and a great warm-up for the upland seasons that are right around the corner.
Myka, my 12 week old lab/visla pup was able to make her 1st outing with me this week and her actions while hunting are promising and encouraging. She seems to have a good nose on her and though she has no idea yet what to do with a bird because of her youth, she seems to have some natural instincts leading her in the right direction. The gun blasts don’t bother here at all and the second evening we went out, she got all worked up when she heard me getting my 16 gauge ready. I am so excited for what is to come!
On Wednesday evening, I just worked the trees and the sandy pasture around my house and ended up with 4 birds in the bag. 3 of which were nice fat adult birds and one was a young of the year. Thursday evening was GREAT!! Myka and I took off for a windmill about a mile from our house. It is in the middle of a sandy pasture and there is a good amount of free water standing on the ground, easily accessible for the doves to drink from. We set up about 15 yards from the windmill, right next to a self feeder, about an hour before sundown. Action was steady for the first 15 minutes or so with a bird every couple of minutes or so. Those first bagged birds of the evening went right on top of the self feeder as decoys and that seemed to work really well.
With about 30 minutes of day left, the sun went behind a cloud back on the horizon and the flight kicked into high speed. Myka and I had birds all around us for the next 30 minutes. They were no longer coming in as singles but rather in groups of 4 -10 all trying to get into this watering hole one last time before going to roost. There were even a couple of groups that came in with 20+ birds. Talk about crazy and fun!! They had one thing in mind and that was getting a drink before roost and nothing was going to stop them from getting that accomplished.
When we bagged our last limit bird we just sat and watched for a while in amazement. I think that placing the bagged birds on top of the self feeder, in plain sight of approaching birds, was a big help to our hunt. You could see that approaching doves were noticing that those birds and it seemed to really put them at eases. I would say all-in-all we end up seeing a couple hundred birds and there were still more coming in when we left. I have noticed that birds are starting to group up more as the nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. With temps only barely making it into the 60’s today, the best hunting of the season is probably upon us right now. If you can find a good water source in an area that is a little short on water, you should have a good chance at some action at sundown. GOOD LUCK!!