I went back out to my folks place this weekend to take care of a few things. As soon as I let the dog out of the truck she joined my parent’s dog in running straight into about 20 or so doves in the woods, which should be a jackpot if they hold tight and don’t fly towards the highway. I walked inside, said hello to my pop and grabbed my old 20 gauge. I walked into the woods and flushed a few, dropping the first one with my first shot. It had been awhile since I actively went after dove and I thought aloud “Compared with chukar shooting these things is like getting wet in the shower..” That selfish pride left quickly as I fumbled the safety on my once familiar gun and took a bad shot on the next flush, and the rest of the birds flew up the rise and settled in a tree close to the highway. I healed the dogs and circled around as to coax them back toward the safe shooting area away from the highway or to spook them across the highway and up the empty hill to shooting safety.
But as we approached they flushed wild and flew straight down the side of the highway towards my neighbors ranch. Bastards.
I didn’t want to tempt fate with two dogs that close to a moderately busy highway, nor did I want to get popped by the warden for hunting from the road. Nobody likes a road hunter, especially my neighbors, and I felt like I was too close already even if I didn’t intend on shooting near it. I turned and walked back toward the house. A straggler flew right over my head and when I swung around and lined it up it was backdropped by my neighbors barn in the distance, so I dropped the muzzle and turned back towards home and kept walking. I passed through the pine stand where I shot the first bird and another 2 popped up, and proceeded to fly right in between me and the stranded cattle in the meadow.
I unloaded the gun when two more popped up and flew right toward the house. These doves share one thing with chukar, at least when you’re jump shooting them – they seemingly know how to get away cleanly by flying near things you couldn’t possibly take a safe shot at. While chukar will often flush low and put your dog or some rocks between you and their escape route, these damn doves backed themselves with one of the three things that made it a certainty I couldn’t take a safe shot. It’s not like my parent’s place is in the suburbs either, so I’m going to say that they knew what they were doing.
I cleaned the measly lone bird and let it dry on the kitchen counter. When my mother came home she asked what it was, and I said it was our Thanksgiving bird. It would be a miserly holiday if it were truly up to me, thank djod for Safeway.