I've been absent from the forum recently, mainly due to a really busy football season but I wanted to drop in and share my first dove hunting story.
I went a couple of weekends ago with my neighbor, a retired TDCJ lieutenant who took me as a guest to hunt on one of the prison lands. We got out there early and he took me a tour of the old farm. He used to have a house out there and knew the area like the back of his hand. As light started poking out, it was promising to be a good day with great weather. He let me use his 870 Wingmaster which he's had for years. We loaded up and started to walk the field towards one of his favorite areas.
The weather was great but the birds were few. We were hearing other shotguns off in the distance so we knew they were out there. After some sitting, waiting and stalking the few birds we saw in trees, we had some activity. Three flew right over head at a crossroads. One shot off to the right and escaped. Two others kept a straight course. My neighbor took the first shot and missed. He told me to take a shot, I drew a bead, squeezed the trigger and was amazed to see the dove dive sharply before spinning and falling to the ground. I had taken my first bird....first game of any kind actually.
We searched for a minute until I found it. The mouring dove was a tiny thing. I picked it up and felt the warm but lifeless body in my hands. I won't lie, it was a pretty interesting feeling. I suddenly felt an immense sense of reverence and respect for nature.
I took another dove about 45 minutes later. It flew up and landed in a tree right in front of us. I was hesitant but my neighbor told me to take it. I took my time, lined it up and squeezed the trigger. It was a dead center shot, sending feathers flying everywhere and it dropped directly to the ground. It wasn't in bad shape though for having taken a closer shot.
In all we bagged only three dove but it was an experience I won't forget. I think I'm hooked on this bird hunting thing, we'll see. I've shot clays before and rather enjoyed it but TAM is right, shooting a live bird is a whole 'nother ball game. I am now shotgun shopping. I have a Mossberg 500 and can get a barrel for that, but I'm thinking a semi-auto for clays and birds.
Lastly, I realized when I got home and after cleaning the birds, I forgot to take any pictures.