Dove season is in full swing here in North Texas. September 1st marked the opening of another season, and just like always, I have been waiting with much anticipation. Where I grew up, that day is almost like its own holiday. In fact, I think it should be. As far back as I can recall, September 1st has always been the opening day of dove season - and a day where "important" things like work and school get put on the back burner. I can remember skipping first period in junior high and high school for the opening morning of dove season. Expensive college classes were remorselessly disregarded on September 1st during my college days. And early on in my career, precious vacation days were saved for such a time as this.
But this year, for only the second time in almost twenty-five years of dove hunting, I wasn't able to get into the field on opening day. Several factors contributed to this implausible atrocity, but the primary reason was the fact that my wife and one of my daughters were home sick with the flu.
No need to fret though, by the weekend everyone was feeling better and I had an extra day off from work. The best things come to those who wait.
On Saturday morning, myself and four of my hunting comrades took to the field and bagged a total of 60 birds. That was a limit for myself, a limit for my dad, and a limit for my cousin. The other two fellows were just a few birds shy of a limit as well. It was a good hunt!
(From L-R: my friend Lee, my dad, Lee's son Sean, my cousin Shane, me, and my Uncle Rusty)
After cleaning the birds and doing some work around the bunkhouse, my cousin and I began preparing what some would consider an exquisite delicacy. What you see here is a plateful of boneless dove breasts, which have been carefully handcrafted into what would become quite delectable morsels. Each side of the dove's breast has been removed from the bone creating two just-larger-than-bite-size pieces of meat. A toothpick is used sort of like a shish-k-bob in this scenario. One of the pieces of meat is placed on the toothpick, followed by a slice or two of pickled jalapeno peppers, followed by another piece of breast meat, and then the entire creation is wrapped with about a half a slice of bacon (using the sharp ends of the toothpick to hold it on).
I fired up the grill and got it good and hot, then put the doves on to cook.
I cooked 'em 'til the bacon was good 'n crispy and there wasn't any pink or red left in the dove meat. The bacon serves to keep the meat moist and adds flavor while the pepper gives it a little kick. Cooking them this way takes away any gamey taste there might be in the meat. I wish I had a picture to show what they looked like after being cooked, but they looked so good we didn't mess around with foolishness such as picture-taking. They all got eaten rather quickly!
We had decent hunting for the rest of the weekend and we cleaned a total of more than 110 birds between five of us. Not bad. That is almost two limits each for everybody!
We also spent some time getting ready for the upcoming deer season. We got the feeders running and hung a couple stands. Bow season starts in less than a month.
Here are a few pictures from my game camera.
This first one is a good example of how far the flash extends on a nightime shot.
This one shows how far away the motion sensor is effective. That deer is at least 60 feet away.
This is a neat picture of a bobcat. I just wish he had been walking the opposite direction.
This one is pretty cool even though it is a little fuzzy.
And here is a picture of the young 8-point buck that was in velvet in my last set of pictures. He lost the velvet sometime last week. I have been looking at some of my game camera pictures from last year and I am pretty sure I recognize this deer in several of them. He was a really small 7-point last year as a 1 1/2 year old. I hope this deer becomes the poster boy for the new antler restrictions in place in our county and that the hunters on the neighboring properties abide by the new regulations. Maybe he will just hang out in this area for two or three more years.
One more thing to look forward to - homemade game camera number two was also put in service this weekend!
Until next time - "So long, everybody!"