Recently in an undisclosed location in a Red State, I was inducted into one of the few religions that is 100% compatible with Christianity: hunting! A new friend invited me to spend the opening of dove season with him and his arsenal of toys.
I said no and protected Grandpa from Covid by staying home in Commiefornia breathing brushfire smoke through my old socks.
And I had to think about that return ticket.
We chilled for a few days, important when the heat index hits 110 degrees. We even hit the gym, a wonderful treat for a guy whose home state has directly banned fun and oxygen. I began thinking that the global warming alarmists had a point. Wait, they’re “climate changers” now? They think maybe it’s too cool outside? They didn’t believe their own lies long enough for me to fall for them.
You Midwesterners like to eat. I’m one to talk, the lockdowns have left me with the beginning of a deer gut but your BBQ beef brisket sandwiches did not help at all. I’ll come back for the catfish, though.
This was my first time using a shotgun. I’ve trained with rifles and knew handguns well enough to trade tips, but shotguns just aren’t much use in the city. They aren’t the room-clearing blasts of doom that movies and video games always claim they are. No matter, I’m sure the online hunter’s education course taught me everything I need to know. Put the bead on the bird and swing though the trigger pull. Easy.
On that note, the hunt began on my friend’s back forty under the beginning of a glorious sunset with a Browning Gold automatic that kicked less than a Gamma getting a swirly in the high school locker room. The doves began flying past, driven perhaps by enough shotgun blasts in the distance to remind me of my childhood in Los Angeles. Put the bead on the dove, pull the trigger, follow through, MISS! Try again, MISS! Hmm, must be the crosswind.
My friend asked why I kept passing up chances to shoot. I told him I didn’t want to hit the hunters in the other field and pointed them out, half-hidden behind the horizon.
“Don’t worry about them. Your shotgun has an effective range of like forty yards.”
The confidence eventually came and boom! Got my first dove!
“That’s a starling. Notice how they hesitate and drift a little in their flight? Doves don’t do that.”
Okay… boom! Got my first dove! I retrieved it and tossed it next to my chair, pleased at having made a clean kill.
“Put it on the chair so the fire ants don’t get it.”
Good to know.
By sunset, I’d managed four doves with two boxes of shells. Three boxes if you count getting skunked in the morning. Now before any of you brethren hunters make a comment, let me say in my defense that one, it was my first hunt, two, it was my first use of a shotgun and three…
…the doves were moving quicker than usual. Still better than a brushfire!
Is anybody else just waiting for Year 2020 to die already?
We packed it in and time pressure forced me to donate the doves to my friend’s family instead of gutting them myself. That’s okay; as an experienced fisherman, the “clean it and eat it” endorsement on my man card had already been punched. But I had to catch my plane before I could find out what dove tasted like.
Obviously, I need to go hunting again.