After I received a Super Black Eagle II from Benelli, I knew I needed to proceed immediately to the field to attempt knocking birds out of the sky. At the moment, dove season is in full swing in the Texas Hill country and they’ve been flying like crazy. So I placed a call to my buddy Kyle who just moved back to the good part of Texas and he met me out at the ranch.
Full disclosure, neither of us knew what we were doing. I’d been dove hunting precisely twice in my life. The first time down in Mexico on a quail hunt, but the dove seemed to be flying better, so it turned to dove hunting. And the second right after I graduated college when my buddy insisted I come, handed me a Beretta Silver Pigeon, and sat me down on a bucket. I shot AT a lot of doves, but didn’t hit anything. My buddy Kyle had done a lot of bird hunting years ago, but admitted that he was rusty. Not helping the situation was that the weather was giving us a soupy day with low ceilings, high winds gusting 15-20, and intermittent drizzle. We weren’t going to be stopped!
So Kyle picked up my Yildiz and I took the Benelli and off we went. We knew that the preferred method was to sit by a body of water and wait for the doves to fly over, but we were impatient to go and figured that a walk around the ranch might be a good start, and if we didn’t see anything, we’d head down to the pond and sit on a log to wait for birds. During our forty minute walk around the ranch, we flushed a lot of birds and it was more like pheasant hunting than anything else. We missed more than we hit, but managed to put two mourning doves in the bag. And by we, I mean Kyle. And by “missed more than we hit” I mean me.
Once we got settled in at the pond, we didn’t see any doves, but we did watch a flock of ducks fly in and land in the pond which I found particularly hilarious given the fact that I’d gotten this gun specifically for duck hunting. Unfortunately, we’re not in duck season so I watched helplessly as 10 or so ducks floated around, preened themselves, and made a bunch of noise at me. No doves flew over.
After a bit of time at the pond, we headed back to the house to stow our gear and head to town for lunch. Nick joined us at my favorite taco place in Kerrville, and then we started the long drive back with one quick detour. I had told Kyle and Nick that this Benelli gun must be junk because I hadn’t hit any birds that morning. First lesson of hunting is to always blamed your gear. To prove it, we stopped by Gibson’s to pick up some clays for my thrower. If you’re in the Kerrville area, I highly recommend you stop by Gibson’s for all your hunting and outdoor needs.
Once back at the ranch, we proceeded to murder clays and I had to admit that the Benelli is in fact an awesome gun, and I’m just a bad wingshooter. On that note, the rest of the day was pretty rainy. We saw some doves flying, but they were high up out of reach, and the ones that were flying low were BOMBING through. They’d come in unannounced and just scream through and then they were gone.
I can see why people get so addicted to dove hunting. The cost of entry is pretty low, though having a dog would have been helpful in recovery. But for the cost of a decent shotgun, a few boxes of shells, and access to some land, you can be up and running. I drove down to San Antonio on Monday to meet some clients and watched as doves flew overhead for most of my journey on the tollway, and I got a real burning desire to blow off work and head back out. Watch this space for a dove jalepeno popper recipe that is a real crowd pleaser.