Stories of the South - Dove Hunting


I am going to talk about hunting in this post.  I am going to talk about guns.  There will be a picture of a dead animal.  If you can't handle that please move along.  I do not want to hear about the ethics of hunting.  I do not want to hear about how I should not be shooting poor defenseless little animals.  Yes, I do know I can go to the grocery store and buy meat.  I am a Southerner and we like guns, hunting, and eating wild game.

You have been warned. 

dove hunting in Noxubee County @ Hickory Ridge Studio

Dove hunting is something I’ve come to appreciate since I met my husband.  Not that I didn’t grow up hunting because I did, but my dad is not a big bird hunter and very few people that I knew dove hunted back home.  

BUT, Noxubee county might as well declare the opening day of dove season a county holiday.  (The town observes Confederate Memorial Day, they might as well.)  The men have been prepping for months before hand, planting food plots, spreading out wheat and corn to feed the doves and encourage them to stay in the area.  Normally the season opens at daylight the Saturday before Labor Day but this year it opened in the afternoon.  I was able to go even though I never shot a shell.  It was hotter than heck and the birds just didn’t fly.  (How is it when I go the birds never fly, but when I don't go the sky is BLACK WITH DOVES!!!!@!#!  In 6 years I’ve been on one good hunt.)  In October I was able to go for the second time this year.  My relationship with dove hunting is somewhat complicated for many reasons. 

I’m not very good inexperienced with a shot gun.  My dad only had a 16 gauge and 12 gauge shotgun while I was growing up and neither were gas operated – meaning they kicked like mules.  Yes I shot them a few times to kill snakes, but that's about it.  So I didn't grow up hunting with them.  I’m a rifle girl.  I’m pretty accurate even at a distance and if it will get still for just a minute, I'll hit it. 

 I also apparently suck at hitting a moving target.  I learned to shoot while I was on the .22 rifle shooting team in 4-H.  Competitive target shooting is all about technique, timing, and being very specific with your shot.  If you don’t feel like you can hit it you don’t shoot it.  It’s very slow and controlled, you learn how not to rush and take your time.  You're shooting at what looks like a pencil eraser at 33 feet.  Shotgun shooting is the complete and polar opposite.  It's fast and instinctive shooting.  Shotguns I’m learning are all about timing and feel.  Neither of which I have developed yet with my 20 gauge.

I have a nice gun, my hubby made sure of that, so no there's not a gun issue. It's just me.

It’s damn hard.  And me, being me I like stuff that’s a challenge.  I want to be able to do it.  I like the sport, and when I connect it’s pretty awesome.  But again, it’s the most challenging shooting sport I’ve ever done.  Doves are small, fast, and can change direction on the turn of a dime.

Have I mentioned they’re fast? 

I also have overly developed perfectionist tendencies.  I tend to get frustrated by my inconsistency.  I can’t consistently bring down the birds and it makes me madder than hell when I do and don’t know how I did it when I was shooting the same way I had been a 100 times before.  

I also get intimidated.  I freely admit it.  I’m usually one of one or two women on the field.  This normally doesn't bother me, but the guys I’m hunting with have been doing this their entire lives.  The average age is somewhere in the 40s and most started hunting at oh say 5.  They've been doing this a long time and are very good.  M.K. can shoot twice and bring down two birds, so can my hubby.  It’s impressive.  It's infuriating.  And there I am, sitting on my stool, shooting and not hitting diddly squat.  I wonder what the hell I’m doing out there.  

No, I did not shoot all these doves
But, I persevere and as my husband and dad love to tell me if you don’t shoot you’ll never hit anything.  This last hunt I shot at 4 birds and hit 2.  Pretty good for me.  Hopefully I can get it figured out.  I have a family reputation to live up to if nothing else.  Even if I’m never the best shot it’s still a lot of fun, you get to meet good people, I get to spend time with my honey, and the scenery isn't bad. 

I'd still rather go squirrel hunting. 

Have a great day my lovelies!

(And I'm sorry about the craziness of the text in this post.  It looks one way when I type it up and another once I hit post.  Trying to fix it!)


  1. Now this was interesting to me on several levels. First of all, why are Mississippi doves blue? I grew up going dove hunting (and quail hunting) with my dad in Texas, and I do not ever recall seeing one with blue feathers. I did not like dove (being dark meat) as much as quail, but we ate a lot of both of them. You cooked and ate what you killed, and if you had a good day, you might be able to put some in the freezer for hard times.

    Dad hunted with a bird dog--Clipper was the one he had during my "formative" years. Clipper would find the birds, flush them out, wait once they took flight, and on command, go fetch the bird and bring it back to my dad if there had been a kill.

    I never thought much about it growing up--it just was the way it was.

    1. I'm not a bird hunting authority, so this will just be my observations and what I've learned over the past several years.

      There are several different types of doves. What is pictured above are native Mississippi doves which are a brownish blue with some blue feathers. They are actually sort of pretty. They do not migrate, live here year round, and are the most plentiful type of dove we have.

      We also have migratory doves which the guys call a ring neck dove because they have a ring around their neck and are lighter in color. I think they are a Eurasian Collard Dove. The guys either call them a ring neck dove or a Eurasian normally. They are a lot bigger and everyone gets excited when you get one. That might be what you had, I don't know.

      We don't have a bird dog, not that my husband doesn't want one though, but many, many of our friends do. They are usually a yellow or chocolate lab and are so cool to watch. I've grown up with working dogs and I always like being around them.

      I do like dove, but it's definitely an acquired taste and you do have to know how to cook it. We normally as a group kill enough to have a large "cooking" a few times a year. That's just how they do things. If you want to take some home you're welcome to, but usually they are field dressed and one man takes them home, freezes and keeps them and then hosts a cooking. Everyone brings a dish, it's just like what people talked about in the old days. Then again Noxubee County seems to be about 20 years behind everyone else.

      I've never been quail hunting as the native coveys around here are pretty much gone and you have to go on a pay hunt which costs a fortune. Apparently pen raising and flight conditioning quail is pricey.

    2. Ok, so my husband was reading this after church today offered these corrections. First, the doves I have pictured above are Mourning Doves, they are a migratory bird and are subject to a daily limit. They are grey and not blue. The Eurasian Collard Dove was introduced into the United States about 15 years ago and are not a managed species and the number you kill does not count toward your daily bag limit.

      He figures that the doves you shot in Texas were a White Winged Doves and we do not see them here in Mississippi.

      Sorry for the mistakes, I'll know to "call the man" as Andy said next time.


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