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2017 Dove Opener

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The dove hunting has changed drastically over the last two decades in Acadiana. It's my opinion that it is mostly due to changes in farming practices and chemical weed control. I usually have a hard time finding enough doves congregated during the September early season to get a good solid hunt together. Sometimes, I will find a nearby perch, wire or resting spot holding birds and key in on some of the local hatch and adult doves in my area. I can't remember the last time that I called up a few friends and planned a big hunt during the early season.

The morning of September 2nd was defiantly still wet and damp from the recent rain events with plenty of mosquitoes. I decided to run the roads around my family's farm and nearby areas in search of opportunities. While driving near the farm, I found several doves using a neighbor?s harvested rice field in the early morning and perching on the rice stubble to rest and digest their morning meal. That afternoon, I went by there after work and established that the birds were still using the field. It wasn't a lot of doves, but enough for a nice little kid hunt and plenty enough to satisfy my retriever that has been anxiously awaiting the beginning of any hunting season. Once at home, I called our neighbor and received permission to hunt the next morning.

I am a diehard bird hunter and my two college age children were raised in a hunting household. Both live at home for now and still come with me from time to time. My daughter Emily has slowed down on her hunting over the years with all of the other activities etc. My son Matthew has been coming with me more than she has so naturally, I asked him if he wanted to dove hunt with me in the morning. He declined but to my surprise, my daughter piped up and said that she wanted to hunt. Great! I called my cousin and invited his son to join us and we made our plan of attack.

We woke to a beautiful calm morning full of mosquitoes, gear, and plenty of Off. As we got to the field, the morning dawn was just breaking. I knew that the amount of mosquitoes coming up from the wet rice field was making Collin and Emily both second-guess their decision to get up that early. I set out my dove decoys on the top of the hay and rice stubble then placed our Mojo dove nearby. I gave another Mojo to Collin and directed him on where to set up.

Emily and I set up our buckets together behind my dove blind with Cash at heal waiting for the first opportunity for a shot. I was shooting my 28 gauge and Emily was shooting my 20 gauge. This set up proved to be deadly. The birds started coming across the field a few at a time and once they saw the decoys, they would come right in. Emily had not hunted doves since 2003 so she was a little hesitant at first but once she fired off a round or two and crushed a dove, it was all over. She and I sat together there in that spot picking our shots and shooting several doubles together. Collin was down from us having fun and holding his own with the birds. Once the smoke cleared, we had a nice mess of doves for the pot and made some great memories too.

What an awesome opening morning and a great way to start the hunting season. We are truly blessed.

Duckaholic
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Re: 2017 Dove Opener
Very Cool! All of my old Dove Hunting spots are no longer productive because of what you mentioned about modern farming practices. Only thing alive on a modern farm is the crop. I managed to get six on opening day.
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Re: 2017 Dove Opener
Yes, farming and changes in land use are the largest factor in the carrying capacity of an area and it's ability to support wildlife. We have really good rice and crawfish crops in our area but poor duck and dove hunting... Hope the hunting gets better for you, good luck!
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