With the Resident September goose season underway one would think an avid waterfowler as myself would be excited about it.Unfortunately the exact opposite was happening.Over a foot of rain,hurricane winds and crazy tides had pushed all the local birds into a pattern I couldn't figure out.So what's an outdoorsman to do?The water on the local creeks was entirely to high for fishing,the Chesapeake Bay was the color of chocolate milk and still is to this day.Dove season,that's the answer!So with a little friendly chatter with a local corn and soy farmer I gained access to a field that had been cut prior to the hurricane.Not just any field though,the one on the other side of the fence in my backyard.So i called my brother,the nutty professor,cleaned my mossberg 500 pump and looked forward to a relaxing opening day of dove season in Virginia.
High flying resident geese over the corn field
Many of the local corn fields had not been cut prior to the hurricane thus limiting the areas the doves could possibly be feeding in.However just like the local geese,the local dove population had yet to "Get Right" after the storm.The birds were very spread out and I had done zero scouting prior to heading out in the field with a gun in my hands,hunter fail.I did spend the afternoon before opening day riding around the area checking power lines right before sunset and then again early the next morning.The season opened at high noon and lets just say it was a bit warm to be hunkered down in the brush next to the railroad tracks.I headed out the backyard and across the field a little after noon to claim a spot for me and Nutty who would be a few hours late.Not being very experienced in dove hunting I picked an area in the field that funneled the birds down some railroad tracks into a neighboring field,i chose wisely.Shortly after showing up,placing my camping chair and cooler down in the brush some of the other locals began to filter in.They weren't openly upset at the "new guy" in "their" spot but I could tell I was a bit of a thorn in everyones side.So seeing as how we were all armed I walked up and introduced myself and friendships were born.I have had little interaction with the locals since I moved to the area late last Summer.That being said apparently they know who I am,kinda spooky.So with names and numbers exchanged we all set up on the perimeter of the field and waited.Then we sweated and waited.Then I walked back home to get more ice for the cooler and Nutty showed up with some good luck.
Nutty with his first Dove of the day
I quickly got Nutty set up down the railroad tracks from me and in short order he watched me miss a dove on landing on the line.Yeah,that happened!Whatever,I'm man enough to admit I scare more birds then I kill.A few minutes later Nutty had his eye on a low Dove and with one shot the bird was down.After some high fives and calls of nice shot echoed around the field we were set again.I had nutty watching the field as I watched downed the railroad tracks.The next pair came through the funnel fast and I shot and missed,Nutty took one shot and got another one.This was starting to get painful!I'm watching these little red shotgun hulls building at my feet and I have nothing but a warm gun barrel to show for it.The shooting slowed down with a few passer bys high above the trees,a flock of local geese looking for lunch flying over and a few laughs traded back and forth with the locals.
We called the hunt,gathered together,had a few beers on the tailgate and wandered back home.Simple,yes,relaxing,yes,just what I needed,hell yes.I get extremely burnt out bass fishing in the heat all Summer so I really look forward to hunting season.The problem is hunting to me means,Fall,cooler weather and North winds.In September,in southern Virginia you are dreaming if you think you are going to get any of that.However every year i get so amped up for September 1st and am usually let down by the 85 degree weather,blistering sunburns and absolutely no wind.So maybe I have found my September calling,Dove hunting.Next year the field will be planted in corn and not harvested until early November with crop rotation.So next year i will again have to man up,ask around and try to find a field to hunt in September.With one under my belt I almost look forward to gaining access on the local fields.A short note on behavior on private property.Of course none of us would ever leave shotgun hulls on the field,do donuts with our trucks,throw beer cans in the woods,right?Well how does the farmer know that when he sees it this winter when he goes to plant his wheat?He gave you and 10 other peopled permission so how does he know it wasn't you?My tip of the day,take it or leave it,pick up the other guys mess.You don't have to tell the farmer,unless the damage done is severe,just pick it up and look at it as the price of admission.So there you have it,hunting season is officially underway.In a few weeks I will be in the water trying for the 6th consecutive year to bad a wood duck,pathetic I know.Bring on the cold North winds and get outside!