Each year on September 1, around sunrise, it happens. My ego as a hunter and wing-shooter is assaulted by a gray-streak that was a mourning dove.
Generally, I stand in open-jaw, amazement with three empty shotgun hulls laying around me as the winged-speedster is off to another location. But every once in a awhile something truly magical happens as I reload and the dove – for reasons still unknown to science – circles back around, just a little closer, and allows me to miss a few more times.
I’m not the only one missing doves. The national average is about 6 misses for every mourning dove harvested. Without a tailwind these birds can reach speeds of 45 mph. But its the mid-air acrobatics that really humbles the hunter.
In 2015, there were an estimated 13,038 dove hunters in Nebraska that harvested approximately 301,233 doves. If each hunter averaged a paltry 3 to 4 shells per dove taken that still translates into over a million shots fired….roughly 81 shots per hunter.
(Side-note: the Wildlife Restoration Act means each shell from a $7/box figures out to be $0.03 back for wildlife conservation…that’s more than $30,000 just from the shells fired in 2015. )
There is only one reason hunters would subject themselves to that much embarrassment…the grilled dove popper. Its my opinion that the grill was invented for the dove. When you added a slice of jalapeño, a dab of cream cheese and perhaps a small slice of bacon it only made it more perfect.
So here’s to the men and women willing to sacrifice their ego for a chance to utilize the BBQ for its intended purpose (and just happen to be supporting conservation, too). Happy September!…
If you are looking for place a to miss some doves, check out the 2016 Dove Hunting Fact Sheet.