Last year I went on my first dove hunt at my uncle David’s place near St. Matthews, SC. No one told me what to bring, so I just showed up with my shotgun, a bottle of water and a box of shells. There were twenty people spaced around a few disused fields, and plenty of doves for anyone with a little patience to shoot the limit of twelve doves.
Today was my second dove hunt, and there were no doves, but I didn’t realize it at first. There were birds zipping around, maybe it seemed they were a little faster than last year because despite the half box of shells I shot at them in the first half hour I was out in the fields, and I couldn’t hit a single one. I wondered to myself, ‘why is this so much harder than last year?’ when my cousin’s husband, John, walked over and politely told me I could shoot at those birds all day if I wanted to, but it was unlikely I’d hit one because they’re sparrows, which are much smaller and faster than doves.
So I stopped shooting and watched the birds flit around, and sure enough, the three doves I saw looked and behaved much differently from the sparrows. There were also a bunch of blackbirds but luckily even my city boy’s eye didn’t get THOSE confused.
Next year I’m going to take my camera as well as my shotgun.