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I have loved to hunt dove since I was a young man. My son and I hunted dove each year since he was born. He was raised shooting snakes while I hunted birds. He got his first shotgun at about eleven and the fall skies have been filled with lead each year since.

This year was the first year I had hunted dove with my son in eight years. I was living up north and we could only get our busy schedules together for the big hunts. We neglected dove season as if it were not that important. After all they are only dove.

This year we both decided to make up for lost time. The season was about six weeks long and we hunted almost every evening. Man his shooting has improved in eight years! Mine was dismal after only firing my shotgun twice a year at turkeys for almost a decade. I discovered the shotgun IS NOT LIKE A BICYCLE. I had always prided myself as an expert wing shot but suddenly I was back to square one. My eyes had changed and the birds were hard to track below the skyline. My swing was terrible and I could not get my cheek to settle in a spot. I had trouble locating my birds…..

The dove flew by the thousands each night and we consistently had limits. He would have his limit back to the truck and cleaned out and would be drinking a beer as I drug myself in at twilight panting like a dog. He would shoot 25-30 shots to get fifteen birds. I would shoot 50-60. By the end of the season he was shooting about 60% and would hunt for thirty minutes before he was headed back across the desert to the truck. I would grit my teeth and proceed to keep a thick shot cloud above me in hopes that a dove would fly into it. Thank GOD there is a limit on those things or he would have shot more birds than me every stinking hunt!

By the last night of the season I had not remembered much about the shotgun. But I did manage to recall something I had forgotten about the fall sky. I sat there and watched the dove fall out of it over my son as summer faded into fall. I thought about how sometimes fishing is more about the ocean than it is the fish. And so is the fall sky when it comes to hunting dove.

I took several photos this season that I thought represented what I had forgotten. Yeah, more desert sunsets. I guess if you have seen one you have seen a million. But then if you have seen a million you learn to appreciate every one. Go figure.

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Bob...whether you got shot 1 dove or your limit, whether you aim is true or off, the fact still remains that you have the ability to gaze at the sky and appreciate what it is that you are seeing, to glance back at the trip from your living room and appreciate the time spent with your son. I have that ability as well...the night sky around the campfire never ceases to spur my imagination, (ofcourse that could be the beer too) the quiet peacefulness of the desert is always a favorite memory maker. I work with people that never look up and when they do they see the smoke filled ceiling in a casino...that my friend ain't livin!! You got it right BB, you are alive and well! maybe a tad bit off kilter :shhhhh: ...but alive and well.

Edited by Bucket
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