The opening of dove season was a blast (excuse the pun)! We ended up hunting in a different place than expected, though. We did go to Coleman, Texas, to Jimmye Sue's folks' house, and we usually hunt their ranch nearby, but we saw a grand total of two doves. That's it.
However, as soon as we headed back toward the house, there were white-winged doves all over the place! They prefer to be near cities and towns. Fortunately, the house is just outside the city limits, so it's legal to hunt. We waited for them to go over on the way to water and got them coming and going. There were huge flocks, some with 50 or more birds.
I'd like to say that I got my limit in 15 shots, but that wasn't the case this year. Now, I consider myself a pretty fair shot, but I guess I hadn't shaken off all the rust. It took me two whole boxes of shells and an hour to fill out my limit. But, I got it done, and it was lots of fun. My daughter Jamie also got to shoot at a few. She didn't kill any, but she knocked some feathers off.
Grace, our two-year-old lab, did a fantastic job. This year, she got to the point that she'd look to the sky when I pointed my gun. Last year I'd shoot and I'd have to send her like we do with the dummy, but this year she realized it was an animal that was falling out of the sky. Also, when I missed, I swear she gave me a dirty look!
Another neat thing about hunting in the backyard was that I got to hunt Sandy, our older lab. The terrain is a little less rugged than the ranch, so I let her out for a bit. I learned that since she's missed the past few seasons, she's become a little ornery. She knows she's old enough that she won't get in trouble, so she does what she wants, like break on the shot. I had to put Grace in the house when I was hunting Sandy so she didn't pick up any bad habits. Despite that, it was great to see her at it again.
While we were there, I started to get things ready for deer season. While I was filling the feeders with corn, I saw 25 deer on the property, which is encouraging. I told you last time that Little Alton was practicing for the Bass Champs on O.H. Ivie. He went with his partner, but it was tough. They figured a pattern out and got a limit each day, but it was a little shy of their goal of 20 pounds. Under those conditions, 20 would have been good.
The days they were there were slick calm, and Ivie is somewhat of a clear water lake, so it was tough. Regardless, they're excited about it, and I think they can do well if Alton sticks to his strengths. He's a shallow-water fisherman, and the advice I gave him is to find some fish that intersect with his strength. I told him to not go back and read things about past patterns because that can taint his opinion of the lake and lead to bad things. He needs to fish his own game, and he'll be OK. The conditions should be improved by the tournament, anyway.
One other thing: It's time to start breeding Grace. She's in heat, and we've got a boyfriend picked out for her. The girls are excited about puppies already. But that will probably change once the messes and clean-ups start. It should be interesting.