Double Dove Opener Is Twice the Fun
The only bad thing about opening day of dove season is that it only happens once a year. I have found a way around that flaw. This year, I decided to open dove season on two conservation areas (CAs), one where legal shooting starts in the morning and one where shooting starts at noon.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. Sept. 1. I could afford to “sleep in,” because I didn’t want to arrive at Davisdale CA in the dark and wait for first light to discover who was hunting around me and how close they were. I had heard the CA in Howard County had lots of doves, and I figured that several people would shoot their limits by 8 a.m. and leave, making room for me to hunt for an hour or two before the predicted 102-degree heat set in.
I miscalculated. The action was good, but not as good as I hoped. Eight o’clock came and went without anyone shooting a limit or getting tired of the fun. I did get to visit with several hunters, though. Some of them had arrived as early as 3:30 a.m. to get prime spots. I felt better knowing I had gotten three hours more sleep than those guys.
Aaron Garringer of Columbia got to Davisdale just in time to claim a spot at the edge of the hottest field around. He had not gotten a lot of shooting, but he was really pumped about shooting a mourning dove wearing a leg band. He didn’t even notice the aluminum jewelry until he stopped to count his birds around 7:30 a.m. He had shot banded ducks and geese before, but never a dove.
At mid-morning, I left Davisdale and headed for James A. Reed CA in southern Jackson County. I got there just in time to get a tag and visit briefly with area manager Rick Bredeson and John Schulz, the Conservation Department’s dove expert, before heading for the field. Rick and John predicted that few doves would fly before 5 p.m., due to the heat. However, I had driven all the way from Jefferson City and was determined to get my money’s worth. I parked my camo stool in weeds at the edge of the mowed sunflower patch and settled in for a serious sweatfest. If it hadn’t been for a gusty breeze, I probably wouldn’t have lasted, but with the wind it wasn’t too