Hunting season has finally arrived! Okay, before anyone points out that there may have been a resident Canada goose season in your area, let me explain. Growing up in Oklahoma meant that September 1st and the beginning of dove season was seen as something akin to a religious holiday only to be missed if the Sooners’ first football game happened to occur on the same day (even then, your allegiances were always questioned by some-be them hunters or rabid college football fans).
Skeeter was deprived of a hunt on the 1st because of my travel schedule, but we made up for it on Friday evening the 2nd. We set up on a gravel pit with shallow bodies of water nearby and we had the good fortune of being in close proximity to several wheat fields that had recently been harvested. These factors culminated into us having a great spot with the water and grit required by several mourning doves that had recently completed putting on the evening feed bag. Though you can’t get me to give exact shot to kill ratios, suffice it to say that my buddy and I shot well despite this being our first foray afield with shotguns in several months. This resulted in Skeeter getting several opportunities to make land and water retrieves with even a few that required some hand signals. He was a little rusty on casts and whistle stops, but this is more attributable to my lack of training sessions and not his skill.
As you can see by my shorts and Skeeter’s panting, the evening was warm, though not hot by southern standards. We started off by getting him to fetch a Lucky Dog dummy out of a nearby pond to make sure that he didn’t overheat. Fortunately we had enough shade and birds that fell into the water that we didn’t have to repeat the process, but I recommend carrying a bumper or dummy to encourage your dog to get into the water on a regular basis if temperatures dictate. I also thankfully had plenty of C9 Hydration on hand to help him stay hydrated. Skeet was very focused and it was a blast to see the recognition in his eyes that this was not merely another preseason dress rehearsal. We ended up with 19 birds and though this was shy of two-man limit, everyone had a terrific time. Hopefully this hunt portended of hunts to come, but for now we’re content with the dove on the grill and the cooler temperatures in the air.
Clay Thompson is the Training Category Manager for SportDOG Brand®. Clay began his hunting career at age six when his father introduced him to BB guns and a single shot .22. By 8 Clay was walking the fields with his dad and was able to go on his first dove hunt at age 10, which left him thoroughly hooked on upland birds. Clay graduated from the University of Oklahoma and is a die-hard Sooners fan. He has been a member of the SportDOG team for 8 years, and is featured on the back of our SportHunter® 1825.