It had been a while. I had not shot doves in several years.
To say my aim was rusty is an understatement.
More accurately, I could not hit a bull in the butt with bass fiddle.
But see, I kinda felt my shoulder could tolerate the Remington 870, 20-gauge.
I was using light load shells. I got rid of the shoulder-breaker, 3-inch magnum I used to favor. But the 870 has always been one of my favorites.
The shotgun and I go back 40-years. I wanted to shoot it again.
So I did.
Thanks to Sandy and Philip Donnell, I was invited to attend the sixth annual, Jim Donnell Memorial Dove Shoot.
Best I can recall, I was at the third annual and had a ball. Not only do they shoot at doves, there is a silent auction, door prizes and a great pre-hunt lunch.
Proceeds go to the American Lung Association in honor of Jim Donnell. It is a fine event. The shoot is held, in complete safety, at the big farm off Maple Hill Road, a lot of driving was not involved.
So, I dug up a couple boxes of 7-1/2, light loads, (probably close to 25-years old,) and headed out in time for the silent auction and of course, lunch.
Now that my appetite has returned, I am back to eating at least twice a day. They fed a fine feed to about 60 and expected around 90 for the shoot.
I got to see several folks I hadn't seen in a while and even Jimmy McDowell, Lebanon's most talkative car dealer was there. He said he stopped in on his way to the car auction. Hunters ranged in age from 10 to older than me and that's saying some.
Even though, a smart dove hunter waits until at least three before heading for the field, I couldn't stand the pressure.
So, along about 2:15, armed with my camera, a couple lenses, shotgun, shells, chair and water bottles, I shuffled to my position.
Shooting positions are assigned by a number given at random when you register.
Dove hunting is not a game of stalk or stealth.
Sure, you may hide behind a hay bale or get a little screening cover in front of you, but if the birds are flying, you can get plenty of shooting just being in the right place.
Of course, unless you are either a natural wing-shot or have been practicing, shooting does not equate with hitting. When the birds have a little tailwind, one hit out of four or five shots is pretty good shooting.
These birds had a tailwind. But the wind kept the temperature bearable if you were in the shade, as I was. A nap was not out of order.
Sometime after that, a couple shots in the distance woke me up and I had to take my chances with a small flight of birds.
I shot a total of three times, killed one bird.
Slightly later, I shot twice more and killed one more. Two birds in five shots after a layoff of who knows how many years? You bet, time to quit for this year. Maybe they will invite me back next year.
A lot of work goes into this shoot and special thanks should be given to the sponsors and volunteers: Eastland Construction, Hunt Excavating, (I hear they get dirty,) Cumberland Real Estate, Burdine Supply, Stroud's Barbecue, Ozark Motor Lines, Southeastern Impressions and Tri-Green Equipment.
Thanks to all for helping make it happen and helping to raise serious money for the Lung Association.
Thanks again folks. Let's do it in 2017.
Mayor Hutto keeps his word
Some time ago, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto promised me he would work to see the boat ramp area at Misty Cove would be repaired to a usable facility. It took some horse trading but finally, the area came under county supervision and I got word that repairs have begun.
For some time, the area had been in deplorable condition due to three government entities each being responsible for part of the approach, parking lot and ramp. Now, as I understand it, it is all under the control of the county.
Thank you, Mayor Hutto.
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