Saturday was the first day of fall, but you wouldn’t have known it if you were in south Texas. That’s where JWT and I were, mostly sitting under the shade of a tree, tucked between some cacti in 100-degree heat, with shotguns on our laps and our eyes fixed on the sky.
We were posted up on the edge of a medium size field with a small watering hole at Frio County Hunts at the Wilson Ranch. It’s located in Frio Town outside Pearsall which is southwest of San Antonio, about 90 miles north of the border.
Frio County Hunts is a big (6000 acres?) great hunting facility on the Frio River that’s probably better known for its white tail, hog, and turkey hunting, but we were in an almost ideal spot for doves.
Despite a long, hot, dry summer, dove numbers in Texas were forecasted to be up this year thanks to a mild spring. I’ve been down here more than long enough now to have hunted dove, but somehow hadn’t managed to do that yet. My bad.
Despite the heat Saturday was a great day to check doves off my list. It didn’t take many birds to see why so many Texas hunters wait all year long for dove season. I love the shotgun sports and have hunted duck, quail, and pheasant, but this is a different game. These little birds are small, fast, and crafty.
If you’re going to be out in the field in central and south Texas, you’re well advised to invest in a good pair of snake boots. When the birds came in I tended to pay a lot more attention to getting the right lead on the speedy little avians than I did to the prickly flora around my feet. As you can see by the spines sticking out of them, those Lacrosse snake boots saved me from more than just serpents.
It won’t please the folks at PETA to hear that the hunting was good. I managed to limit out (15) and had a hell of a good time doing it.
Dove hunting is challenging shooting given their speed and agility. They can and do dodge, bob, and weave at times to avoid even well-placed shot strings. It took me 54 rounds to down the birds I got. That’s not great shooting, but I’ll learn. And I definitely want to do it again.