Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blanked for Early Doves

All dove food, no doves
At another one of those great moments where being a hands-on restoration ecologist intersects with being an outdoors fanatic, I had the opportunity to get out and spend a late afternoon talking about work (i.e. money for habitat), life, and hunting with the owner of the farm I lease (with others) on the eastern shore of Maryland. It was technically the third day of dove season, but honestly, I was happy to get out that close to the opener.
Hurricane Earl gave the shore a glancing blow in the morning, with a little bit of rain, a nice breeze, and a reduction in air temperature from the 93-97 range to something more in the 83-87 range. We wrapped up the serious work in the mid-afternoon and headed afield.

No boat? No insulated anything? No 10-dozen decoys? Must be upland!
The farm's owner heard from his son, who had a successful dove hunt nearby, in Delaware. Examination of the birds' stomachs revealed that the doves were not eating the pre-ordained sunflowers and sorghum planted for them (or really, their demise), but instead, overgrown giant foxtail grass, and neglected/never harvested winter wheat, which had dried up months ago. Having neither of those things in abundance on the farm where I hunt, and hearing no reports of birds in the area (a very heavily hunted area for migratory birds), we simply took a walk around the perimeter of the 350 acre farm, each armed with a 20 gauge and a pocket full of shells.
The only game birds we saw were turkeys - the flock has not been hunted since turkeys returned to the farm circa 1995 - and we saw a few finches as well. Still, it was great to relax, see the farm at a different time of year, and chat with the owner about all things personal and professional. It made me the tiniest bit more confident in my understanding of the farm's geography, and kept my spirits up for the next opportunity to go afield.

This was in front of a hunting store on the eastern shore that sells $3,000 goose guns and $600 wading jackets. Something tells me that the giant inflatable deer head speaks to a slightly different hunting demographic, but maybe that's just me.


Unknown said...

sorry you had a slow day in the field. We had a good opening day here and I will post about it in my blog later today.

NIKE B. said...

Sound of an interesting blog, if you enjoy fishing you can visit my blog amateur: http://pescuitamator. blogspot. com / blog and Fishing: http://fishingnike. blogspot. com / with esteem and respect Nik.

Kirk Mantay said...

Cool, look forward to reading it.

Would you believe me if I told you that I don't really care that much about not shooting that day? It's the truth - much more fun thinking about the 1000 - 1500 geese that will be hanging out on the farm every day starting around November 1.

tugboatdude said...

still thinking of coming up in late October if time permits.I would love to see the farm before all the growth is dead

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