Monday, September 08, 2008

Dove Hunting, Commodity Crops & High Times

Took a trip early Sunday morning. The bro and I scoped out the family farm in Newton County south of here where we will be hosting a gathering later this month for a group shooting event. The farm looked just great on a crisp, sunny September morning.

Got some practice with my .380 just for shits and giggles. We did not spend a lot of time there since I was lazy and felt like cleaning only one gun. Two friends arrived ahead of us for some dove hunting.

Dove hunting is something I have never participated in because I do not like the taste of dove. It always tasted like liver to me. Gamey as some call it. Never, ever kill something you can’t eat. Ever.

Tiny birds they are, you need to bag a lot to get enough meat for a meal. Having never done it I imagine cleaning them is probably like cleaning three limits of small perch. Ga-ga-ga-goo. So I’m thinking, since these guys like eating doves I should go down there to help them load up their freezers and get some wing shooting practice in at the same time. Lord knows I need it, maybe next week.

Dove hunting season opens September 1st. It’s easy, simple. A prime location would be between a sunflower patch and a pond. The guys planted sunflowers in the spring but they didn’t take. Oh well, at least the pond was full.

You hunt doves by sitting in a chair dressed in full camo near a tree or on a fence line and wait for them to fly by. It’s inexpensive, low brass cheapie target loads are good enough if your aim is good enough. Small shot size is an advantage. Doves are migratory and plentiful. What’s not to like? They are small and quick. They seem to sneak up and the shot opportunity is very short. It’s a damn tough shot.

It helps to have decoys. Unlike waterfowl you cannot call the doves, you just sit and wait them out. Luring them into range ups the odds. Here is one of a few motorized decoys the guys were using. A battery-powered motor flaps the reflective metal wings on this fake bird-on-a-stick. It works too. We witnessed a few flights swing into the decoys. They bagged two while we were there. It’s long way to go for a meal. You can’t shoot what doesn’t fly by and they weren’t flying by very often.

The corn crop looked really, really good, for all I know. There has been plenty of rain locally. Beans were not overly bushy but lots of pods were on the plants. Poor crop reports from southern Illinois and eastern Iowa should drive up the price in a few months. It has been too dry in those areas thru August. Dad should be happy with his obscene profits.

Thank you for E85, you environmental types and anti-drilling socialists you. : )

Another crop on the farm, one that is not cultivated, got my attention, This wild plant grows naturally, well, kind of. Back during the WWll years farmers were given huge sacks of seeds to grow along the fence rows by the gummint. Down the road was a large rope factory where they spun the harvested fibers into rope for the war effort.

No matter how hard they tried to eradicate these plants during the late 60’s they just kept growing back. They tried and tried.

When I was in high school some enterprising individuals from the urban north would boogie down to Newton County to harvest the wild plants. For all I know some still do. The variety of this plant that grows wild on our farm is known as ditch weed. You will get a headache well before it would get you buzzed. Never touched the stuff. I just captured these as novelty images.

Year ago Indiana State Police and the local sheriff would patrol the county roads from the sky and on the ground in order to bust the criminal teenage bootlegging enterprise. What a waste of time for both.

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