John's Journal...

Enjoying a Dove Game – Any Number Can Hunt and Play

Day 4: The Value of Having a Good Retrieving Dog on Your Dove Shoot

Editor’s Note: Dixie sportsmen are bringing-back the great old tradition of plantation dove shooting. The best part is that you don’t really need a plantation to try it. Much of our hunting today has become a sport for loners, with many of the social and the recreational values eliminated. There was wisdom in the old planters of yester year who chose to meet annually in the fall for a delicious meal, a dove shoot and a time of fellowship. A plantation-style dove shoot today may be just the remedy to put fellowship, friendship and people enjoying people back into the sport of hunting.

Click for Larger ViewDove hunting, down-home style, was a relaxed, easy-going recreational break from the pressures of the business world and the complicated running of a plantation in years gone by. Many outdoorsmen have found that the rekindling of that mood in today’s hunting world is a needed break. Click for Larger ViewOur hurry-up society has dictated that you reach the field at noon, shoot your limit of doves and run home that afternoon for a business or a social engagement. But to preserve traditional southern dove hunting, landowners put-on memorable plantation-style shoots with the hunt often beginning with a barbecue lunch.

Many of these hunters have learned the value of having a good retrieving dog on a dove shoot, using them in the same way as their plantation predecessors did. On a dove hunt I attended, several hunters took their Labrador retrievers into the field and then sat in the shade of spreading water oak trees, much the same as the planters 150-years ago must have done as they waited in the same fields for the grey ghosts of the southern skies. Click for Larger ViewThen when the birds came-in, they mounted their guns and fired. On this modern-day hunt, as the doves tumbled from the sky, the labs charged to retrieve them. I sat on the other side of the field with no dog. But when I downed a dove, I had a long hike in the blistering September sun, a sweaty search and that same walk back to my stand. Click for Larger ViewAfter I limited-out on this hunt, I enjoyed an innovation that modern technology has added to the traditional plantation-style dove shoot – a battery-powered, portable television. As the hunters reached their limits of doves, they came-out of the field to the welcome shade of a tree, had something cold to drink, sat on their dove stools and watched football – all the while discussing politics, business or which lineman jumped off-sides before the whistle sounded.

Tomorrow: How to Plan an Old-Fashioned Dove Shoot

Check back each day this week for more about "Enjoying a Dove Game – Any Number Can Hunt and Play "

Day 1: Remembering the Dove Shoots of Yesterday
Day 2: Tradition Upheld – A Plantation-Style Dove Shoot at Sweet Apple Farms near Livingston, Alabama That Benefits the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Day 3: A Traditional Dove Shoot Lasts a Full Day, Including Recipes for After the Hunt
Day 4: The Value of Having a Good Retrieving Dog on Your Dove Shoot
Day 5: How to Plan an Old-Fashioned Dove Shoot

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Entry 629, Day 4