Dear Writing Huntress,
I’m interested in bird hunting. Deer hunting is fun and all, but I see how girls like you and the WON huntresses love wingshooting, and that makes me feel like I could be good at hunting birds, too. So, coming from a complete novice, what’s the best way to start? Should I dive head first into waterfowl, or go with something else? Do birds even taste good? Lots of questions, I know but I’m very interested!
Wild for Fowl in Wilmington
Dear Wild for Fowl,
Before we delve too deeply into the wonderful world of fowl, let me begin by noting that hunting birds is extremely difficult. As I’ve already written concerning geese: hunting fowl of any kind is dirty, annoying, time consuming, complicated, but most of all, rewarding. If you are serious about embarking into the fowling world, the best advice I can give you is to attend informational classes in your area, and amass every bit of advice and knowledge you can during your fowl adventure. Believe me, it’ll pay off.
What does this mean to you, Wild? It means that hunting birds, or hunting anything, really, takes time; so don’t believe that your fowling prowess will develop overnight. However, if you start you adventure aiming at doves, you’ll have a great start.
Why dove hunt?
Dove hunting generally takes place when the weather is nice.
Fowling, especially waterfowling (geese, ducks, tundra swans, etc.,) happens when it’s cold and miserable outside, which isn’t the most conducive platform for learning. Dove hunting marks the beginning of the hunting season for many a hunter in our country, starting in early September. Hence, you’ll have a whole lot of time to hone your dove hunting skills without having to build an igloo or load up on Hot Hands.
Birds fly unlike anything else in the world, especially inanimate clay pigeons. Hence, shooting skeet, where clays fly in the same arc, over and over, won’t really help your cause. Shooting Five Stand, conversely, will.
Five Stand is set up on a series of platforms, each with a specific shot sequence that is played out over the range. Clays will fly from many directions, changing speed and flight pattern, challenging your awaiting barrel. Is this difficult? Of course! But will it be worth it when doves begin their graceful dance before your eyes? Yes!
If there is an instructor at the Five-Stand range, be sure to grab him or her for pointers or instruction on shooting, form and how to be most successful at the range.
Doves are delicious
Wild, if we’re being honest with one another, I can’t lie to you – I love the taste of dove, so much so that it’s kind of becoming a problem. While many people complain that fowl tastes too gamey, I think that dove is a perfect balance of flavors. See below for one of my favorite dove recipes.
Easy to find
If you’re near a freshly harvested grain field that happens to have a big tree or 2 in the middle of it, or maybe some power lines along the edges, you’re in luck. The long-tailed beauties just can’t stay away from comfortable trees or power lines.
Allow this aspect of dove hunting to introduce you to fowl identification, a key aspect in hunting any type of bird, whether it be ducks or geese. Study up on what doves look like and how they fly. Again, seek out the knowledge of fellow hunters in your area, because proper identification is the most important thing to master when learning to hunt birds.
Wild, dove hunting is an informative and fun way to start your fowling journey. Remember to shoot straight and enjoy the spoils of your dove adventure!
Add a few teaspoons of garlic to a pan containing warm olive oil. When the oil is sizzling, add your freshly harvested dove breasts. Cook each side until lightly sautéed to medium/medium-rare. While cooking the dove, throw some rice in a pot and let it simmer. Top rice with butter, the garlic and dove and maybe a little brown gravy on top. Enjoy!
Also, if Mexican cuisine is your thing – think dove quesadillas. Normal quesadillas, just with bits of delicious dove!
This Retro WON post was first published Sept. 11, 2013.