I guess all that was needed was a change...
I decided to hunt section #2435 tonight. It's in Blackland, TX and I had scoped out the field last week. It is a 160 acre field with a V shaped border facing a couple of farm roads. It's unimproved pasture, so it doesn't have anything to pull in the doves other than a small tank, which is where I parked, with my back to the boundary (and a tree to provide some cover and shade).
I set my decoys up at the edge of the water and waited. I got their about 4pm, so I expected some company but there was no one there. I began to wonder if this was going to be a good spot after all. The fact that I didn't see any dove and didn't hear anyone shooting in the distance and I really started to wonder if this was going to be a continuation of the slow action from last week.
About thirty to forty-five minutes later others started arriving, and so did the doves.
It's amazing to see the difference in some people. Some were very courteous, apologizing as they walked past me to get to their spot. Others - they just took up a spot that was well within shooting distance and within the range of fire. I couldn't believe this idiot twosome who sat right along the water not 50 yards from me. As they eyed my decoys, I spoke up - I was afraid they were gonna shoot them, they moved on...what a bunch of bozos.
Regardless, having other shooters in the area helps stir up the birds. In fact, the one I bagged tonight was driven right to me from another group of shooters who missed. I used to not want to see others around - like all of the dove were just for me and I didn't want to share the area with them. Now, I want to see others around and hear them shooting. If often means that the birds are headed in my direction. The fact of the matter is that some of the nicest people I have met are the hunters with which I share public land. They are friendly, helpful, willing to share information and tips, and (for the most part) are respectful of rules, courtesy, and fair chase.
I ended shooting about a box worth of shells. There was a lot of stop and go action. The bird I harvested approached me head on (after being fired on). As I stood up to take aim, veered to my left a little. I led him perfectly and fired. He folded and dropped. Unfortunately, he dropped on the wrong side of the boundary fence by about 15 feet - and in some pretty thick stuff. I decided to quickly jump the fence and look for him. About twenty minutes later, I gave up - frustrated again.
I went to sit and hunted for about another half hour when I got up and searched some more. I was so pissed that I couldn't find another and I knew about where he landed, I really spotted it well when it fell. After about five minutes I found him - my first of the season. Unfortunately, some fire ants found him, too, so I had to clean them off of him - getting stung a couple times in the process. It was worth it.
After hunting several more hours and shooting and missing a lot, I called it a night. I know it's only one, but hopefully I'll add to him and turn a small snack into a meal. I used my vacuum packer that Angie bought me last Christmas for the first time, so I have one little dove breast in the freezer. This one has my sister's name on it, but I'm hoping for many more.