September 1st in Arizona is one of my favorite days of the year. It's opening day for the early season dove hunt. Getting together with my friends and family and hunting has been something I've missed greatly while living outside of Arizona. Yesterday was the first time in over a decade that I was able to hunt with those I grew up hunting with.
My friend had scouted out a great place. Close, lots of dove, and did I mention close. Unfortunately, it had rained the night before so the dove were not flying as much as usual (if you can drink from a puddle next to you, why fly to the big watering hole you usually go to?), but there were still plenty of flyers. Unfortunately, my aim needs some refining. It took me about 50 shells to get 7 dove. One person got the limit of 10 and the rest of us had between 5 and 7. One of us even took down 2 with one shot (he really missed both, as the birds were about 15 feet apart, but lucked out).
One of the dove that I shot fell in to some tumbleweeds. As I was poking around looking for it, I heard some rustling around and then some high pitched squeaking. I then moved the giant tumbleweed and came across one of these:
A black and white/yellow king snake who was very grateful to me for providing his breakfast, which I graciously let him keep.
The rest of the hunt was uneventful. We went back home, cleaned our dove, brined them, and then BBQ'd about 8 hours later. Nothing like brined dove, with a split jalapeno on the breastbone wrapped in bacon, and dipped in honey BBQ sauce. Can't wait to go on Monday.