Dove season, for me, is always the beginning of Fall and bird hunting. Never mind that it is still Summer.
For a number of years now, Pete Houser has been kind enough to invite me to Southern California for the opening of dove season. This year, as usual, we went out scouting birds on August 31st to check the known hot spots and look for new opportunities. We found enough birds in residence and a new spot or two so we were satisfied that we were ready for the opener the following day. After an excellent brunch at a Mexican restaurant in El Centro we went out for some pre-season shooting - at pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves. We had a great time for a couple of hours and burned a box or two of ammunition while downing some birds for the freezer.
For whatever reason there were a lot fewer hunters this opener than the past several. And, unlike many past seasons, we found more White Wing Doves than Mourning Doves. We also found that, unlike past seasons, Eurasian Collared Doves were very widely distributed rather than concentrated in a few small areas near towns and feedlot operations. In fact, The Eurasian Collared Doves were as abundant as White Wing Doves and far out numbered Mourning Doves.
Eurasian Collared Doves do not count towards the dove limit in California. Accordingly, we call them "Zeroes". Due to the abundance of Zeroes we made a relatively large bag in the first two days - over 100 birds and within the 15 bird White Wing/Mourning dove limits for each day. A great shoot and a great time.
White Wing, Eurasian Collared, and Mourning doves with my 20 gauge Charles Daly.