MarkplateWell, it wasn’t a turkey hunt, but I did get to take a crack at my first feathered game of the season last week when I joined approximately 30 to 40 other hunters in a Chesapeake, Va., dove field. Buck Garrett and his family had worked hard over the summer to perfectly groom their 22 acres of field behind the elder Garrett’s truck repair business, and Buck reported that dove had indeed been dropping into those fields just days prior to the opener like drunks into Denny’s after the bars close.

Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Ernesto had other plans, and rolled into the area with about 10 inches of rain and 50 mph gusts the day before. I had barely beat the brunt of the storm into the area worried that I might be risking my family’s life as we powered down the highway right into the storms first rains of the area.

We made it, I sat and watched as the storm raged all day Friday and then that Saturday, headed out for the noon time start of shooting time. Needless to say, the storm had boogered up the birds in a big way, but not so bad that the boys lining the edges of the field (three adjoining fields actually) got to pop off a periodic shot or three prompting congratulatory whoops at the good shots and a volley of joking at the bad ones.

For my part, I popped a few solo birds, team shot a couple, missed about six (if I do 50 percent on doves I’m ecstatic) and in the end enjoyed a heck of a lot of barbecue and made a number of new friends. The party after the hunt is really what an opening day dove shoot is all about isn’t it?

In my next post, I’ll fill you in on more about the shoot and toss in some pics besides the mug of Gerber’s Mark Schindel with his…um…plate of doves. I learned a few things too that will actually help me prepare for the coming turkey season, and I’ll share them with you so you can maybe learn from my mistakes.