Dove Hunting at the Mistletoe Plantation
These days, it’s not likely that you’ll spot me wearing full camo. I let my husband do all the hunting, and he lets me do all the cooking. That’s the agreement we have, and I’m sticking to it. But I always go to the annual dove hunt. In fact, the whole family does! We look forward to it every year.
This most recent hunt was the first official dove hunt on our new property, Mistletoe, in Lowndes County, Alabama. Generations of hunters come together to take part in our dove hunts every time we host one. What other sport can several generations gather together to play?
I don’t know if I need to tell you about hunters and their guns. Let’s just call it a special relationship. Just about every firearm company was represented at this hunt. Remington, Winchester, Browning, Benelli, you name it. Scott used his lucky Remington 1100 shotgun that he received as a birthday gift way back in 1978. He harvested his first wild turkey with that gun and still uses it today for important events, like this dove shoot. Scott’s dad borrowed one of his other lucky guns—a 20 gauge Winchester shotgun that he harvested his first deer with. You could tell they were lucky guns at this dove hunt, as they both reached their limit of doves on the shoot!
Dove hunting is a very social sport. That’s one of the things I like most about it, the fact that you can TALK! If you know me, you will know that I’m well endowed in the area of talking. Having to stay silent for the whole duration of a hunt would probably kill me.
The dove hunt actually begins with great food and fun with friends. Anything goes for the menu, but you can never go wrong with smoked meats. I like to fill my smoker starting at around 7 in the morning with a pork butt, sausage, and as many chickens as the smoker can hold.
By putting the pork at the top, especially the sausage, the fat drips down to the other meats in the smoker. The best way to describe it is ecstasy! Cowboy beans or spicy baked beans and chips make fine sides, leaving the hunters full and happy. Hunters need a lot of beverages to keep them refreshed and happy, so a fully stocked cooler is a must. You can keep your food warm in a cooler as well.
To me, a dove hunt isn’t complete without boiled peanuts. It’s a must for any social event really, a fun snack that brings everyone together. Southern food at its simplest and best!
After lunch the hunters gather their stools, gun, other equipment, and a bag of hot peanuts, then head out onto the field.
I had a birds-eye view of the artistry of the hunt. Hunters strategically position themselves in the field as they work together to harvest as many doves as the law lets them. It was beautiful observing the teamwork as they call out to notify each other of approaching birds. It’s quite a wonderful experience to see —a team effort.
A few of the kids and I enjoyed taking refreshments and boiled peanuts out to the hunters. It was serendipitous in that we flushed up quite a few birds in the process.
In the end the spoils of the hunt are divided among the hunters. Even cleaning the dove is a social event that everyone, even the non-hunters, take part in. The camaraderie is quite unique and unlike any other Southern event. That’s why every year I look forward to the fall season, beginning with a few dove shoots, and especially the boiled peanuts.