Dove hunting in the south is a time-honored tradition that ranks with some of the most anticipated events of the year for most southerners. In fact, opening day and weekend rivals some of the biggest holidays and sporting events that occur. In our family, it’s no different.
Way before I was even born, our family farm had been converted into a “dove field” which was usually planted in sunflowers to attract birds on their migration routes. These farm fields provided the playing surface for hundreds of friends and family members to dove hunt together. Usually before the hunt a big meal was provided allowing us to strengthen friendships and bonds that are ever so beneficial in life. Coincidently, opening weekend usually occurred alongside the start of the college football season of which provided additional opportunities to gather and cook the harvest of doves together.
Now that I have children of my own and reminiscing, I realize that the hunting aspect was such a minuscule priority. In reality, camaraderie was the emphasis which cultivated and strengthened many friendships that are still strong today.
That’s what makes dove hunting special. That’s why it’s so important for me to be out there with my son, Kipton. I had the honor of watching him next to my dad who had the same enthusiasm for sharing the field with friends and family. I’m not sure who had more fun, honestly. They were both grinning ear to ear all morning, and I’m pretty sure Pops didn’t miss a single shot (nor did he hesitate to give anyone a lighthearted ribbing when they missed).
I love that the dove hunting tradition continues to be passed down through my family and my community. I assure you, there’s nothing more special than watching your son and his grandfather smile and laugh together in the sunflowers. So, whether you’re from the south or not, share the field. Share the table. Create your own traditions and keep them alive.
Tip: If you’re a duck hunter like me, dove hunting is a great opportunity to brush up on your shooting in the off season. Doves provide a unique challenge thanks to their speed and small size. Grab yourself some HEVI-Hammer Dove and knock the rust off two months before the ducks start flying.
About the author: Kelley Powers is a Champion of Champions goose caller and lifelong hunter. He is the founder of Power Calls and co-owner of Final Flight Outfitters.