On the Saturday before Father’s Day, a small Christian sportsman’s group I belong to sponsored a sporting clays shoot for dads and their kids. We had a pretty good turn out, having banked on the fact that dads who share custody of thier kids would likely have them on that weekend.
We actually had a better turn out in some ways than we expected. I have a friend who is a single mom to a young junior high boy, who allowed him to come to our shoot. It was the first time he had ever fired a shotgun at a clay target, and with a little coaching he was doing well enough and had a great time.
“When are y’all going hunting, cause I want to go!” My young friend is long on exuberance and short on due process. I informed him that our state requires passing a hunter’s education class, then purchasing a hunting license in order to hunt. And to hunt with us, his mom had to approve. I provided all the info, and let things marinate a while. We had an upcoming dove hunt, and so I nudged things along by using that as a deadline.
Zack completed the hunter education class (which has been responsible for a significant reduction in hunting related accidents since its inception), bought his license, and was waiting when I showed up on Saturday morning at 4:30 AM. Early wake up calls are a good litmus test for the desire to hunt in my experience.
Another friend provided some camo clothing to get Zack in the swing of things, and I provided the shotgun and shells, and a few other necessities like breakfast at Whataburger.
We got to the ranch and took up postions that in traditional fly zones on this property.
For the next hour the conversation went like this…
Zack – “Is that a dove?”
Me – “Nope. That’s a barn swallow”
Zack – “There’s a dove!”
Me – “No, actually that is a scissortail flycatcher”
Zack – “Ok that has to be a dove.”
Me – “Nope, sorry. Those are meadowlarks. But don’t feel bad, Governor Bush shot one once by mistake thinking it was a dove.”
After coming to the realization that doves just weren’t flying much this day, we moved closer to a large tank(for you non-Texans, that’s a stock pond or small lake). Doves were still scarce, but we saw an opportunity to rid the tank of a few snapping turtles. As I had Zack get ready to shoot a snapper, I saw a squadron of white winged doves headed toward us from our left.
I yelled for Zack to get ready and shoot when the doves got close.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a hunter.