LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dove Season

North Carolina is one of the thirty-eight states in which is legal to hunt Mourning Doves. In fact, here in NC we have three separate dove seasons every year. We even maintain land to attract doves for hunters, calling them "Gameland Dove Fields." These fields are seeded with some or all of the following: millet, milo, sunflowers, sorghum, or corn. The fields are mowed just before the start of the hunting season.

The final dove season of the year opened on Friday and we began to see more and more doves coming to our feeders. Wonder how they know that our community does not allow any hunting? The season will continue through January 10. The daily limit for each hunter is fifteen doves per day.

I will tell you that I have eaten my share of doves throughout my lifetime. My father was a hunter and he didn't hunt anything we didn't plan to eat. And I can assure you that doves are extremely tasty, marinated in an Italian dressing and cooked on the outdoor grill. Doesn't taste like chicken, either. It's WAY better than chicken. Today, I'm not at all certain that I could eat a dove.

Here are a couple of shots of a dove who, along with his mate, are hanging around our house:



Hey, Lady. You're not going to shoot me, are you?
I am a bird lover, but I have no problem with dove hunting. We have an extremely healthy Mourning Dove population here and across the United States. Unlike a lot of trophy hunters, dove hunters almost always eat what they shoot.
----------I must admit, I did have a little concern about this statement from the Website of Cabela's, the well-known outfitter:
Dove hunting is also popular with kids and women because they can shoot often, meet lots of other hunters and learn about safe firearm handling practices. Dove hunting is an interactive situation, and a dove field with many birds flying overhead will provide lots of stimulus for any age hunter. I frequently see fathers with young kids around dove fields. Small kids who are too young to shoot like to fetch doves and participate in the hunt when permitted.
----------I didn't like the insinuation that women somehow would be bored if not for shooting often and meeting other hunters. And somehow, the vision of little kids running around the fields like little retrievers just doesn't suit me at all.
----------I have mixed feelings about most things in life and my feelings about hunting in general and dove hunting in particular are also mixed. I have no problem at all with hunters who actually consume the animals or birds they legally hunt. I am opposed to hunting just for the sake of hunting.
While I never try to attract Mourning Doves to the feeders, I feel obliged to help them out a bit during hunting season. After that, guys...you're on your own again.


15 comments:

Melissa Weisbard said...

I really like the photos of the doves. I'm not against hunting either, assuming the hunters are actually consuming the animals they hunt. I think it is cruel and stupid to hunt just for sport.

I don't think I could eat a dove. I'm not afraid to try things, but the thought of eating a cute little dove might prevent me from trying it. I once ate roast duckling. It was wonderful. However, it wasn't until a while later that I actually thought about what I had really eaten. I ate a baby duck! I was pretty disgusted with myself at that point. So, baby duck is off the menu for me (along with veal and froit gras). It sickens me to think that they actually mistreat these animals just so the meat will taste better. Humans can really be inhumane.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Carolyn, Gorgeous pictures of the Mourning Doves. We had some here in summer--but I haven't seen any recently. They are welcome here also--since we are in an area where all hunting is prohibited.

I haven't eaten dove--but it sounds yummy!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Kallen305 said...

I have no problem with hunting if you eat what you hunt.

I could never eat a dove, but I am a whimp when it comes to eating animal sources of food (only eat limited chicken and turkey), so dove would be the last thing I could eat.

I love to look at pictures of doves in peoples yards. I don't have any this year.

Bless you for giving the doves a safe haven this year. I am sure they appreciate it.

Cheryl said...

I find it hard to give an opinion here....I always feel I have to be so careful as not to offend anyone.....I hope I do not offend......
I personally do not eat any meat.....I havn't for 26 years......I can understand people eating what they shoot, but surely the question is do they need to shoot it? There is plenty food available to all.....and most can afford to buy. I actually see it as people getting pleasure from killing.....but that is just MY view.
We have many blood sports in the UK including fox hunting....I abhor it......
and Yet I agree with the culling of deer to take out the weak and keep the herd strong.......

Mixed emotions for me but then I am extemely passive in nature....I did enjoy reading the post though....I like to read other peoples opinions.......

George said...

I guess I didn't pay enough attention to hunting seasons when I lived in North Carolina -- I didn't realize there were dove hunting seasons. I'll take your word that doves are delicous -- I'm not sure I could eat one!

The Birdlady said...

I'm not quite as ambivalent, Barb. I hope every hunter has rotten luck when they go out. (And nobody has told this Cooper's hawk around here that he can only dove hunt at certain times. lol

The Birdlady said...

Sorry Carolyn and Barb - I got ahead of myself.
H-

GreensboroBirds said...

Hm, I think I could definitely eat a dove, especially after your delicious description. They seem pretty fatty, like a duck maybe, and I do love me some duck. We have loads of 'em lurking on the floor of our woods--maybe hiding out from all the shooting I hear in the afternoon.

My brother's a big hunter, so I grew up with all manner of carcass hanging around and ending up on the dinner table. Everything he brought home was far tastier and fresher than what we'd get at the market.

pat said...

I had one nest right by my front door last spring (see photo) http://pats-dryrun.blogspot.com/2008/04/no-more-pruning.html
...she coo'd so softly it was like purring. I have no problem with hunting but i couldn't eat ne either. And chickens don't purr

Ruth said...

I have not heard of dove hunting around our area. Pigeons (squab) are eaten, but are often raised commercially. I suppose they would taste similar.

flowergardengirl said...

I found you at Robin's Nesting Place and see you've retired to NC. That is grand news as I do love it to death. My husband kept me away for many years in the AF-but we are home sweet home. I'm down around Winston Salem.

I like the name Mountain Musings. I'm relearning how to clog! It is grand and fun. I especially like the music. I hope you are enjoying all that NC has to offer. She's a grand old state.

Cedar ... said...

I had the same reaction to that Cabelas statement as I was reading it. And also about the kids running in the fields "retreiving".. now let's hope there are no stray shots and a tragic ending to that scenario. I recently shared an office with a coworker who, as a woman of retirement age hunted deer every year and usually got her buck before her husband. Women do not have to have things easy, social or soft, we are just as capable of everything as anyone else. Remember Rosie the Riveter?

Jen said...

Carolyn-
Thanks for stopping in at my blog and commenting.
My husband is a hunter and very respectful of it! He did a dove hunt a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. We eat what he takes and most recently it has been elk meat. Which was a first for him this past fall.
Hunting is a great hobby and offers a lot of good experiences.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Those are some neat dove photos. They are all puffed up and happy with your food.

Dog_geek said...

I have mixed feelings, too - I could never ever go hunting myself, and I can't relate to people who enjoy the "sport" of shooting animals. Yet, hunting seems more humane to me than most of our meat industry.