Capt. Chuck Uzzle

For the Record

 

The sleek silhouette coasted over the tree line with that familiar darting 

flight pattern, the volley of shots only confirmed the obvious and the dove 

continued on its way toward the stock tank to get a much needed drink. This 

scene is played out thousands of times in the state of Texas as hunters take to 

the field suffering the effects of a long off season without much, if any, 

practice. Shooting these fast flying birds is enough of a challenge without any 

other interference, like most dove hunters already knows there are plenty of 

other things to get in the way. 

Without a doubt the biggest challenge for local hunters when it comes to dove 

season is finding real estate to hunt on. The state of Texas has plenty of 

public land to hunt and some of these areas hold good populations of doves if 

you know where to look. The only problem with public land is that you are 

competing with every other person who is in the same situation and those really 

aren’t good odds. The alternative to public land is leased property, both season 

and day. Now if you have spent any time in the field in this part of the world 

the thought of leasing land for dove hunting is about as appealing as driving 

down the road and emptying your wallet out the window. Quality dove leases in 

east Texas are about as common as unicorns so when hunters find a good one they 

tend to guard them fiercely. The day lease option is probably the best choice 

for local hunters; many reputable land owners will give a fair assessment of the 

dove population and make choosing a field a simpler task. 

Another one of the difficulties that face dove hunters is the heat; September is 

not a cool month in our neck of the woods. Both hunters and dogs need to go into 

the field prepared for some hot temperatures, and all the things that go with 

heat. Plenty of water is a necessity, especially for your dog because they can 

overheat quicker than you realize. Other nasty critters that thrive in the heat 

are insects such as ticks, mosquitoes and the ever popular snakes. Insect bites 

are one thing, snake bites are a whole different problem. If you plan on taking 

a dog in the field with you be prepared with a first aid kit, it could really be 

a lifesaver. Many south Texas hunters take the initiative to have their dogs 

“de-snaked” by a professional trainer. The dogs are conditioned not to pick up 

snakes or get near them; the training is great insurance against a possible bad 

situation. 

Now with all the bad things that can happen and all the things that make this 

hunting season tough dove season is still an enjoyable experience. Dove season 

signifies the beginning of the new hunting season and multitudes of Texas 

hunters can’t wait for the opening day. The thought of heading to the field for 

an afternoon session of dove hunting with friends is one of the most enjoyable 

experiences hunters can have. The fellowship and conversation that takes place 

in a dove field is like nowhere else. Dove hunters don’t need to be overly 

quiet, super camoed, or even scent free because it really doesn’t matter. 

Hunters talk freely among each other and often carry on good natured “trash 

talking” sessions about one another’s shooting skills. The environment is 

completely casual and sometimes the hunt takes a back seat to the camaraderie. 

Despite all the challenges that dove hunters face the sport still has a special 

place in many Texans hearts.