I went anyway, and it was an enjoyable 90 minute armed walk in the woods. I just didn’t bring home dinner. I will have more on my hunt in a minute, but there are some topical links I would like to share.
Wes Siler, Managing Editor of Indefinitely Wild, a Gizmodo blog, has been at the forefront of bringing a pro-ethical-hunting message to a demographic that is largely ignorant of the topic. Gizmodo readers tend to be younger, more liberal, and more plugged in than the rapidly-diminishing OFWG demographic. In a lot of instances, Wes is not preaching to the choir, and consequently has received a lot of blowback, usually in blog comments, but also on a recent appearance on the Dr. Drew Show. (read the background story on his appearance here)
His latest piece “How to Shoot, Clean and Prepare these bacon-wrapped dove breasts” is an excellent read. Check it out.
Back to my hunt. As I mentioned in the morning, I was hunting at Forks of the River WMA, a 1000-acre public hunting preserve only a couple of miles from downtown Knoxville. Throughout most of the year it is dominated by hikers, cyclists, and other such pastoral pursuits. It is one of my favorite places to hike with the family because my Labrador, who is radio collared, is allowed off leash for training. However, from the start of dove season at the beginning of September through the end of March, the area is open for hunting for dove, deer, turkey, and geese. This shuts down some of the trails, and some people don’t play well with others.
I mentioned an incident from 2008, where someone, likely an anti-hunter, spread corn on the fields and trails, shutting down the season before it started. I couldn’t find an archived news article, but I did find this on an Upland Journal forum.
Vandalism forces closure of Knox Co. bird hunting site
Posted: Aug 28, 2008 05:49 PM
KNOX COUNTY (WATE) — The TWRA says vandalism has caused the closure of migratory bird hunting on Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Sometime in the past two weeks, vandals put agricultural grain on Forks of the River, which violates state and federal laws.
Canada goose hunting season was scheduled to begin next to WMA at 30 minutes before sunrise on Sept. 1.
Dove hunting was to open at noon the same day on the WMA.
Now, neither can be hunted on Forks of the River WMA, next door private land or public waters of the Tennessee, French Broad, or Holston rivers next to the WMA.
The TWRA asks anyone with information about the vandalism to call the poaching hotline at 1-800-831-1174.
TWRA will notifiy the public when the area reopens for migratory bird hunting.
Today I noticed the vandalism on the sign I posted above. Effing ingrates. Hunters fund conservation. Period.
As for the hunt itself. It was rainy and I only saw 6 birds (about 1000 are harvested opening day). All were flushed from trees, and all but one was completely out of range. There were no birds moving on their own to pass-shoot. The final dove was nominally within range and at a bad angle but I took a snap-shot and missed.
When you think to yourself “there is no way I make this shot” as you pull the trigger, you are doomed to miss, and miss I did. Oh well, I used to limit from a lawnchair on my back porch in Idaho. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”
If it had been a month from now, I could have taken a shot at the turkey I came across when I rounded some tall scrub. He was less than 12 yards away and stood there for a good 5 seconds before flying away. Even with #7 shot I could have taken his head off from that range. Of course a month from now fate would never hand me that shot.
It was a great walk in the woods.
(Editors note: Thank you all for indulging me in this diversion. I was hoping for some doves to use for testing. Hopefully I can try again next week.)