Let's hunt dove

Published 11:22 am Monday, October 16, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
The beautiful skies and mild temperatures hint of the change of seasons for our area. Nothing compares to the crisp air and the wind whistling through pine trees in October.
Being confined has made me more aware of my surroundings and of the many great wonders of the outdoors.
I had the opportunity to sit outdoors with my two sons in our backyard the other day. It was a true Kodak moment. The sky was blue, the air crisp and just enough of a breeze passed through to brush your face almost taking your breath away with it.
The boys and I just sat absorbing our surroundings as we talked with each other. Sounds beautiful doesn't it? It was and it really happened just like that, but I have failed to include a minor detail about our Kodak moment.
My moment of solitude with my sons was interrupted here and there with a loud, ear shattering, heart-stopping blast. That's right, you guessed it. My boy's were dove hunting from the comfort of our own backyard and I was along for the ride!
My first dove hunt was far more interesting than I could have ever dreamed. I have never really paid attention to hunting and because of that I possess little knowledge, but know being the mother of two 'manly men'; the time has come for me to either get on the truck or get off!
In an effort to continue the quality of the 'quality time' I had with my boys as they patiently waited for the dove to take flight, I thought it might be a good idea to share in the excitement with them.
Out of nowhere, I bravely exclaimed, "I want to shoot." My two boys were all over that like white on rice. I don't think they could have possibly moved any faster as they both came to me preparing me for the task ahead.
What had I done? I have always been scared of guns. I had shot a pistol in my earlier years in a place called Dead Mans Gully with my daddy and brothers and remember being so scared.
Before I knew it, I had a Winchester 410 (impressive huh?!?) on my shoulder getting ready to take aim.
For some reason I brought the butt of the gun in close to my face as I pressed against my shoulder. My boy's were quick to correct me. I should have known then what was going to happen. But how could I possibly back out now?
The gun was loaded, cocked and ready to go. I aimed the best I could where I was told and pulled the trigger. BANG! My heart raced and quickly realized why it wasn't a good idea to hold it near my face. What a kick I got in the shoulder.
Three dove flew out, up and away from us, but the boy's were too late, they were too busy watching their mom coming down off of her first hunting high!
Not content to leave well enough alone, I had to of course take at least one shot from each gun. I mean of course the guns are as different as each of my son's and I couldn't possibly walk away without giving them both a shot.
This time I was poised to shoot my oldest son's shotgun, a Winchester 20-gauge. He placed it very carefully in my hands and gave me instructions on how to aim and fire and told me to press the butt as hard as I could into my shoulder and hold it tight.
As I am doing this and my finger is in mid pull of the trigger, I hear Austin say, "Daddy won't even shoot my gun because it kicks so bad."
Oh, my, me oh my! What had I done-BANG! As my ears rang from the thunderous exchange my right shoulder realized that it would probably never be the same!
What I thought was a 'kick' from a 410 was really just a little nudge compared to the bull-charging kick from the 20-gauge.
None of us know if that shot sent any dove scurrying into the air, because my eyes were closed tight as I screamed in pain. And the boy's well lets just say they were too busy laughing.
I hung on for a little while longer with the boys until they finally lost interest and decided to pick up the football instead for a little game of 'backyard football'.
They did end their first hunt of the dove-hunting season with two doves. One for each. As for myself, I didn't have a bird to show for my two shots, just a sore shoulder, but it was worth it for every minute I got to share in tune with my children's element.
Hunting season is upon us and like my boys I am sure there are 10 more boys for each doing the same. Be safe and enjoy what time they will allow you to participate. It really is a kick!
As you read today's paper, I will be undergoing surgery on my right knee. My eight-week journey since I went flying through the air causing me to injure my knee is slowly coming to an end. I look forward to being back with you again.
Janet Little Cooper is editor of The Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123.

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