A Full Day, CA Dove Opener 2012-13

Posted by: on Sep 21, 2012 | No Comments

It was a late start in the morning, which for me is becoming more normal on a Dove hunt. I’d much rather prefer a nice afternoon shoot, to a pitch black short morning hunt. It gets so hot so fast in the morning around here that the cooling afternoon outings are much more appealing.

The morning started in Norco CA, with the 8 month old yellow dog.

It was her third Dove hunt, and boy did she improve. She was steady, broke on command, and enthusiastic about retrieving. She has one of the best noses, and is very easy to read in the field. A few more birds and she’ll soon connect scent to brain.

Photos by JSQ

The morning shoots are over so quick, as soon as it gets hot the birds stop flying. So to kill a few hours before the afternoon shoot we headed to Mike Raahauge Shooting Range. It was a great way to practice a little, and for me to test fire my 16ga reloaded shells.

This place has always been one of my SoCal favorites, and it has improved recently. They have diligently planted trees, graveled the roads around the course, added more shooting stands and machines. Plus, there is water all around to let the dogs out and cool off.

My reloads on the other hand were a complete nightmare.
The first one put through the Sweet 16 wreaked all sorts of havoc. When ever you have to take a gun apart and put tools to it, you know you have a serious problem.

They did the same thing in RickO’s Model 12 16ga. My model 12 16ga had no problem cycling the reloads, but as Rick pointed out it looked like someone had opened it up. The new recipe worked great. Very light recoil and crushed the clays.

We broke for lunch and then did some old fashioned scouting. After driving around for a little while, we pressed the flesh and got permission to hunt the most perfect little corner lot. That made the sage veteran happy, as she was restlessly awaiting release from the crate.

It was the perfect spot, wires on both sides, food source out front, river and roosting trees behind. It didn’t take long for the action to heat up.

My model 12 was missing the plug so I usually use the Rizzini O/U when hunting north of the border. However, my reloads also gave me fits in the Rizzini. I was surprised as most O/U can shoot anything. The crimps were not terribly ugly, but something must be slightly off since the shells seemed to squeeze into the chamber and not seat all the way. It didn’t take me long to sort though the reloads and put together a box or so of decent looking reloaded shells that chambered. And with those and the Rizzini in hand I salvaged the afternoon.

In between the reload shell fiasco we took breaks to water and cool the dogs, then work the griffon pup.

Despite the problems with my reloads the afternoon shoot could not have gone better. Plenty of birds to work all the dogs, a cool breeze kicked up at sunset. What more could one want on a Dove opener.