Apertura Paloma 2012-13

Posted by: on Aug 30, 2012 | No Comments

Oh man, what most of us wait for all year, the first shots taken on wild birds! For me it always starts with getting my gun permit officially stamped.

We had some fantastic weather. The coast was socked in, but 5 miles inland and the skies were blue. All around the mountains surrounding the ranch we could see either fog or massive anvil thunder heads to the east. It was spectacular, and helped to keep the temperature in the high 70’s low 80’s. Perfect for a little afternoon dove shoot.

For the afternoon hunt we chose to set up on the edge of the developing vineyard. We pass shot the birds as they flew from the leaky well pump, to the roosting trees in the river below. The action was steady and the shots challenging.

Its that time of year, and the grapes are almost ready. One last little drink of water for them and it will be time to harvest.

With dove on the coastal ranches most of your action will come at the last few minutes of the day. By the time we cleaned all the birds and left the ranch it was just after 8pm and pitch black. As we closed the gate behind us we noticed the fog settling in over the vineyard.

It was a short drive to a friends restaurant where he happily prepared our fresh game. It took some time before the birds hit the table, but when they did arrive we were pleasantly surprised. He had smoked them along with some steak. The oak and mesquite wood used to prepare our meal came from the same ranch where we harvested the Dove. What a tasty treat.

There was no reason to get up at the crack of dawn the next day. The cooler weather and foggy mornings made for a brisk late morning departure. Under a blanket of fog, we took our time making it to the second ranch and did a little Quail scouting along the way. Photos of birds on the ground are never glamourous, or representitive of what you actually see, but I was very pleased with the large number of birds we encountered. In some spots the coveys are much larger this year.

By 9am it was skies clear and the birds came swirling in. We set up on a little draw between the cut barley field and a grove of mesquite trees. The draw always has some water running though it and there was plenty of cover.

Retrieving downed birds was a bit challenging in this cover, but Sicily made short work of it picking up bird after bird.

Even the shorthairs enjoyed the cool weather, fast and plentiful flights of birds, and generally perfect conditions.

With the first shots fired, and the first birds retrieved, I enthusiastically await the coming hunts.