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August is Doorway to Dove Season and Fall

August was a big month in my life when I was growing up in Shelby. Of course, it meant school would soon start again and I would be moving into another grade at Bayou Academy. But more importantly the month of August signaled that dove season was just around the corner.

HottyToddy.com managing editor Kate Wallace and her husband, Matt, planted this beautiful field of sunflowers in preparation for dove season this fall.
HottyToddy.com managing editor Kate Wallace and her husband, Matt, planted this beautiful field of sunflowers in preparation for dove season this fall.

With dove season only quickly approaching, my friends and I would get our shotguns, clean them up and “sight them in”. Footnote to non-hunters: no one actually “sights in” a shotgun. Hunter’s sight in their rifles every year, but seldom shotguns.
Five or six of us would nail a bulls-eye paper target to a tree out in the country and shoot our 8 and 9 shot lead shells.
“Yeah, that shotgun is already pretty much sighted in,” someone would remark. “I don’t know, it looks like it is shooting a little to the left to me,” another would exclaim.
We would take a look at the various shot patterns and satisfied, return to town. Sighting in our shotguns was really just an excuse to take them out of the closet and get in the mood for the upcoming hunting season in general. Back then, I used an old .20 gauge shotgun that was as light as a feather my father gave me one Christmas morning. In the third grade, he sawed off the stock so it would fit me. I used that small gun until I graduated from high school. Both of my sons also used it growing up shooting many doves, ducks, and turkeys.
Dove season was an epic event in our family. Each year, my father would take several of my young friends and me out to J.W. Magee’s farm east of Shelby or to Pat Denton’s farm west of Shelby for the opening day of dove season. I don’t know what the limit was back in the 1970s, however we all shot a ton of dove on opening day. I remember on one hunt, Pat had converted and baited some old catfish pounds into dove fields and by mid-day, the dove resembled bees because there was so many. We could have thrown a rock into the air and killed ten with that alone.
August also meant driving out to our cabin at Donaldson Point Hunting Club on the Mississippi River in Bolivar County and cleaning it. We would spend a weekend … killing spiders, wasps, cleaning the kitchen, washing the bedding, mowing the yard, and trapping the families of mice that had made their homes in our trailer during the six months when we weren’t there. Saturday would pass with hamburgers on the grill, cleaning everything in the afternoon, and steaks on the grill at night. The annual card game “tournament” as we referred to it, would dominate the rest of the evening and we would play spades until 2:00 in the morning as lightening bugs by the thousands lit up the outside of our trailer. I don’t see many lightening bugs anymore. Working on our deer food plots was also a part of that special August weekend and this is a tradition my sons and I continue.
Although the fall is still weeks away, for our family, August is the stepping stone into that wonderful time of the year that we like the best: cool weather, football games, and hunting!
ScottCoopwoodPhoto-843x1024Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current . Scott’s company also publishes two weekly e-newsletters. Coopwood publishing concerns now reach 250,000 people.  Scott is also a 1984 graduate of the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at scott@coopwood.net

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