Doves are often here today and gone tomorrow.
I don’t care if they are gone tomorrow, as long as they are here Tuesday.
That’s the opening day of dove season in Oklahoma, considered the beginning of the fall hunting season.
Dove shoots are a great way to introduce children and grandchildren to hunting. Many Oklahomans traditionally cap off an opening day hunt by feasting on dove with friends and families.
I am salivating now over grilled dove breasts wrapped in bacon and jalapenos.
Hopefully, there will be enough birds to shoot Tuesday for my supper, but that will depend on the weather, which has been unseasonably wet and cool for August, scattering the birds more than usual.
Also dampening the opening day outlook is this year’s wheat crop, a major food source for the birds.
Wheat fields in portions of the state suffered a winter drought and late freeze in the spring. Much of the available wheat was cut for hay.
Some fields that were harvested were less productive and other fields were sown with other crops.
Oklahoma’s public hunting areas that are managed for doves also rely on wheat. Wheat is planted, allowed to mature and then brush-hogged to attract doves.
But the wheat didn’t make and native sunflowers were not as productive this year as well, said Rod Smith, southwest wildlife region chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
This is the situation at Hackberry Flat near Frederick, which attracts 300 to 400 hunters each year for the premier opening day dove shoot in Oklahoma.