Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
No one will argue that the 2014 Iowa dove season is easily our best yet. So far, there have been five straight, back to back days of high intensity wing shooting excitement. Today was perhaps the most exciting yet. Plummeting temperatures and brisk NW winds triggered a mass movement of doves. But the morning got off to a slow start; only saw two doves during the first 45 minutes and I figured the day was going to be a bust. By 7:45, increasing numbers of birds were starting to appear. By 8:15, the flight was on. Flocks containing 6, 8, or even a dozen or more birds were as common as pairs and singles. The two largest flocks I counted had 19 and 21 doves — incredible!
Birds acted dumber than a box of rocks and were landing all over the plot — the same plot that has been hunted morning and afternoon every day of this year’s season. My shooting was pathetic. But the birds kept coming and I managed to connect with several plump doves. All but one was in juvenile plumage — unlike anything I’ve seen on previous hunts. Today’s dove migration was as good as I’ve witnessed — anywhere — and I’m glad I got to see it.
Another personal dove hunting high note occurred yesterday when I bagged a banded bird. I’ve only shot two banded doves in my life; both were taken in Iowa.