I follow the hunting and conservation news in my home state of Mississippi. It is important to me that hunters at home have great experiences close to their neighborhoods because that is just good for everybody’s business. So when the articles start hitting my local paper and friends start lauding or moaning their success in the dove fields over a good cup of coffee at my favorite local spot I can’t help but ponder the miraculous alignment of the stars and moon that makes our Argentina dove hunting what it is. Terms like daily limits, seasons and total possession don’t enter into my thoughts. I pulled up the 2010 – 2011 seasons and regulations for all species in the state and was particularly interested in Dove, Duck and Quail.
Once I figured out the imaginary line that separates the state into the two regulated zones and found out where I fell, I could move on to find the dates that were legal to find a dove field this fall and go at it until or if my daily allowance of 15 birds was attained. It is a good thing I have figured out how to use my smart phone and that I still cling to the use of a good paper organizer. The electronic device would allow me to set alerts and notifications so that I would know that I have approximately 26 days in this current season, or session and can look forward to about the same give or take a few days starting in the middle of December and carrying on into mid January of 2012. I guess I could pretty easily keep count of 15 birds taken without the help of a clicker.
I use my PDA and my calendar in Argentina to know when groups are arriving and departing, not to track the dove season. Why? Because there is no season, they fly year round, all day, every day, hot, cold, wet, dry. They fly during harvest, they fly when nothing is planted and everything is fallow on the ground, they fly in drought, they just fly. Now, the question I get all the time is why? Answer, a perfect world for doves or any bird.
The central provinces of Argentina – Cordoba and Santiago del Estero and several more produce the majority of the grain products for the country and export. Rotating crops are sunflowers, corn, bearded wheat, cotton and soy beans for the most part. Where we are located there is rarely drought, that is not to say that it does not get dry and hot, but the birds seem to always find enough water. We are close to rivers at both of our lodges. Our golden eared dove, unlike our north American white wing, is non-migratory. They will nest several times a year and produce an average of 2 eggs each time. Their habitat is found in a thorny, mesquite like tree and natural predators have a hard time getting to them, besides, most of the birds of prey would rather wait for us to knock them down and can be seen sitting patiently on fence posts waiting for a tasty meal. They are officially considered a pest, plague, pestilence by the government and farmers alike. Do the math, the official number varies, but the last report I saw had us at approximately 30 million doves in the region.
Here’s hoping that all avid wing shooters have the opportunity to experience a sky filled with hundreds of birds and the only limitation is how many times their shoulder can stand to lift and fire, that is Argentina dove hunting.