Sunday, September 6, 2009

Opening Day of dove season at Longbeard Farms

Way down in a hollow right next to the Wateree River lies Longbeard Farms, near Eastover. This Richland County setting was just one of the dove fields across South Carolina where the annual rite of passage known as opening day of dove season was observed. (Some members of the public also call this the first saturday of college football season) A host of family and friends gathered at a dove field prepared in corn and sunflower, and after a brief safety meeting, the shoot began at 3 p.m. Captain Todd Stamps put me in a corner of the field where the birds like to cut across. A bird appeared, my 12-gauge pump shotgun bellowed once and the bird fell, and we held a meeting to decide that this was not a bad thing - unlike the superstition of say catching a fish on your first cast during a fishing trip. The weather was warm and a gentle breeze guided the doves into the field so that all the gunners, which included about 10 youths, were able to have a fun shoot until 6 p.m. A Boston butt supper was served with green beans and some cold BEvERages. Thanks to huntmaster Patrick Stamps for coordinating all of the days activities.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Dove season is a great way to get youths involved in the outdoors and the hunters show off their doves, Todd Stamps with two birds on the way to his limit, Erin of Mt. Pleasant guards the sunflowers from those invading doves

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