Mourning dove season opens with series of successful hunts

Carroll Outdoors

September 14, 1997|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If the remaining five weeks of the early mourning dove season are as good as the first three were, I doubt there will be a loaded shotgun shell in all of Carroll County by mid-October.

The only disappointing hunt Uniontown's Wayne Albaugh and I have endured this month was the Labor Day season start. And that was because a couple Baltimore-area gunners beat us to the best dove field on a certain Union Bridge farm that is tops for early bird hunting.

Still, we managed to grumble through nearly a box of ammo each before folding to that day's oppressive heat and humidity.

Next we managed to pull off a heck of a good mid-week hunt on a Uniontown area farm. Shooting stands were set up beside two farm wagons alongside a gravel farm lane and directly under a power line. The field we hunted had been chopped for silage a few days earlier. A pond and plenty of wood lots for nesting were nearby.

As an extra enticement, should a dove not immediately recognize paradise, Wayne tossed some plastic dove decoys over the power line and secured them in place with fishing line.

At times, the shooting action was nothing short of frantic, and we limited out inside of two hours.

About half the birds were taken as they tried to join the line-sitting decoys. My pal, having mostly easy, incoming shots, limited out first.

I pointed this out to him, but he didn't quite see it that way and insists that I bungled numerous easy opportunities. Of course, he chose to ignore the howling wind and blinding glare that this writer was unfairly forced to contend with on nearly every shot.

Poor shooting certainly wasn't a problem on our next hunt at the same farm.

As Westminster's Ronald Haines was bagging his 12-bird daily limit with a Remington Model 1100 auto-loader chambered for the dandy 28-gauge shotgun shell, Albaugh and I managed to run 14 straight hits.

I ran off five straight before having to use a second shot from my 12-gauge Winchester side-by-side shotgun.

Wayne's first miss occurred when his shot string failed to connect on the second bird out of a possible double. Both of were using one-ounce loads of No. 8 shot.

Wayne's Browning double is choked improved cylinder and modified. My gun, which I have shot since 1976, was made after World War II, when skeet was the rage; it's choked for what used to be known as Skeet 1 and Skeet 2.

Wayne and I do quite a bit of dove shooting each fall and are sold on the use of decoys. Many times the fake doves have spelled the difference between shooting and going home with far too many loaded shotgun shells.

They are especially effective over power lines and clipped to dead tree branches.

The dove hunt continues through Oct. 21. Legal shooting hours are noon to sunset and the daily limit is 12 birds. The dates for the second and third segments of the season are Nov. 17-22 and Dec. 22 to Jan. 3. Legal shooting hours for these last two segments are from half-an-hour before sunrise to sunset.

Good fishing, too

Fishing in the fall striped bass (rockfish) season has been superb throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

I recently joined Reisterstown anglers Mike Nitti, Rich Honiball and Nitti's grandfather, Ed Mieczak of Illinois, aboard Capt. Gordon Haegerich's Casey J charter boat out of Kentmoor Marina.

We caught close to a hundred stripers, most in the 15-inch range, but enough 18-inch minimum keepers for the night's dinner, while fishing first off the mouth of the Magothy River and later, off Kent Island's Love Point.

The next day, Gordon returned to the same spot off the Magothy and immediately got into 30- to 35-inch striped bass. Chumming and trolling have been the favorite methods, but as the water cools, the most fun will be had by casting into breaking schools of fish.

This good fishing will only get better as the waters cool.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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