Labor Day was our dove opener this year and I can finally talk about it, all 102 degree heat index and no birds of it. That's a bit extreme, actually. We had a few birds.
As openers go, though, the dove were sparse. They just weren't there in the numbers we typically see in early September. This was more like a third or fourth week of September shoot, birds drifting in two or three at a time with maybe one or two flurries during the hunt. Those big flurries, the ones with birds coming from every direction, so many that you can't decide which one to shoot, having three birds down at one time and yet another flies over while you're picking the first one up? Didn't happen.
Statistically you're bound to have a slow first day once in a while and we were probably due. Whether it was the oddly damp year we've had so far - we hit our annual rainfall average in late July - or the mild summer temps, at least until Monday, something kept the birds away. At least the beer stayed cold.
...this is sixty one dove wings in a cardboard box. A friend of mine at the DNR asked me to collect these for their annual study on brood hatches or molting or something and I happily agreed, certain that I'd gather a metric ton or so of wings from the opening day bonanza. At this rate it'll take a season's worth to get him a valid sample. One thing I didn't realize about dove wings: there are these tiny little feathers that you don't notice until you're riding home with the window down and they take to the air but somehow stay inside your truck until you're choking on them and swatting at them while they're sticking to your eyeballs. So you roll down a back window hoping it will suck them out and instead it makes more of them take flight. So you pull over and roll all the windows down and get out and cuss a few times and wait.
Eventually you get back in the truck, this time with the lid on the box closed and weighed down so it won't blow open, and then you realize that all the tiny feathers didn't blow out the window, they settled down to the floor, only to go airborne one more time. So then you do what you should have done in the first place - roll up the damn windows.