What's not to love about dove season? It's your first bird hunt of fall. You get to hunt with lots of friends. And if you actually hit any doves, you get to eat one of the yummiest birds around... Yeah, that was insanely good. Click on the link below the photo for the recipe, or click here to see what he wrote about making that dish. Click here to read about what he whipped up last week - Doves on Feed (dove served over a bed of farro, which is a grain that doves would probably love to eat). Or just click here for all his dove and pigeon recipes. Dang. Now I'm getting hungry again. God, I love my man! © Holly A. Heyser 2009
Mmmmmmmmmm. Food. Read more...
If you're looking for dove recipes, I should direct you to this article I've got in the Sacramento Bee today - it has three tasty recipes with it. This story was actually part of the Sept. 3 Fall Hunting Preview package I worked on, but it didn't fit in last week's paper so they ran it in today's Food & Wine section. And it turns out that's appropriate, because I really focused on dove as feast.
I've got a couple more links to dove recipes below, but can I just say first that I am thrilled to report that I FINALLY got some doves this weekend? Yeah, it's only my THIRD SEASON of dove hunting. The first season, I couldn't hit anything. The second season there weren't many doves flying by the time I got out, so I didn't find out if I was capable of hitting them yet. My opener last week was the same.
But then I went to Michael's Native Hunt ranch near King City for his annual Labor Day dove hunt and feast. Even though dove season started Sept. 1, Michael didn't let anyone hunt the birds before Labor Day, so it was as good as having a second opener.
Everyone was saying the dove flight wasn't as good as it had been in previous years, which I've been hearing from people all over the state. But it was good enough for me to get lots of opportunity to shoot, which is important with such fast-flying, hard-to-hit birds.
I was a little nervous, being the only chick out in the field. I didn't know if I could hit doves, and I didn't want people to think, "Oh, she shoots like a girl." But it turns out I shot better than, oh, a lot of the boys in the field that day. I brought back six, and Fabio, the Italian gentleman hunter I'd partnered up with, complimented my shooting. A lot. God, I love Italian men.
Unfortunately, I also lost a discouraging three doves because we were set up next to a deer fence, and anything that sailed over it was inaccessible.
Well, almost anything. When we were done for the morning and everyone was sitting around on trucks and ATVs, I looked on the other side of the fence and spotted a dove in the bulldozed firebreak. Dead. Ten feet from us.
We bemoaned our bad luck, and then moved on in the conversation. But we kept coming back to it. It was driving us nuts seeing that bird out of reach.
One guy - Martin - said if he were younger and more agile, he'd hop the fence for it. I told him that such youthfulness had more to do with stupidity than with agility. And within 10 minutes, he was looking for a way to get over that fence. God, I love men.
But he realized that an 8-foot fall would be bad for a 50-year-old man, so he gave up.
We sat there joking about getting some duct tape and taping sticks together to try to drag the bird our way.
Then another guy, Eric, spotted a big, long pine branch that had fallen from a tree. About 10 feet long. He started ripping twigs off of it, then poked it through the fence wire.
Almost... almost. The branch tip stopped about two inches short of the dove.
"Push on the fence!" someone yelled.
So two of us leaned hard on the wire to extend his reach, and I'll be damned if Eric didn't hook that bird. We got it!
I know nothing in nature goes to waste, but I want to retrieve every animal I shoot, because the point of shooting them is eating them, not just watching them lie dead and waiting for the insects to find them. This dove probably wasn't mine - it wasn't close to where I was shooting - but it made me feel better knowing we'd made the effort to retrieve it.
Now, it's all about the eating.
Back at the lodge, Boyfriend was cooking up the doves that hunters brought in, with his incredible - and not difficult - Grilled Dove a la Mancha recipe.
I can't tell you how many times that morning I heard people gushing that this was the best dove they'd ever eaten.
Back at home, Boyfriend got a little more freaky and decided he wanted to work with a theme: doves with their future neighbors (quail eggs). Here's how that came out:
Yeah, that was insanely good.
Click on the link below the photo for the recipe, or click here to see what he wrote about making that dish. Click here to read about what he whipped up last week - Doves on Feed (dove served over a bed of farro, which is a grain that doves would probably love to eat). Or just click here for all his dove and pigeon recipes.
Dang. Now I'm getting hungry again. God, I love my man!
© Holly A. Heyser 2009