Monday, August 29, 2011

Dove season? Already? Ack!

I went to the range Sunday to shoot a little skeet - my last chance to polish up before dove season starts on Thursday - and while I didn't totally suck, I had to concede that I wasn't as sharp as I was this time last year.

For a while, this really bummed me out.

Last year, my extensive time at the range served me so well: I had my best dove season yet, and my best duck season yet too. I mean, I shot more ducks last year than I did my first four years of hunting combined.

The thought of backsliding because I couldn't make enough time for the range was discouraging. I mean, I had a good excuse: I was traveling with Hank on his Hunt, Gather, Cook Culinary Mayhem Tour this summer. But somehow I doubt that'll make me feel better when I go on my first big missing streak this fall.

Hank tried to reassure me. "I think you'll be fine when the season starts - you'll snap into it," he said.

Hmph, I thought. You wouldn't know that from some of my misses today.

That was yesterday. Today, I didn't have so much as a minute to think about it, because it was the first day of school. After three months off, it's crunch time.

And the start of my semester is especially frenetic, because I manage the campus newspaper. It's not just a class with a new roster; it's a business that re-opens twice a year.

There's hiring paperwork to handle, and there's always someone who forgets to bring in vital documents (no problem, Sweetie, it's just federal law for me to get this stuff). There are problems to solve, like the fact that our golf cart, which we use to deliver the paper, won't start (a million thanks to the automotive guys on campus who came and towed it away - with another golf cart!). And, of course, there's the usual last-minute cajoling, trying to get the young rockstars of our major to commit to a job that's way more work than any 3-unit class should ever be (please, please, please ...).

But it's my sixth year of this, so while individual challenges may be new, I've learned to handle them with more aplomb. No crisis here, folks. I know the drill. It all just falls into place. More quickly and easily than ever before, in fact.

You wouldn't even know I'd taken three months off.

Wait. Maybe Hank is right - maybe I will just snap right back into dove season. It's going to be my sixth year of hunting, too. It's not like the last five seasons of experience is going away.

And besides, attitude is everything.

I mean, I'm sure I could talk myself into shooting like crap when I head out for my first dove hunt of the year.

But I'd rather tell myself, "Thank God dove season is almost here!" I'm going to hunt when I can, bring home what I'm lucky enough to hit and fire up the grill to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Yep, I think it's going to be a good season.

© Holly A. Heyser 2011


Jessica said...

Good luck out there! I bet it'll all click together for you.

Shotgun Kat said...

grrrrrl, I totally know what you mean. I had it soooo good when I first started shooting & hunting. I lived 5 mi. away from a trap and skeet field. I now, however, live with my loving (now) fiance at the beach, and the closest range is 55 miles away. I went from shooting 3 times a week, to 2-3 times a month. This will be my first Dove season. I am very excited - but even more excited for Fall turkey to come around again. While I feel like my skills could be slipping, I still have youth and good eyesight on my side - I will let those be my crutches. haha Good luck to you out there Thursday!

Live to Hunt.... said...

Well, my 2 cents is that you and Hank are both right. The longer you hunt (I'm going on 30 years - God that makes me sound old - 42), the easier it does come back to you when you pick up the old long iron after some time off. But having now coached my sons competitive trap team I can also tell you that muscle memory and your shooting eye does go away and only consistent, ongoing practice can truly elevate your breaking target percentage (or killing percentage as the case may be). The key is to stay positive, focus on hitting that next target/dove and have fun. You will smack 'em! :)

A Reel Lady said...

As an avid trap shooter, I equate my trap gun to an extension of my being. It's taken thousands of rounds to get to that level. So equate those misses to one more time to make that gun an extension of your body. I still have bad days, but not like I used to.

NorCal Cazadora said...

One thing going for me in actual hunting is focus on the bird - that's when I do best at skeet, when I think "targettargettarget!"

We'll see soon enough. Either way, I've gotta relax about it. There's not much more I could've done this summer - I didn't have much free time.

Mark Coleman said...

"There's not much more I could've done this summer - I didn't have much free time".

And there lies the difference between regret and plain old misfortune. Roll with it and enjoy the season.

NorCal Cazadora said...

But, LOL, why did it take me 46 years to learn to roll with anything???

SimplyOutdoors said...

Just bask in the glory of an upcoming season, and the hits will come.

Man, I love the feeling of anticipation that comes with an upcoming hunting season.

Enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kid I was out at Cordova until Noon. I don't want to hear it. All you had to do was get up a little earlier and I could have had you on track in no time. Oh by the way the guys say hi. Remember we are out there almost every Sunday.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Our going-away dinner for Hank on Saturday night lasted until 2:30 and I require a minimum of 8 hours sleep - getting up earlier was not an option :-(.

But somewhere between dove season and duck season I'll get out there :-)

Rick said...

Hi Holly,

I had exactly the same experience @ the range last Sunday. Not terrible, but not what I want to see from myself. Had to remind myself that I have been slacking with the range time, and that I WILL put the time in before duck season.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Shoot doves as much as you can, and it'll help your shooting a LOT!

Doves are why I shoot doubles at every skeet station - you have to be able to move that fast to stay on 'em. (And I STILL smacked a couple doubles on station 4 last weekend, so I'm not totally screwed :-) ).