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9/1/2012: Trail Cam Survey/Dove Opener

Posted September 8th, 2012 at 01:47 PM by Skewerer
Updated September 9th, 2012 at 05:53 PM by Skewerer

Last Saturday was just an awesome day outside--despite the heat! The farmer that leases a field from my papaw had cut his corn a few weeks ago, and we had been seeing some doves in the area before Isaac had blown through. The storm seemed to really drive alot of the birds away, so I didn't really have high expectations for the hunt.

A group of us met at the shop around noon, and after getting ready everyone headed out to dove hunt. I elected to hang around in the shop and take care of some things before hitting the fields to hunt. Honestly, I just wanted to avoid the heat and didn't think there'd be much shooting.

I had gotten on Google Earth the night before and mapped out my trail camera locations for a survey that I've been planning. I interviewed Rans Thomas of Trophix Wildlife Consulting for a story I did for BBM on trail camera surveys earlier this year. Having worked previously for the Bucks of Tecomate, the man knew his stuff. We talked for over an hour, and he really lit the fire in me to do my first trail camera survey.

I had 8 locations mapped out to survey a 750 acre block of timber. In the shop, I grabbed some spare sign material and some old scrap lumber and fashioned some signs for each trail camera location. I used a stencil set and painted them up. Turned out nice, I think!

Having finished the signs, I picked up a load of corn and hit the trail in the Bad Boy. I use my cel-phone as my GPS. I had imported the .kmz files from Google Earth to my Droid phone earlier in the morning, and I used the "Footprints" app to home in on each location.

After arriving at each location, I'd find a good tree for the camera, clear the area in front with a brush hook, and then hammer the sign in the ground about 15 ft. from the tree that would hold the camera. Last, I'd throw some corn out (about 20lbs per site). I DID NOT PUT OUT CAMERAS ON THIS TRIP. This was the prebaiting phase which will last about a week before I deploy the cameras.

After finishing up all 8 locations, I was whooped! I went back to the camp and grabbed a shower because I was a sweaty mess. By 5:15pm, I was heading for the dove fields. I called my uncle who had been hunting all afternoon, and he said the birds had just started flying. Perfect timing!

My papaw lives right on the edge of the field, and he keeps close tabs on the birds. He told me that he had been seeing the doves coming to a big bare spot on a farm road about 200 yards from his house. I stopped by and chatted with him for a few minutes before grabbing a dove mojo decoy and heading to the spot he recommended.

I leaned back against some rolled up irrigation plastic and waited on the doves. I didn't have to wait long. The action was fast and furious; at times I had trouble keeping the gun loaded! In a little over an hour, I had my limit of birds. Man, what a great way to start September!
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