Hunting for Pigeon and Other Birds

by : Craig Stanford

By the time I was in high school, I still hadn?t been hunting yet, so when my friend Jeff, invited me to go pigeon hunting, I jumped at the chance.

Jeff?s dad was an avid hunter who had plenty of guns and two hunting dogs. Both dogs were German Shorthairs, which is a good breed for hunting. Sally was the older dog; she could barely walk, so Jeff and his dad didn't usually take her out hunting anymore. Betsy was young and hadn?t been on very many hunts, so she still had a lot to learn.

I went over to Jeff?s early on that Saturday morning not knowing what to expect. As soon as I arrived, Jeff got out two shotguns. One was a 12 gauge and the other was a 20 gauge. Sally, the oldest dog, absolutely went nuts as soon as she saw the guns. I couldn't believe it, Sally was running all over the house like a puppy. There was no way that we could leave her behind as we originally intended.

We loaded the guns and the dogs into Jeff?s car and only had to drive about three miles to the field where we were going to hunt. Back then we were out in the country, but now, suburbia has taken over.

After we got to the field I noticed three or four duck blinds around the field?s perimeter. I figured that the farmer must rent the field to a hunt club during duck hunting season.

Jeff gave me the 20 gauge while he used the 12 gauge. I really liked the 20 gauge. It had very little kick and was light, so it was easy to carry.

We walked around the field and shot pigeons whenever they flew by. Most people that shoot at birds make the mistake of shooting right at the bird, but I had some experience at shooting skeet, so I was familiar with principles of lead.

After we took a few shots, I was really glad that I didn?t have the 12 gauge. Jeff was an experienced shooter, but his shoulder was turning red, even though he was wearing a coat.

As we walked around the field, we had to go around a large batch of blackberry vines. As we walked around the vines, a flock of quail surprised us by taking flight right in front of us. They were way too quick for me, so my shot missed. Jeff?s shot, however, got one, so I got to see where experience helps.

As we walked around the field, we could see a pigeon perched up in a tree. We both threw rocks at it because we figured it wouldn?t be very sporting to shoot a pigeon that was just sitting there. Rocks didn?t work and yelling didn?t work, so I shot it. Neither one of us wanted to take it home though because we were afraid that maybe it wouldn?t fly because it was sick.

Sally and Betsy pretty much did as we thought they would do. Sally was good at fetching downed birds, but Betsy didn?t know what to do. She picked up everything we shot, then she would take off running. Because we wanted to spare Sally from doing a lot of running and Betsy kept running away with our birds, Jeff and I usually fetched our own birds.

At the end of the day, we had 15 pigeons and Jeff had gotten a couple of quail.

When I got home, my mom called Jeff?s mom and found out how to cook the pigeons. I was surprised at how good the pigeons tasted. I was also pleasantly surprised that I didn?t bite into any birdshot. To this day, I still don?t know what happened to it.