Texas Dove Hunters Fall 2021

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TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com

Official Publication of the Texas Dove Hunters Association

FALL 2021

BUBBA WOOD

DEDICATED TO WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION EDUCATING TEXANS

CHRIS BATHA THE IMPORTANCE OF GUN FITTING

GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION OF HUNTERS AND WILDLIFE AMBASSADORS





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Dove Hunters Magazine

Official Publication of the Texas Hunters Association

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com

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Publisher TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS, LLC Editor SUSAN THORNTON

10 ON OUR COVER

Bubba Wood

Dedicated to wildlife conservation, Bubba Wood has spent a lifetime giving back to hunting and fishing sports and working to preserve the sports of wing shooting and shot gunning.

CONTENTS ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 8

16 Texas Wildlife Association

plays a vital role in educating Texans about the importance of hunting, wildlife, and natural resource stewardship.

Founders letter

22 Ladies in the Field

Contributors CHRIS BATHA HOLLY HEARN MEREDITH KAY ALLISON MERECKA JAY SCHWISOW NATE SKINNER DAVID YEATES Advertising Sales CINDY JENNINGS Printing SHWEIKI MEDIA, SAN ANTONIO, TX Cover Photo By DARE TO AIM PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH DOCKERY

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24 Hunt Zones and Season Dates 26 Texas Outfitters

info@TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com

30 Photography in the Field 34 Families in the Field

40 Photos from the Field 42 Dove Cleaning 101 46 Dove Recipe 48 TDHA Store

Chris Batha

CALL 210.764.1189 EMAIL

.......................... TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS MAGAZINE is published bi-annually by Texas Dove Hunters, LLC (Publisher). Reproduction in any manner in whole or part is prohibited without the express written consent of the Publisher. Material contained herein does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher or its staff. TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS MAGAZINE reserves the right to edit materials for clarity and space and assumes no responsibility for accuracy, errors or omissions. TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS MAGAZINE does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertisements or editorial, nor does the Publisher assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial appear. Articles and photographs are welcome and may be submitted to our office to be used subject to the discretion and review of the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. © 2021 Texas Dove Hunters, LLC. 2395 Bulverde Rd., Suite 104 Bulverde, TX 78163 210-764-1189 texasdovehunters.com

explains how a properly fit shotgun can improve your skills and make a tremendous difference in the field.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA 6 | FALL 2021

Contributing Photographers DARE TO AIM PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH DOCKERY HOLLY HEARN HUNT WITH HEART JAY SCHWISOW LAURA SQUIRE PHOTOGRAPHY

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION

36 Hunt with Heart

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Graphic Design STUDIO SYKES


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2021 Greater Houston Sports Club

This event is open to the general public and is a 501(c)(3) fundraising event. Funds raised go towards youth education programs, scholarships, conservation grants and more!

WeHuntWeGive.org/events


LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER

T

here seems to be an increased excitement about the upcoming dove season in comparison to last season. COVID played a big part in limiting the number of guns that went to the field and how often. The excitement is growing, and the phone has been ringing more than usual at our office with people looking for an outfitter. The Texas BB Challenge has already exceeded the number of entries from the same time a year ago anticipating more trips to the field and a better chance to win. The rains this spring have been just what we needed for the germination of spring planting and hopefully some continued intermittent rains will help maintain steady growth for maturity. If you are in the mode of cleaning your gun and getting ready, let me encourage you to get your shells as soon as possible. As with so many other industries, COVID has had a lingering effect on the shotgun shell supply chain starting with the procurement of powder, plastic and brass. This has had a major effect on manufacturing the shells and is causing a shortage of supply. You may not have as many options of shot size, shot weight, FPS velocity or dram equivalent this season. Get what you can and trade in the field with someone looking for what you have. If you can’t find the lead you are looking for you may want to try your luck with steel shot, some hunters prefer steel over lead for various reasons but this year it may simply be out of necessity. Use caution when shooting steel. Be sure you check the specs on your chokes, if you use them, as some are not made to support steel in all patterns. As we prepare for the upcoming season, it’s important to remember that our hunting dogs need preparation. Remember to exercise and work with them to help them get in shape for the hot days in the field. And don’t forget to take plenty of water. They’ll need it.

Take a kid hunting,

Bobby Thornton

MISSION STATEMENT Texas Dove Hunters Association promotes strong family unity through hunting and outdoor programs. We are committed to research, education and habitat conservation. 8 | FALL 2021


TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS ASSOCIATION CORPORATE OFFICE 2395 Bulverde Rd., Suite 104 Bulverde, TX 78163 Off: (210) 764-1189 Fax: (866) 233-0507 email: info@txdove.com texasdovehunters.com

FOUNDER Bobby Thornton

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Susan Thornton

Shotgun Coaching ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Myrna Hassfield

Wing Shooting • Sporting Clays • Fitasc • 5 Stand Austin, Houston, San Antonio

“Get tuned up for dove season”

PHOTOGRAPHER

Jay Schwisow

Chris Keyser NSCA Certified Instructor Master Level Shooter GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Christine Sykes

In field instruction available

512-688-0743 Chriskm4@gmail.com TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 9


FEATURE

BUBBA WOOD

A Lifetime of Hunting, Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation By: Nate Skinner Photography by: Sarah Dockery


If you’re a hunter, wing shooter, or shotgun enthusiast in Texas, then the chances are you’ve probably heard the name Bubba Wood. Wood has dedicated his life to wildlife conservation and preserving the sports of bird hunting and shotgunning for future generations. His legacy and reputation have made him a household name among sportsmen and those passionate about wildlife and their future.

T

he iconic Texas outdoorsman, Martin F. Wood, was pretty much known as “Bubba” his entire life. Born in Wichita Falls in 1940, he was the son of a very successful Texas oilman. “It’s a remarkable situation to find yourself in, being born on third base,” Wood said when referring to his upbringing. “With that being said, you don’t ever want to think that you hit the triple that got you there. I’ve tried to adhere to this mentality as much as I possibly could.” Wood’s passion for hunting, fishing, and the outdoors began at a young age. At ages 7-8, he could name and identify all the ducks and waterfowl species found in North America. “I studied F. H. Kortright’s book, The Ducks, Geese & Swans of North America, constantly as a child,” Wood admitted. “I could name them all.” Wood’s affinity for the outdoors and later his motivation for fighting for wildlife conservation

was influenced by his father, Frank Wood, who was Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “My dad was a fabulous father, as far as introducing me to the outdoors was concerned,” Wood elaborated. “He always made it a priority to take me hunting and fishing, and if he couldn’t take me, he saw to it that I got taken. Several game wardens in north Texas as I was growing up became my hunting guides. Three of them ended up as groomsmen in my wedding.” Some of Wood’s earliest hunting memories with his dad began in a dove field. “We hunted doves quite often around north Texas,” Wood said. “There were a lot of folks farming for doves, and there were plenty of birds.” Wood killed his first limit of quail when he was nine years old. It is a memory that he is still very proud of today. “I still remember to this day how proud my Dad was of me bagging my first limit of quail,” Wood reminisced. “I think he was more proud of that feat than he was when I graduated from law school which he knew was a miracle.” At 80, Wood still hunts White-winged dove and quail all over the state at every opportunity. “My longtime friend, Ed Griffith, a banker in Taylor, Texas, owned a ranch in that area, where we hunted for years,” he said. “It became a tradition of ours to open our season there on that place, and I hunted with him every year until his passing last year.” Having a gun dog along on a hunt became very important to Wood throughout his life. “I wouldn’t have given anyone a nickel to shoot a bird if I didn’t have a bird dog on the ground with me,” he said. “I don’t see the point in hunting without a dog. They add so much more to the experience.” Wood’s current hunting partner is a seven-year-old female English Cocker named Katie. As I interviewed him, she sat by his side the entire time.

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 11


When I asked him how many gun dogs he had owned throughout his lifetime, Wood responded with, “Wow, that’s about like asking a bird hunter how many cases of shotgun shells have ever been through his warehouse or garage over the years.” According to Wood, the most bird dogs that he ever had at one time were 15. “It was nothing to have 10 or 12 at a time,” Wood admitted. Wood had a quote that he was known for coining about shotguns and hunting dogs that said, “The fact that there are bobwhite quail, 20-gauge shotguns and pointing dogs are all the proof that a man needs to know that there is in fact, a God, and divine intervention on this earth.” Wood once said these words to longtime outdoor writer Ray Sasser. “I had this deal with Sasser, where I had asked him not to quote me in his news columns,” Wood explained. “I later saw him use this quote in an articontinued on page 14

The Cosmic Cowboys 12 | FALL 2021

Bubba and PCQC Co-founder, Joe Crafton


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cle, saying that it was from an anonymous hunter. As soon as I read it, I called him up and joked with him about it being the one time that I actually said something intelligent, and yet, he didn’t give me credit for saying it.” Wood, who is quite modest about his shooting skills, is one of the best shotgunners of all time. He was a passionate skeet shooter, and in 1976 he formed a five-man team known as the Cosmic Cowboys. The team traveled the country, and for lack of better words, owned the sport of five-man team skeet in 1976 and 1977. They were undefeated during this period. Wood earned the title as an All-American skeet shooter several times. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Shooting Sports Association Hall of Fame. Wood has earned quite the reputation as a renowned wildlife conservationist in Texas. He loves the outdoors and has more than done his part to give back to hunting and fishing sports and the resources they depend on. Wood was instrumental in starting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and founding the Texas Duck Stamp program. He is humble about his role saying, “It was because of Governor Bill Clements, and Parks & Wildlife chairmen Perry Bass, and Chuck Nash who were in positions of authority that made it easier to team up and get things done. Without them, I couldn’t have done what I did.” He has also done work for the Coastal Conservation Association, and he founded Collectors Covey, a sporting art gallery that pioneered the sporting art movement in the Dallas area.

McCallum, Pete Delkus, Jay Stine, Matt Perry-Miller, and Raymond Morrow as well as the other members of Park City Quail for their hard work. Wood was recently awarded the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award by Park Cities Quail. At the 2021 Annual Park Cities Quail Coalition Dinner & Auction, all of the donors received a medallion, just as they do every year. This year, instead of there being a quail on the medallion, there was a White-winged Dove on them, in honor of Wood’s shooting background. It was the first year a white-winged dove was ever featured on the medallion. Wood’s wife, Pat, has stood by his side since they first met when he was 15. She has always supported his passion for hunting and even hunted herself. “She could hunt and shoot with the best of them,” Wood said, “And she could clean birds as good as anyone too.” Wood says that his wife’s hunting career ended abruptly one dove season on a lease in Albany during a humid day when the temperature was over 100 degrees. “I looked over at her, and she was dripping with sweat,” Wood elaborated. “She told me, I hate this, I’ve always hated this, and I’m never doing it again. She then picked up our youngest son, Patrick, who was playing bird boy for her, and they went to the car and cranked on the air conditioning.” Wood is full of funny, memorable stories from his time spent in the outdoors that will warm the hearts of whoever is willing to listen. He is an encourager, he is a sportsman, he is a Texan, he is a conservationist, and he is one of a kind.

Some of Wood’s most well-known conservation efforts revolve around his involvement with molding Park Cities Quail into the organization that it is today. Wood worked with Park Cities Quail Coalition Co-founder, Joe Crafton, to get the right folks involved so that the movement and organization could take off. These efforts included getting T. Boone Pickens involved, which became a monumental catalyst for Park Cities Quail. The organization and the sport of quail hunting in Texas wouldn’t be where it is today without Bubba Wood. But again, he is quick to credit others like Dick Bubba and his wife Pat with his T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award 14 | FALL 2021



TEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION EDUCATING TEXANS By David Yeates Chief Executive Officer Texas Wildlife Association

16 | FALL 2021


T

he hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts of Texas are a diverse bunch. That rich diversity results in an array of organizations, coalitions, and associations focusing on one aspect or another of that community and the wildlife resources we all cherish. Texas Dove Hunters Association is a wonderful example of that by recruiting dove hunters and contributing to dove research through its banding programs. While we can all name a long list of other worthwhile organizations, I was asked to share the story of Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), where I have served on staff as Chief Executive Officer for the last seven years. Our mission statement is concise and reads, “Serving Texas wildlife and its habitat while protecting property rights, hunting heritage, and the conservation efforts of those who value and steward wildlife resources.” TWA was founded in 1985 by a group of wildlife biologists and landowners that were concerned about a bill filed in the Texas Legislature. That bill would have prohibited all landowners from erecting “game proof” or “high” fences. While the use of high fencing is not a fit for everyone, the early membership of TWA felt like that was a decision for the landowner to make, not the Legislature. TWA continues to support that position. Remember, landowners use high fences to keep native and exotic wildlife out, just as much as they do to keep native and exotic wildlife in. Regardless of one’s perspective on high fences, the bill highlighted the need for wildlife managers in Texas to get organized and involved in the public policy arena. TWA quickly grew into that role, which it continues to fill today 36 years later. Today TWA retains a professional lobby team, administers a Political Action Committee (PAC), and serves as the leading voice for hunting and wildlife matters in the Texas Legislature and Executive branch. Our staff, volunteer leadership, and membership are continually involved with state agencies and members of the Legislature on the priority of the day. That ranges from appropriations to game wardens and the state park system to helping form Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance and management rules. Over the years, TWA played a formative role in establishing wildlife valuations for open space property taxes, limited landowner liabilities to incentivize hunting leases, and the dedicated funding stream for the state park system. Through proactive

monitoring and involvement in the process, TWA has become a trusted stakeholder and effective advocate in the public policy arena for all hunters and wildlife managers in Texas. In 1991, TWA helped form the Texas Big Game Awards (TBGA) in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). This program recognizes notable big game harvests each season from around the state with regional and statewide banquets. This program highlights the connection between habitat management and wildlife while helping recruit and retain Texas hunters. In 1996, TWA helped form the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) in partnership with TPWD. This program utilizes trained volunteers to take kids aged 9-17 and their parent or guardian on hunts across the state, primarily on private ranches. This program is administered by a team of five TWA staff members.

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 17


Since its inception, TYHP has taken approximately 27,000 kids on a hunt. Each year, we run more than 200 separate hunts all over the state, taking about 1,200 kids on a hunt. It is the largest hunting program of its kind in the nation. We continue to recruit landowners, volunteers, hunters, and donors to grow this enormously impactful program, which we have recently expanded into adult hunters that are new to the sport. More information can be found at the TWA or TYHP websites or by calling the TWA office in New Braunfels. In 2001, the volunteer leadership of TWA realized that the message of hunting and wildlife stewardship in a private lands state needed to be spread beyond the halls of the Texas Legislature and campfires at deer hunts. They launched a natural resource education program, formally called Conservation Legacy, with the stated goal of “getting yellow school buses on private ranches.” Twenty years later, that program has blossomed into a wide and deep catalog of curriculum and deliveries that range from handbooks and

18 | FALL 2021

rodeo exhibits to immersive field days and hands-on lessons by TWA educators in school classrooms across the state. Pre-pandemic, those programs collectively reached over 600,000 Texans a year. We expect those numbers to recover and expand going forward as schools get back to more traditional administration. At the end of the day, TWA does one thing. We teach. We educate Texans about the importance of hunting, wildlife, natural resource stewardship, and the role landowners play in that equation. We educate legislators so they can make informed policy decisions. We educate new hunters so they hopefully become lifelong hunters, benefiting the outdoor-related economy and continuing to shepherd our precious hunting heritage into the future. We educate school children so they may have a baseline of natural resource literacy, regardless of where they live, in hopes of Texas having future voters that care about wild places and wild things. We do all of this only with the help of members, partners, and philanthropic supporters.


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By: Chris Batha Chris Batha Shooting Solutions for Wing & Clay

The opening day of dove season is coming, and you are getting ready: got your shotgun; right gauge, right chokes, right cartridges.

BUT DOES YOUR SHOTGUN ACTUALLY FIT YOU? correctly fitted shotgun can mean the difference between just getting your limit and getting your limit and being first out of the field!

with an infinitely adjustable stock that can be set to your correct dimensions so you can consistently shoot point of aim.

Most mass-produced shotguns are built to fit Mr. Average: around 185 pounds and somewhere between 5 foot 10 and 6 foot tall. If you fit that bill, you are all set.

For example, I have both over and under and a side by side try guns that require slightly different adjustments, depending on the shooter.

The measurements on the average shotgun are usually, Length of Pull -14 ¾ inches, Drop at Comb – 1 ½ inch, and Drop at Heel – 2 ½ inches.

A Gun Fitting is a unique “one-on-one” experience, not only for the shooter - I learn something from each and every fitting.

If, however, you are taller, shorter, thinner, or heavier, your shotgun will probably not fit you, and you will need to either alter the stock, get a stock with an adjustable comb or order a custom-fitted shotgun.

First Things First

The good news is, you will shoot much better with a shotgun that actually fits you, so the next step is to have a Custom Gun Fitting. A Gun Fitting is done using a “Try Gun” – a shotgun 20 | FALL 2021

I have to allow two and often three hours to achieve an accurate fitting as the client must be able to mount the shotgun correctly and consistently. A good gun mount starts with proper foot placement, correct stance -posture, and head position so that the shotgun is mounted smoothly into the cheek and shoulder with no head movement.


Shooters who rush their gun mount often pull the stock into their shoulder then lift it to their face in a see-saw movement. This is the cause of multiple misses as the barrels see-saw on and off the target line with a one in three chance of hitting a target or knocking down a bird.

heel of the stock, the measurement is taken against a straight edge from the rib, at the heel, and at the toe.

Another common fault that can affect an accurate gun fit, even in good shots, is the grip. A proper grip is essential to controlling the shotgun both directionally and in reducing barrel flip.

The adjustments made possible with the Try Gun allow the Gun Fitter to make a series of alterations to achieve what appears to be the perfect fit. The final step is to shoot the Pattern Plate to "prove" the accuracy of the impact point – to confirm that the shotgun is shooting where the client is looking.

A gun fitting can take two to three hours because one hour or two are often spent on a lesson on the fundamentals of straight shooting. I use a coaching App on an iPad which allows slowmotion replay, and this helps to show and explain the faults in the client's gun mount. I use an App called the Hudyl Technique, which is used in many sporting fields to illustrate and diagnose causes and faults in their shooting fundamentals. I found that showing someone their faults then explaining how to practice correctly pays dividends in achieving a solid and consistent gun mount, hence an accurate gun fit. To become a consistently good shot, you should practice improving your gun mount. Forget about choke and shot and concentrate on grooving your gun mount – it is the key to consistent shooting and ensures an accurate gun fitting.

Gun Fits for Junior Shooters Unlike senior shooters, junior shooters are constantly growing, so shooting a gun that fits is essential from the beginning. I hate to see a beginning shooter being taught to shoot with a shotgun that is too heavy with a stock that is too long and struggling with the weight. They subconsciously transfer their weight to their back foot to support the gun and then have to roll their head to the side to reach the stock. This creates the wrong muscle memory from the get-go. A youth model shotgun is the best way to start; with a shorter stock and usually a little higher in the comb, this model can be bought with an adjustable comb to allow for growth spurts. Rubber comb raisers are always helpful, and I recommend using the lightest load cartridges, which, along with a good gun fit, will set the junior shooter off on the right path.

The Accurate Gun Fitting The critical measurements in the gun fitting are: LENGTH OF PULL: The measurement is taken from the trigger ( the front one in a double-triggered shotgun) to the end of the stock and the heel, middle, and toe. DROP: This is measured from a parallel line taken from the rib of the shotgun to the stock at the comb and heel.

Once accurate measurements are taken for the Try Gun, those measurements can be given to a competent gunsmith who can bend or shape the gunstock to the desired cast or drop and reduce or lengthen the stock to the correct dimensions.

Practice, Practice, Practice Once you have the correct dimensions on your shotgun, you need to practice your gun mount until it is second nature. The best way to practice your gun mount is in a mirror placed head height using an empty shotgun. Watch your reflection for signs of head-lifting or dropping, which result in a see-saw gun mount. With 60 percent of your weight on your front foot, with both hands in unison, slowly lift the gun from the ready position – stock butt touching the tendon that connects the bicep to the pectoral muscle – to your cheek first, keeping your head still, completing the mount as the stock reaches your shoulder pocket. Gun mount is not just about getting the stock into your cheek and shoulder but also keeping the barrels on the line of the target at the same time. The hand gripping the stock needs to lift simultaneously, and speed as the forward hand pushes the muzzles towards the target. "It Has to Fit to Hit" is not just a catchy phrase; it is the truth! You have a shotgun that fits, you have practiced your gun mount, and when that first dove of the season flies your way, you will mount your gun smoothly into your cheek and shoulder, pull the trigger and watch it fold and fall!

CAST: From a vertical line through the center of the TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 21


Photo by Laura Squire Photography

LADIES IN THE FIELD

PROTECTING YOUNG HUNTERS IS A PASSION By: Meredith Kay

W

hen you grow up on a ranch in West Texas as a little girl, you are bound to become tough and resilient. Amanda Burnes grew up in Midland, and her family spent a lot of time on their ranch just outside of Abilene. Hunting and fishing and being outdoors was a way of life for her family, and she loved to spend time with her dad, who taught her and her brother about gun safety from an early age. Amanda’s father worked in the oil fields and would often be away from home, so when he was home, she learned to enjoy the same outdoor activities that he loved, and they built a strong bond that still holds fast today. Growing up on a ranch, Amanda also learned about and became passionate about the land and the wildlife of West Texas. Together, her family would spend time camping, fishing, and hunting whitetail deer, mule deer, dove, and other game. She speaks fondly of her childhood and remembers these times spent with her family as moments that brought them closer together. Now that she has two children of her own, she feels that it is important to instill the same values and respect for the outdoor life she learned growing up. 22 | FALL 2021

Married to her husband, Clayton, for over ten years, they are raising a pair of rambunctious six-yearold twins, Lucy and Copeland, in the community of Aledo, just southwest of Fort Worth. Clayton grew up in rural Brady, Texas, where ranch life was the only way of life. Today, Amanda and her husband are still avid outdoors enthusiasts, spending as much time as possible on their ranches with the twins. One of the ranches is in Blanket, just Southeast of Abilene, and the other family ranch is in Rotan, which is Northeast of Abilene. The family loves to go fishing on the property, where they catch and release everything they hook, and they have also begun to teach the children how to hunt safely. This past deer season, Clayton and Copeland bagged their first whitetail deer together. It was Copeland, himself, who rattled and called the deer out so that his dad could shoot it. He was very proud of that moment and is already excited for next season. From the time the twins were born, Amanda and Clayton wanted to raise them to love the outdoor life, but Amanda was concerned, as new mothers often are, about how to protect her babies from the damaging effects of the hot Texas sun. Doctors will often tell parents that sunscreen isn’t good for babies and young children, so she looked for other ways to protect them, leading her to learn about sun protective clothing and eventually launching her own outdoor clothing line for children. As she and her friends started having children, Amanda began to realize that there was a serious


LADIES IN THE FIELD

lack of protective clothing that embodied the spirit of Texas ranch life. There was an abundance of greatlooking hunting attire for adults, but she could never find clothing that allowed little boys to look “just like daddy” on the ranch. She realized that swimwear lines and rash guards utilized sun-protective materials for children, so she took that idea and launched BlueQuail Clothing Co. in 2015. Amanda wanted to create clothing that was not only comfortable for kids but also offered sun protection for those long days on the ranch. She hired a consultant who specialized in the retail clothing industry and set out to research fabric options while testing sun protection levels and garment treatment processes. She explains, “I wanted to create a brand of children’s clothing that kids would love to wear. The fabrics had to be soft and comfortable but also stain-resistant and durable. Sun protection was essential, so I tried to find the highest quality fabrics that were woven tightly enough to be rated UPF50+.” Amanda’s biggest inspiration for incorporating highquality sun protection fabrics into her clothing lines comes from her father, who continues to battle skin cancer caused by years of sun exposure when he was younger. The importance of sun protection wasn’t something her father’s generation knew about, and

she wanted to create clothing that will protect a child’s skin from harmful UV rays while “encouraging selfexpression and a love for the great outdoors.” Some of the shirts are even hand-stitched with hunting rifle shoulder patches to protect young hunters as they learn proper form and techniques from the generations of outdoorsmen before them. The company name, BlueQuail, is a nod to her childhood in West Texas, where quail were a protected species because they were beginning to disappear. Amanda also describes that quail are unique in that the females will protect each other’s nests and babies. Quail coveys work together as extended families, keeping everyone safe from harm and predators. That is the very essence of the BlueQuail clothing line, and it is also Amanda’s mission as she raises two more successful ranchers and shares her vision with others.

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 23


ZONE MAP & 2021-2022 DOVE SEASON DATES

NORTH ZONE That portion of the state north of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Fort Hancock; thence north along FM 1088 to State Highway 20; thence west along State Highway 20 to State Highway 148; thence north along State Highway 148 to Interstate Highway 10 at Fort Hancock; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to Interstate Highway 20; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 20 to Interstate Highway 30 at Fort Worth; thence northeast along Interstate Highway 30 to the TexasArkansas state line. CENTRAL ZONE That portion of the state between the North Zone and the South Zone. SOUTH ZONE That portion of the state south of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del Rio; thence northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; thence east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; thence following Loop 1604 south and east, then north, to Interstate Highway 10; thence east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Texas-Louisiana Line. SEASON DATES & ZONE INFORMATION COURTESY OF TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT ZONE MAP ART BY MATT TUMLINSON

2021-2022 DOVE SEASON DATES & REGULATIONS North Zone September 1 – November 12, 2021 December 17, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Special White-Winged Dove Days September 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12 (shooting hours noon to sunset)

Central Zone September 1 - October 31, 2021 December 17, 2021 - January 14, 2022

Shooting Hours: Unless otherwise noted, one-half hour before sunrise to sunset

South Zone September 14 - October 31, 2021 December 17, 2021 - January 21, 2022

Daily Bag Composition* 15 mourning, white-winged and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in aggregate, to include not more than 2 white-tipped (white-fronted doves. * No more than two Mourning doves and two white-tipped doves during Special White-Winged Dove Days

IMPORTANT NUMBERS TDHA Banded Bird, If harvested call 210-764-1189 Federal Banded Bird, If harvested: Report at reportband.gov Public Hunting: tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public Operation Game Thief: Witness a Violation, call 800-792-4263

24 | FALL 2021

Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag limit Migratory game Bird Stamp & HIP Certification required. Texas Dove Hunters Association 210-764-1189


TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 25


TEXAS OUTFITTERS

OUTFITTERS IN TEXAS

NORTH ZONE CENTRAL ZONE SOUTH ZONE

26 | FALL 2021


TEXAS OUTFITTERS

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Owner & General Manager c: 210-602-4531 craig@wilsonwhitetails.com facebook.com/Wilsonwhitetail

wilsonwhitetails.com

Premier Dove Hunting Come hunt with Three Curl Private Season leases just minutes from DFW, Waco, and Austin Corporate events minutes south of DFW Five Star Accommodations minutes south of DFW Brett Jepsen Three Curl Outfitters

214-455-0940

Quail Hunts and more!

threecurl.com TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 27


TEXAS OUTFITTERS Dove.......$100 Duck ......$250 Crane .....$275 Goose ....$275

White Winged and Mourning Dove Hunts

Located in Lubbock, Texas and surrounding areas North Zone

Located on the Rio Grande River East of Brownsville

Bonnie 956-551-9960 956-838-5222 info@whitewingfields.com

400 acres - black oil sunflowers corn and sorghum

Austin Daughtry (903) 617-9595 Hunter Daughtry (903) 617-9696

2 lakes surrounded by mesquite trees

Sylvia Seal Farms Dilley, Texas • La Salle County Dove on 500 acres of native sunflowers and croton

Sylvia Seal • 830-965-2838

dustdeviloutfitters.com

CIRCLE E OUTFITTERS • • • • •

Day-Family-Group Dove Hunts 20 miles south of Abilene 10 miles south of Clyde Sunflower, Milo and Wheat Central Zone

RANDY EDWARDS

DEREK EDWARDS

325-370-2185

325-669-0796

KATY WATERFOWL, INC.

Dove Hunts in Quihi

Based in and hunting the Uvalde area Hunts available in Central and South zones, and Special White Wing area Semi guided hunts

Hondo/Rio Medina Area

$50 per night air-conditioned cabin

GOLDEN TRIANGLE OUTFITTERS

830-591-9789 kendall@gtohunts.com gtohunts.com

John: 832-474-0604

WE OFFER DAY HUNTS AND SEASONAL LEASES HAVE 6,000 ACRES OF CORN & MILO

Early Season Teal, Duck, Goose, and Sandhill Crane: Eagle Lake • Garwood • El Campo These hunts are fully guided over Flooded rice, millet, and smartweed. “Some of the finest hunting on the upper Texas Coast”

Lodging is available

Lodging is available

Nick Kissamis (832) 964-8688 nick@maxoutguideservice.com maxoutguideservice.com

Nick Kissamis (832) 964-8688 nick@maxoutguideservice.com maxoutguideservice.com

DOVE HUNTS El Campo • Markham • Ganado • Edna

28 | FALL 2021


Cast & Blastas

The Most Epic Experience in South Tex

Cast & Blast season starts in September. Fish in the rich waters of the Lower Laguna Madre in the morning and hunt in the afternoon over 135 acres of sunflowers. Casa Arroyo Lodge accommodates groups of 6-25 Day Hunting and Guided Fishing available.

Dunkinguide.com • Doug Dunkin 956-873-3850 • dunkinguide@gmail.com


TAKING

BETTER PHOTOS

THIS HUNTING SEASON

Tips for Capturing the Perfect Shot By Jay Schwisow

A

s we all prepare for the upcoming season, planning our hunts, organizing our gear, and readying our dogs, here are a few tips for taking better photos of your hunt. Most of us carry a decent cell phone camera with us at all times, so it’s not as much about the gear but instead a few tips on how to better use whatever camera you have with you. There are three items you’ll want to focus on when looking for that “perfect” picture.

LIGHTING Most really great photographic images use lighting to make the image. The best outdoor light is what we photographers call the golden hour. It is the time of day just after sunrise and just before sunset where the sun is lower, less harsh, and warmer (more red). While many portrait photographers have to get up early or wait late in the day for this light, we, as hunters, are usually in the field during the best light of the day. You should take advantage of this by taking a break early in the morning to shoot some images just after sunrise or right after your hunt in the evening as the sun is setting. The standard rule for positioning your subject is for the light to be behind you to help reduce shadows, casting the best light on your subject. However, some stunning images can be continued on page 32 30 | FALL 2021


Field Bags Shell Bags Apparel Custom Leather Goods Travel Bags

Leather Goods and Apparel. Made in Texas. Designed for the Southern Sportsman.

222 E. Kleberg Ave Kingsville, TX 78363 361.592.8885 twodoveoutdoors.com IG @Two_Dove_Outdoors FB Two Dove Outdoors

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 31


taken with that light behind your subject directly or filtered by trees or bushes. Give it a try sometime.

FRAMING YOUR SHOT This should include a look at your surroundings. Can something in the surrounding landscape help to frame my subject or set it apart from the rest? What helps tell the story of the hunt? For example, capturing an image with sunflowers as your backdrop is a better dove hunting image than your dog sitting on the tailgate. Make sure there are no trees, fenceposts, or tall sunflowers that appear to be sticking out of the head of your subject(s). Dove hunters spend a lot of time sitting, so make sure you crouch down when taking a picture of your group or gun dog. If you hunt alone, think about using a camera/phone holder and a small, lightweight tripod. This is way better than an arm’s length selfie. Take a couple of test shots and then set a five-second timer on your camera/phone.

READYING YOUR SUBJECT This can be a simple smile, talking to others, looking to the sky, loading a gun, or maybe walking out of a field. Be sure to include some hunting gear. Personally, I am not a big fan of those dead bird hero shots (one guy with 3 limits). Instead of that, try picking out your nicest looking birds and staging those with your dog, a shotgun, or other hunting gear in the field. Sometimes less is more. When including your dog, try getting his attention by throwing another bird, retrieving a dummy, waving your hat, or blowing a duck call. Dogs always look better with those ears perked up. Throwing something very high in the sky could help you capture them looking up like they are watching the sky for more birds. With the gear we have today, we are blessed to be able to take lots of free digital images. So experiment a bit and have fun capturing those hunts.

32 | FALL 2021


NOW BOOKING FOR 2021 1

EldeRio

• Nueces River Lodge • 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath • Sleeps 8 • 25 Acre Field Planted for Dove • Deep Blue Spring Fed Swim Holes

Corporate Upscale Wing Shooting Specializing in North and South Zone Dove Hunting • Fine Dining • Lodging • 20 Years of References

joe elder • P.O. Box 1239 • Uvlade, Texas 78802 • joeelder@sbcglobal.net • (830) 317-0456


FAMILIES IN THE FIELD

FAMILIES IN THE FIELD Send your dove hunting photos to:

info@txdove.com

34 | FALL 2021


FAMILIES IN THE FIELD

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 35


NON-PROFIT

MEET A MEMBER

By: Allison Merecka Director of Program and Communications, Hunt with Heart adventures are fully funded. From the first hunting experience to make a little boy’s dream come true over nine years ago, HwH has grown into a successful charity dedicated to serving over 100 members and their families.

Ways We Serve FAMILY ASSISTANCE FUND - While

HUNT WITH HEART (HwH) was started in 2012. Their mission is to empower and enhance the lives of children with severe illnesses through unforgettable outdoor experiences. Hunt with Heart offers young people with heart conditions a taste of normalcy, connection, and adventure through the great outdoors. The outdoor activities help their members to gain personal confidence and meet others who are experiencing similar challenges. The hunting and fishing camps focus on their ability rather than their disability. Group activities such as these forge life-long friendships and ease the loneliness of being a critically ill child. In addition, they are introduced to new hobbies and opportunities that were often never available before. Going through camp makes them official members of Hunt with Heart and they can take full advantage of all the things HwH has to offer including donated hunting and fishing trips in Texas, like the annual dove hunt with Texas Dove Hunters Association. HwH has also sent kids to Spain, Argentina, and Canada, along with many other domestic trips. Thanks to generous and faithful donors, over 90% of the outdoor 36 | FALL 2021

Hunt with Heart’s primary mission is to heal and empower youth through outdoor sports and camaraderie, there is also a critical need to provide emotional and financial assistance to our members throughout their medical journey. During hospital stays, HwH assists with lodging, parking, and hot meals. When a member passes away, HwH helps cover funeral costs for the family. THE JOURNEY SCHOLARSHIP -There is

a growing need to assist HwH young adults with skills such as application completion, submissions, and interview techniques. Many of them are usually extreme introverts due to their years of social isolation because of their disease. As a result, many HwH teens require substantial coaching and emotional support whether applying for a job, vocation school, or college. Over 60% of the members are aged 14-20, and HwH raises funds that provide scholarships for them to attend college, vocational, or graduate school. The scholarships help to cover the cost of tuition and related expenses. To date, HwH has provided 17 scholarships to our members and will be giving out even more for the 2021-2022 school year.

Madeleine was born with a congenital heart disease known as Tetrology of Fallot that could only be repaired by surgery, which she had at six months. She has had a series of corrective surgeries since then, one being in May of this year. Madeleine joined Hunt with Heart when she attended Camp Beaver Creek in the Fall of 2017. The following year we provided her with another amazing experience when she was selected to participate in a hunt of a lifetime in Canada. (Donated by our good friends at Northern Giants Trophy Ranch) Madeleine said, “The experience Hunt with Heart gave me was truly unforgettable. I am so grateful I could share my love for the great outdoors at Beaver Creek Ranch with amazing people. I will never forget the fantastic trip I went on, and I hope I can someday become a camp counselor as well. I love Hunt with Heart and everyone who is a part of it.” Madeleine is a recipient of our scholarship program, The Journey, and is a member of the class of 2024 at Texas A&M!


Coming soon:

Duck and Sandhill Crane Hunts

Multiple fields: Winters, Clyde, Abilene, Potosi Black Oil Sunflowers, Native Sunflowers, Wheat and Milo

• Dove Hunts • Spring Turkey Hunts • Day Hunting 24outfitters.com

• Hunting & Lodging (up to 24 hunters)

includes food, accommodations, rifle range, pistol range, fishing, and more!

903-508-2469


OFFERING FIVE STAND, SKEET, TRAP, AND OLYMPIC BUNKER TRAP Visitors and non-members are always welcome. Instruction available by appointment.

CLUB HOURS: Wednesday-Saturday 11:00 am-7:30 pm Sunday 12:00 pm-6:00 pm Closed on Monday & Tuesday We are open to the public.

928 East Contour, San Antonio, Texas 78212 • 210-828-9860 • sagunclub.com 38 | FALL 2021



PHOTOS FROM THE FIELD

PHOTOS FROM THE FIELD

40 | FALL 2021

Send your dove hunting photos to:

info@txdove.com


PHOTOS FROM THE FIELD

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 41


DOVE CLEANING 101 By: Holly Hearn

C

leaning birds is an essential part of bird hunting. The most common methods for cleaning doves and small game birds are plucking, breasting and fileting. Everyone has their way of cleaning birds that works for them. For dove specifically, most outfitters use the breasting method, but many hunters who clean their own birds are going to the filet method.

42 | FALL 2021

continued on page 44


Sept. 1, 2021 THRU

Photo by Jay Schwisow

Dec. 31, 2021 Open to all hunters with a Texas hunting license to harvest a Eurasian Collared Dove with a TDHA band on its leg. Every band reported provides data for the TDHA Eurasian Collared Dove research project.

BandedBirdChallenge.com


Breasting Method Place the dove breast side up between your hands, place your thumbs on both sides of the breast bone, apply firm pressure with the thumbs downwards to begin to peel the skin. Once the skin has split, take your fingers and peel the skin and feathers down towards the wing bones revealing the entire breast of the bird. Place your fingers at the bottom-most portion of the breastplate about halfway down the dove’s chest, place two fingers under the plate and apply firm pressure upwards and back toward the dove’s head. At this point, you can easily detach the breastplate from the dove’s carcass.

Fileting Method USING YOUR FINGERS: At the bottom of the breastplate, there is a thin lining with rib bones separating the breastplate from the rest of the internal organs. Place your finger at the lowest point until you feel a separation between the meat and the membrane. Push your finger along the bone working up and down between the membrane and the meat. Once there is a separation between the meat and the membrane, you should be able to take the breast in your fingers and pull it off the plate quickly and neatly. USING A KNIFE: The alternative option to removing the entire breastplate is to remove the breast directly from the bone with a knife without removing the breastplate from the carcass. After fully exposing the breastplate inside the dove, choose one side of the breast bone and place the blade as close to that bone as possible. Angle the knife toward the bone and begin to slice downwards until you see the membrane exposed on the bottom part of the dove. Then, follow the line of the membrane working toward the head. When the back piece of the dove breast completely detaches from the membrane, slide the knife forward between the front portion of the breast and the membrane. Take the breast in your fingers and pull upwards, slicing at the base of the breast until you have freed the breast from the bone.

44 | FALL 2021


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Tired of ordinary hunting trips?

GOLDEN TRIANGLE OUTFITTERS

Our hunting excursions are more than a quick vacation.

We believe that taking time away from your work schedule should result in more than just a short break. Every hunting experience by Golden Triangle Outfitters begins with a GTO team member getting to know your specific goals and planning your hunting expedition accordingly. Individual and group hunt packages are available - perfect for avid hunters as well as those simply wanting to enjoy the outdoors. Lodging is comfortable, relaxing, and can accommodate 1 to 40 hunters. The unique West Texas accommodations, optional on-site catering and unsurpassed GTO service ensure that your next retreat is a memorable one.

830-591-9789 • kendall@gtohunts.com • gtohunts.com TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 45


WILD ABOUT DOVE RECIPE

DOVE BOUDIN BALLS Holly Holly Hearn Game Girl Gourmet

INGREDIENTS 1-1 1/2 pounds dove meat (ground or finely minced) ½ pound uncured pork belly or fat (ground or finely minced) 2-3 tbsp Cajun season (NO SALT) 1 scant TBSP of table salt 1/16 tsp #1 pink curing salt 1 ½ cups cooked white rice ½ yellow onion diced 2 stalks of celery diced 5 cloves of garlic minced 1 green pepper diced 1 bunch of green onions minced ½ bunch of flat-leaf parsley chopped 2 bay leaves Panko bread crumbs 2 eggs Oil for frying 46 | FALL 2021

PREPARATION 1 Mix dove, fat or pork belly, onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, curing salt, salt, cajun spice, and refrigerate to cure for one hour. 2 Add meat mix and bay leaves to a large pot, cover, and add 1-2 inches of water. Bring to simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Strain meat mix and RESERVE THE LIQUID. 3 Spread meat mixture on a sheet pan and allow to cool. After the mixture has cooled, finely mince it together or run through a coarse grinder. 4 Cook the rice and spread it on a sheet pan to cool. Mix the meat mixture, green onions, parsley, and rice together, and add a couple of ladles of the reserved liquid. This step is important because you don’t want to add too much liquid to the mix; you want just enough to bind everything together so you can form the mixture into balls. 5 Form into 1-inch balls and place in the freezer for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 6 Heat enough oil in a saucepan to submerge the balls over medium heat.


Premier Dove Hunting Destination with First Class Lodging & Meals Packages are available for thermal hog hunts, fishing, or just relaxing and visiting around the firepit! We can accommodate groups of 20+ or ranch houses available for smaller groups for friends and families. Full time kitchen staff that serve meals that will make you want to stay for a while longer.

Located 15 miles West of Seymour, Texas (2.5 hours west of Fort Worth)

Tel: 940.888.2478 Email: ranger@rangercreekranch.com

Ranger Creek Ranch RangerCreekRanch.com TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 47


TDHA STORE • SHOPTDHA.COM

TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS ASSOCIATION STORE Order Texas Dove Hunters Merchandise at:

shopTDHA.com

Cedar Sign 16.5”w x 18”h $34.99

Richardson 112 Cap Leather Badge with Texas Dove Hunters logo. Available in Khaki/Olive, Black, Charcoal/Pink, Black/Charcoal $24.99

Solar Shirt Made out of 100% polyester breathable material with SPF 50+ UV protection and moisture-managing interlock fabric. Available in khaki or olive.

Texas Dove Hunters Est. 2012 Tri-Blend Tank Top $25.99

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Frio 45 Holds up 60 cans and is equipped with a motion sensor light built into the interior of the lid with a bottle opener $299.99

Frio 24-7 Cup Holds 24 Oz of your favorite beverage & keeps your drink ice cold or piping hot. Available in a variety of colors $32.99

shopTDHA.com 48 | FALL 2021


Shooting Solutions for Wing & Clay

Wing & Clay Shooting Schools Custom Gun Fittings Individual Shooting Schools For Schedule & Details ChrisBathaShooting.com

Call ( 866 ) 254-2406 or Email Chrisbatha@aol.com

JOIN TEXAS DOVE HUNTERS ASSOCIATION TODAY Your $20 Membership includes: • 2 issues of Texas Dove Hunters Magazine • TDHA decal • TDHA membership card 3 ways to join: 1. Online: texasdovehunters.com 2. By Phone: 210-764-1189 3. By Mail: Complete this form, enclose with a check and mail to: TDHA, Box 127 Bulverde, TX 78163 Name _____________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip_______________________________________________________ Phone_____________________________________________________________ Email _____________________________________________________________ If gift membership, who is giving it? ______________________________________

TexasDoveHuntersMagazine.com | 49


Looking to dazzle that special group of hunters or fishermen? There is a now a private wild game chef that provides chef services focusing on creative and unique dishes.

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832-851-5806 Gamegirlgourmet Game Girl Gourmet, LLC

50 | FALL 2021


Best Gun Shop in San Antonio Express-News 2020 Readers Choice Gold Award Winner!