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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Updated: September 10, 10:48 AM ET
A love for dove

By Greg Walbridge
Special to ESPNOutdoors.com

Note: This is a short essay of one group's trip from Atlanta to Texas for the opening day of dove season.

Typically when the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., it's greeted with a curse and groan, but not today. It's September 1, opening day of the Texas dove hunting season, and there's still 1,000 miles of road between us and the dove.

We make our arrival deadline of 1 p.m. , which is important because we can't miss that first lunch of brisket and ribs. The food is half the reason that we go out each year. Smart hunters know that you need fuel for the fields.

After a quick nap, the moment arrives. It's 4 p.m. and 100 degrees, but there is nowhere else I would rather be. We see that the birds are in abundance as we arrive at the field. Executive Outfitters has put us on a field that is loaded.

I can already hear guns going off as I take my position. I load up, pivot and take aim on a pair crossing about 40 yards in front of me. I drop the first but I'm behind the second. I look to my left and my right and the action is just as good as in front of me. We all get our limit of 15 dove -- combination of Mourning, White Wing and Eurasian Collared -- quickly.

After a quick post hunt-bourbon where we commend each other on being skilled marksmen, it's back to the lodge for our gourmet Mexican dinner. It seems that 2010 has brought an abundance of dove to Texas as each group reported terrific hunts.

After dinner the real action begins. It's off to leadership lodge to share a few drinks, stories from the field and just good old hunting camaraderie. We call it an early night since we get to do it all again tomorrow.

That's dove hunting, Texas style.