Monday, September 4, 2023

The Crab Pot Culture - The Dove Hunter's Guide to North Carolina's Prime Season


With the rhythmic cooing of doves, a crisp autumn morning, and the promise of a hearty meal, dove hunting is not just an activity but an experience deeply rooted in American traditions. For enthusiasts in the U.S., particularly in the picturesque landscapes of northeastern North Carolina, dove hunting is more than just a pastime—it's a cherished ritual. Here's your comprehensive guide to mastering the dove hunting season in this region.

Every year, the precise dates of the dove hunting season might witness minor fluctuations. However, a consistent pattern is observed from early September, stretching out possibly until January, partitioned into a few segments. Watch the official calendar released by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to stay ahead.

While the entire season is enticing, the early phase in September is advantageous. The sun still casts its warm glow, and the doves, not yet wary of hunters, frequently scour fields for food. As winter's chill sets in, shift your focus to areas near water and covered feeding zones.

The tool of the trade? A shotgun. The popular choices are the 12 or 20-gauge variants, depending on individual comfort.

The ammunition is equally crucial. Opt for target or game loads in #7.5, #8, or #9 shot. These fine pellets spread extensively, elevating your chances against these agile avians.

  • Breasting Out: Often considered the most straightforward technique, start by holding the dove by its wings. Push against the breastbone using your thumbs. A single incision near the breast's base and you'll have two pristine pieces of meat.
  • Plucking: Plucking is your go-to method for those who prefer the skin. Post-plucking severs the head, feet, and wings. A small incision near its tail end will allow easy removal of the innards.
  • Preservation: Once processed, ensure you rinse and dry the meat thoroughly. If you're cooking soon, a sealed plastic bag in the fridge will suffice. For longer durations, the freezer is your best bet.
  • Dove Poppers: An enticing combo of spicy, creamy, and meaty flavors. Wrap thin breast strips with jalapeño, cream cheese, and bacon. Grill to perfection and enjoy!

  • Dove in Wine Sauce: A gourmet's delight. Sauté the dove breasts in butter until golden. Add onions, garlic, red wine, and a medley of herbs. Serve atop rice or mashed potatoes for a hearty meal.

While the thrill of the hunt is unparalleled, it's vital to remember the ethics of the sport. Ensure you're equipped with the necessary permissions and practice safe firearm handling. Here's to a fruitful season in the captivating terrains of North Carolina



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