This was originally post right before our first dove hunt two years ago. Enjoy my hunting confession, and I'll see you at the end for an update!
When I was a kid these were the three harbingers of fall: Uncle Pat started picking corn, we had the annual Harvest Sale at my church (shameless plug the harvest sale is at Providence UMC in Mar Mac on Sat. Sept. 8 from 4:30-7:30, eat in or take out, BBQ and turkey, the best you’ll ever eat at a church function. Uncle Pat’s in charge of the pigs and that sauce is to-die-for. See me for tickets), and on Labor Day weekend dove season came in.
I grew up on an almost mile long state-maintained dirt road with no other houses on it (except for the migrant workers Uncle Pat had when he raised tobacco). All summer long we’d be surrounded by wheat, soybeans, and yes, corn. It’s a bird paradise. Hunting was a part of my life, my step-dad went, my step-brother, my uncle, my granddaddy, my cousin would even come from Chapel Hill and go…it was/is a big thing for my family. We always had a dove hunt on my uncle’s farm, but when he became involved with Quail Unlimited it became massive. He started planting sunflowers for them (and I fell in love with those beautiful yellow blooms of sunshine). The fields around our house sounded like a war zone or something, all these men in camo shooting like crazy at these poor beautiful birds. We couldn’t walk outside without orange on. And for Sunday lunch my mama would fry them and smother them in gravy. Those poor beautiful birds were pretty dang delicious.
Ever since we started opening our farm to visitors we’ve had people ask about hunting it. In the past, it’s always been a family thing. The Husband and his three close cousins hunted it. It’s always been a good place to hunt. We have a swamp on the side favored by ducks. We have a river that abuts the back of the property that the deer and such run down. Anyone who’s come to the corn maze has seen evidence of their tracks through the maze. The Husband’s always been turning over the idea of leasing out the hunting rights or hosting hunts on the farm to bring us in some additional revenue. We have this amazing resource here that we have to make a payment on every year, why not use every opportunity to do it?
Honestly, I’ve always been a little tentative to go the hunting route. First off, I’m not a hunter. I can understand the peace and solitude that people get from hunting and I enjoy the meat, but I think it has to be the most boring thing in the planet. I went deer hunting a few times. You get up at the crack before it’s light in the cold and go sit in a tree for hours being super quiet and still possibly to see nothing. I just don’t see the appeal. Second off, it’s a huge liability. You’re going to let people with loaded guns ready to shoot them on your land. What if there’s an accident? Third, my plate is so full trying to organize and market our fall activities, plus my house, plus my kids, plus just life in general, I just don’t know how I can fit anything else on it (my wonderful CSA helper Melissa said to me yesterday, you need an assistant. Yes, yes I do. I just can’t afford one). However, the birds have been CRAZY on the farm this year. Even I’ve noticed that every time I ride to the farm I scare up at least 20 dove if not more and that’s just by riding by on my truck. The combination of the sunflowers and a wheat crop we weren’t able to harvest (don’t ask, it’s a sore subject) has made the perfect environment for a dove. Not to mention since we’ve lived here (7 years) they’ve not been hunted on this farm, so they haven’t been conditioned to avoid it. Sunday my husband counted fifty in fifteen minutes out of the back of the berry shed and 2 customers mentioned they saw 30 while they were standing there taking pictures.
So this year we’re hosting our first ever dove hunt. If it goes well maybe we’ll open the farm up to duck and deer hunting. Hopefully it will. We’ve got a good lunch planned and a couple tickets sold so far we’re optimistic. If you're interested in joining us, call JR at 919-738-2928 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to have you out!
Our first dove hunt went pretty good. It ended up being cool and rainy that whole weekend, but some birds were still killed. We didn't hunt last year because the sunflowers never came up. We were on the fence about hosting a hunt this year until we saw the amount of birds on the farm. The weather looks good and the birds are here, so we're hosting a hunt come opening day of dove season Monday (unfortunately I haven't been able to get a good pic We've purposely left our cover crop up, planted millet, and left some areas un-bushhogged to provide a great habitat for birds and other wildlife. Nothing on our farm can just serve one purpose, and the sunflowers you took pictures in are now laden with seed that the birds are going crazy over. So if you're the hunting type, come out and enjoy a great day on the farm and you just might go home with dinner! Call JR at 919-738-2928 or message us for tickets!
Oh and my church's harvest sale is Sat. Sept. 14 from 4:30-7:30, you can contact us for tickets or purchase day of. Best BBQ and turkey around!