Lacie Robbins 'had a blast' on her very first dove hunt
Stella not wild about mouth full of feathers
KINGMAN - The opening of the 2014 dove hunt saw many hunters having mixed results.
A number of sportsmen I spoke to said they got one or two doves.
Limits, which this year were raised to 15 birds per day, were for the most part hard to come by.
Cool, wet weather like we are seeing now caused a lot of the local birds to depart Mohave County before the opener on Sept. 1. That was the bad news.
The good news was birds moving down from Nevada and even Utah filled in a few places where water and feed were plentiful.
Don Lash of Meadview and his son David, from Kingman, were among the very few who reported finding enough birds around a desert stock tank to get a limit each in about 90 minutes on opening day.
One lady who also did quite well was Lacie Robbins.
Lacie has not been hunting for very long, but she has been hunting long enough to already taken a magnificent 7X7 bull elk. She also has a big javelina to her credit. But in the past she has not participated in any of Arizona's awesome small game hunting.
This year she and Tony Campbell, who is her mentor and best friend, decided to go out on what would be her very first dove hunt.
Robbins has a beautiful yellow Labrador named Stella, and it would be her first hunt too.
Lacie has shot trap before and uses a Beretta 20-gauge over/under shotgun.
But shooting at live birds was definitely going to being a challenge for the new hunter.
With the temperatures in the Kingman area reaching in the mid 90s, Tony and Lacie decided to try their luck at a secluded pond they had found in the desert near Kingman.
So well before daylight on Sept. 1, Tony, Lacie and Stella headed out in the cool morning air and waited for the sun to rise and the birds to come in.
The plan was since this was the first hunt for Lacie, that Tony would just watch the action.
And action there was.
"There were a lot of birds flying around and I got a lot of shots," Robbins said. "I think I fired about 70 shots before I got my limit."
Actually, Robbins did better than the average hunter in America does when it comes to shooting doves.
The gray speedsters, who fly at deceptive velocities and like to bob and weave, win a lot more of the battles than they lose.
In America, the average is 10 shotgun shells fired for every bird that is put in the bag.
Robbins noted that she enjoyed her first dove hunt but, "They (doves) sure are a fast-moving, small target to hit!"
Lacie said she really enjoyed watching her dog work at finding and retrieving the downed birds.
At first the young dog didn't quite know what to do. But as the morning and the shooting continued, she (Stella) finally decided that picking up doves was fun, even though the dog didn't much care for all the feathers that would come out into her mouth when she picked them up.
Robbins said she had her limit of doves and was back in her Kingman home by 9 a.m. on opening day.
The birds were cleaned and then soaked in Italian seasoning.
That evening Lacie and Tony enjoyed a meal of dove breasts that Tony had grilled.
"They were delicious!" Robbins said. "I had heard that they weren't the greatest to eat, but the way Tony cooked them, they were excellent."
Robbins also said as a sportsman it gave her satisfaction to know that the birds she harvested were utilized as table fare.
That made the entire experience just that much better.
The first dove season ends on Monday, and Robbins hopes that she and Tony, along with her dog Stella, get to go out again on a dove hunt.
"I had a blast," she said.