Dove hunting with the master…….. An essay by William Marshall

Fort Bliss, TX is on the border with Mexico. One of the major flight paths for the migratory game bird, the dove. The mourning dove, the White Wing dove, the Euro-asian dove. They all flew right through our area. For a couple of years there, we had the coolest place to hunt that you could ever imagine. Somehow, measures were right so that hunters could line the American side of the Rio Grande River, just outside of town, and have a massive dove shoot. I’m talking about shots being fired just as if you had paid big money to go down to Mexico or South America to hunt. I mean, it was some dang good hunting.

Yes, I saw border crossers. One small family even brought me some dead doves that they had gathered up as a kind of peace offering and they crossed the river and moved north, she was very pregnant so I’m sure the next stop was the hospital.

One time, I got a chance to take a partner with me. He said that he was an expert at dove hunting. I was excited. Jon Lindsley was his name. He claimed to be able to knock em out of the sky with a quickness. He looked the part, I did notice that he didn’t seem to have many shotgun shells, no big deal, I had plenty he could borrow if needed.

The hunt was going well. Birds everywhere. I was shooting and retrieving birds like crazy. I was getting close to my limit and decided to relax for a minute. I looked out there to where Lindsley was. I saw him walking around, gathering up doves left and right. He would look my way and wave every once in a while. This one time, I noticed the bird coming right at him. He just kinda looked at the bird it seemed and the bird fell. Now he was a long way away but I didn’t see him shoot that bird with his gun. I got suspicious.

I sneaked (sic) over towards that way, paying attention to what he was doing. He dropped two more by just looking at em. They fell out of the sky. When I got close, I asked him, “What the heck man? Your killing these doves and ain’t even shooting em.” He said, “Yep.”

Right about that time, one flew over. He looked up at it and seemed to “smile” at it. The dang thing fell out of the sky dead. He walked over and picked it up. I was amazed.

I asked him how he did it. He called it the “ugly grin.” I didn’t ask him to show it too me. I was scared. I did ask him how he learned it. He said his wife taught him. He continued, “I don’t bring her much though, she tears em up too bad!”

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