Argentina 2013: A Wonderful Hunt and Fantastic Vacation: Part 8

by david on July 31, 2013

I had seen TV shows and magazine articles about the vast numbers of doves and pigeons in Argentina, but until you have actually seen it in person, you simply cannot grasp the number of birds in the sky.  I can sum it up in three words: “they were everywhere”.  When they really started flying, they were not coming by in groups of 3s and 4s.  It was more like groups of 30’s and 40’s.  I have never been a very good shot on doves and, on top of that, I have not been dove hunting in probably 15 years.  I was sure I looked quite spastic and uncoordinated as I moved my shotgun from one bird to the next.  It was impossible to get the gun on one long enough for me to get a shot off.  It took me a few minutes to be able to figure out how to pick and follow a single bird all the way into range but once I did the birds started to fall out of the sky along with little grey puffs of feathers.

Reloading and shooting soon became a conditioned reflex action.  I was used to having a plug (complying with the US migratory bird-hunting laws) in my shotgun, limiting me to three shells (two in the magazine and one in the chamber).  The gun I was using today had no such plug and held 3 shells in the magazine and one in the chamber, yielding a four-shot capacity.  I chose to only put two in magazine for a couple of reasons.  First off if I could not hit a bird with three shells I was not going to hit it with a 4th.  Knowing I had limited myself to fewer shots helped me to select shots I thought I could reasonably make.  Taking shots I could make resulted in more birds on the ground and fewer wounded birds.  The last reason was one of safety.  I was so conditioned to there only being three shots, I was afraid that after firing three shots and thinking the gun was empty, I might relax my usually very strict gun-safety protocol.  It sounds farfetched to some, but I take gun safety very seriously and I always prefer to be safe than sorry.  I will stay that way until someone can tell me how to call the bullet back after the trigger is pulled.

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