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Mt. Pleasant dove hunt with all the trimmings

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Sept. 12, 2003
The opening of dove season always signals the coming fall and provides hunters with the first chance to bring out their guns and head to the fields. Last weekend the annual Mt. Pleasant Dove Hunt was held at the home of Shelton and Peggy McKay. The McKays have been hosting a dove hunt for years at their farm near Pelahatchie and this year was no different.
When it comes to hunting, most outdoorsmen search for their quarry alone in the woods or fields. Not so with dove hunting however. Many hunters are needed to keep the doves moving around to allow wing shooters a chance to harvest a dove or two. If you don't have an adequate number of hunters, the doves will just fly to an unoccupied portion of the field to feed at will.
To people such as the McKays, dove hunting is a time of celebration, fun and fellowship. Although everyone wants to harvest a few doves, the actual harvest takes a back seat to the festivities surrounding the hunt. During their most recent hunt, outdoorsmen from around our state gathered to take part in the annual ritual.
Good start
Upon arrival at the farm the hunters were greeted with cold water and soft drinks to quench their thirst. Shortly thereafter many of the hunters paired up to draw for stand positions. To be fair to everyone, stands were drawn at random. It wasn't long before shots rang out all around. Some doves flew into the field and were quickly dispatched in preparation for the supper table. Others flew into the field darting, bobbing and weaving their way through volley after volley of shots. As the doves flew through the barrage, shots reverberated around the hills and hollows.
As the afternoon wore on, the doves kept flying and most hunters burned a few shells. A select few were real sharpshooters and harvested more than an ample number of birds. One hunter positioned strategically under an oak tree, hit bird after bird with hardly a miss. Occasionally some of our hosts would come by with water and soft drinks on their all terrain vehicles. Now those were some real hosts.
Once the doves started slowing down, hunters gathered and visited. Many of those hunters had never met before and might not ever meet again. However, friendships were made and future trips were contemplated. There were some fathers and sons hunting together as well as a few husband and wife teams. Many of those, clad in camouflage, sat on lawn chairs near the edge of the fields.
Nostalgic talk
There were conversations centered on past hunts and old acquaintances. While the hunt was progressing many of the hosts were still working to keep the event running smoothly. Shelton McKay and daughter Whitney Adams stayed busy keeping things on track and running smoothly. Carlo Martello joined retired game warden and fire investigator George McKay in barbecuing succulent ribs and sausage. Talk about some fine eating! Man could they ever cook! Along with the meat were tasty sides of potato salad, beans and bread. To top it off, there were some of the finest desserts I've ever had.
At the conclusion of the hunt, hunters mingled around tables and chairs while enjoying the bountiful feast. Outdoorsmen from all around the state were gathered in celebration of the event. Although I had met a few of the people before, I count myself lucky to have met fellow sportsmen such as outdoor writer Phil Difatta of Hattiesburg, fisheries biologist James Cummins, host Shelton McKay and Greenville native Haley Barbour.
While I still enjoy solitary fishing and hunting trips on occasion, nothing beats a Mississippi dove hunt when family and friends come together in celebration and fellowship. The doves are just a bonus.