Opening Day of Dove Season 2023 (fish story)

It was a special day for me. I got to hunt with a couple friends, but more so, my son bought his own license and wanted to join us. I didn’t shoot very well. Not compared to my last couple years, but I shot enough. Of course we finished up with bacon wrapped dove poppers.

The hunt started slow, with a few people popping off in the distance early. We didn’t see anybody with AZGFD all morning which was a bit of a change. We have gotten checked every opening day for the last few years. Then it started to light up a little. I could have shot a limit if I had shot better, so I can’t complain. My son was big delight for me. He came with us this year of course, but he was on fire. He was exercising discipline by not taking marginal shots, but at one point I saw him drop six in a row without a miss.

Then came the big one that got away. Flying right across in front of us was what looked like a gigantic white wing dove. I don’t mean big and fat. I mean it looked fully double the size any white wing dove I have ever seen before. My son and I were both tracking it. Neither of us believed it was really a dove. It was more like a small flying dinosaur. Finally as it turned away I could see that was clearly a white wing dove big enough to bully pigeons. By then it was at marginal range for me, and my son chose not to take the shot. It was a little further for him. I took the shot, and I saw a couple feathers fly off, but it never slowed down. I am convinced if either of us had dropped that bird we would have easily won the big breast contest at the local gun store and taken home a new shotgun.

We finished up with few more birds after that, buried our gut pile and headed home.

I am always amazed at how good dover poppers are. Well worth the work to make them. Our recipe is a little different than others, but that’s one of the joys of cooking. You can adjust your recipe to suit the people eating it. A lot of people call them jalapeno dove poppers. While I do like spicy food from time to time we use a similar size pepper that is not quite so hot. If you like the zing by all means use a jalapeno.

We cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, and slather in a layer of creamy goat cheese. Other people use regular cream cheese. Either is fine. Then we lay a half dove breast (filleted from the bones of course) on top of the cheese, and wrap the whole thing with a half slice of bacon pinned in place with a toothpick. Due to various feed limitations we use a special ordered duck bacon, but regular old Bars S pork side bacon from your local store is just fine. Every year I have to looked up cook times for some reason. I just can’t remember. We roast on a preheated oven on a large cookie sheet for about 400-425 for around 40 minutes. When its done the bacon is well cooked, and the ends of the peppers sticking out look almost, but not quite burnt. I may not do it the way you would and that’s okay, but int eh end all that matters is its really good.

Yeah, we have a one that got away story, but we had almost as much fun telling it as if we had actually won the shotgun for the prehistoric beast of a white wing dove.

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