Dove Hunting Season is Here

Every August in north Texas, entire families can be found perusing the hunting aisles of their local sporting goods store.  I do not hail from a family of hunters, so I was unaccustomed to the ritual that precedes dove hunting season.  I was also unaware that the mighty, fearsome dove could wreak such havoc on the country side, mauling livestock and small children alike.  During the first five years of my marriage to Ed, I witnessed the anticipation of hunting season  and the joy Ed actually experienced on these hunting excursions with his father.  I came to know dove hunting as an activity for the men of my little family.  Then one day, I became pregnant with twin boys.  Before they were ever born,  my father in law wanted to know how old they needed to be before they could go dove hunting.  Really? I thought.  Shouldn’t they be grown? At least thirty years old? Why would my babies be taken hunting?  But the years started to pass and Ed and his father kept assuring me that the boys were still too young to be taken hunting.  Then last year happened.  The boys were 5 1/2 years old.  They wanted to know why Daddy was getting dressed up (in camo), where he was going, and why they weren’t going.  Why can’t you go? Because you’re not thirty yet!  Last year, each boy was taken separately on a scouting trip to see where the fearsome doves might be resting.  This year, they were taken so they could hear a shotgun being fired.  I didn’t die while they were gone from fear or anticipation or a nervous breakdown.  The next week, Ed texted me while I was at work that he would be taking the boys on a hunting trip that evening after work.  Everything should be fine, right?  It was fine last time.  I got home from work and was greeted a short while later by two very excited boys yelling about shooting a gun for their very first time.  WHAT???  Where is your father???  Ed was already on his way up the stairs, anticipating my reaction.  The boys had been rewarded for practicing the gun safety they had been taught and the rifles were still too big for their short little arms, so Ed had had to hold the gun so they could shoot.  Two days later, they were sporting matching bruises and ear to ear grins.  I’m starting to think I may survive their childhoods.



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