Campfire doves with bacon strips

August 24, 2013

G. Sam Piatt

Outdoors Columnist

One of the favorite hunts for quite a number of Ohio and Kentucky wing-shooters opens Sept. 1.

In Kentucky, the first segment of the season on mourning doves runs through Oct. 24.

On opening day, shooting hours on private, public and leased lands are 11 a.m. to sunset.

This is to ensure that shooters can get positioned in the field on private lands at controlled hunts and evade the danger of shooting toward one another.

After that, shooting hours for the remainder of the seasons broaden to one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Kentucky has two shorter seasons to follow – Nov. 28—Dec. 6 and Dec. 28—Jan. 3.

The daily bag limit remains at 15 per hunter, while the possession limit is now a generous 45.

Ohio’s possession and daily limits are the same as Kentucky’s.

Ohio’s shooting hours are sunrise to sunset throughout.

For details on the length of the season and special hunts on state land in the Buckeye State, see the publication, “Migratory Game Bird-Hunting Season,” available where licenses are sold.

Doves come to my bird feeder by the dozens because I always scatter a little grain on the ground for them, since they’re too clumsy to gain access to regular, hanging bird feeders.

The shot-gunning of these small blusish-gray pigeons, the white species of which is considered to be a bird of peace, always brings some resistance from a segment of society.

But if their numbers aren’t checked by some method, they can quickly outstrip the available food supplies so that disease and starvation can take hold.

Certainly shot-gunning would seem to be a more humane death than starvation.

Mourning doves may be clumsy at the feeders, but they can fly like a bullet.

More than one hunter will tell you of firing a box of 20-gauge No. 7s without ruffling a feather.

There was this one lady who stopped her car along a gravel lane where some camouflaged dove hunters were hunkered down in a fence row, watching the sky.

She rolled her window down and scolded one hunter. “You should be ashamed of yourself, killing those adorable mourning doves!” she said.

To which he without hesitation replied, “Lady, I don’t kill doves. I just shoot at ‘em.”


It requires quite a number of small dove breasts to feed a family or group of friends.

They provide some good eating, but the success of the meal rests with the hunter more than the chef.

In the hot weather of the early season, doves must be carefully dressed out and cooled in the outdoors.

Don’t let them lie on the ground in the hot sun or in the game bag throughout the hunt.

Breast them out or clean them whole and keep them on ice in a cooler.

Roasted, fried, baked or stuffed, there are lots of good recipes for doves, which offer a rich, dark-textured meat.

Two of the most simple recipes, lifted from “Pioneer Heritage Wild Game Cookbook,” by Trapper Jack French (published in 1986 by Realco Publishing, 825 Center St., Suite 22-A, Jupiter, Fla., 33459, $14.95), are:


8 whole dressed doves

½ teaspoon chili-powder

8 slices bacon

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic-powder

Sprinkle dove with seasonings, then wrap with bacon strips and secure with a wooden toothpick. Cook over hot coals on a grill or on a green hickory stick over a campfire, turning frequently until done.


6 doves dressed whole

½ cup flour

1 cup cooking oil

1/8th teaspoon salt

1/8th teaspoon black pepper

Season the birds inside and out with the salt and pepper, then dredge them in the flour. Fry the doves in a skillet with the cooking oil, just as you would for chicken.


12 whole-dressed doves

½ stick margarine

4 slices ham, chopped

1 cup red wine

3 tablespoons powdered ginger

½ cup pitted olives

First, place the doves in a large skillet with the margarine and brown them on all sides.

Next sprinkle them with the ginger and pour in the red wine. Add the ham and olives.

Now cover the skillet with a lid and reduce the heat to low, then let them simmer for thirty to forty-five minutes, or until the doves are tinder.

G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or gsamwriter@aol.com.