Labor Day weekend tradition continues

One of my favorite family traditions happened again over the holiday weekend. I think it’s the 14th time in 15 years we’ve made trips to hunt doves around prairie waterholes a couple of evenings over the holiday break.

(file photo)

It started when both my kids were still quite young. Lindsey was probably in middle school and Jerrod in about the 5th grade.

We made the sizable drives because the action the last half-hour of the day can be amazingly fast. It’s also quite social since we can all sit close together and watch different directions.

I think Jerrod was 10 when he shot his first waterhole limit and Lindsey 13. She hasn’t been in a number of y ears, though. Hank, our Lab, was not quite five-months-old when he made his first fetch on a hunt. I think he had more than 60 before that weekend was over.

This year Jerrod, Hank and I headed towards Kinsley to hunt with Tom Turner. His son, Tyler, joined us one day. The gunning was good. The cool front made it very comfortable for two and four-legged hunters.

As they have every year doves buzzed the small waterholes surrounded by miles of dry prairie like bees from a shaken hive Saturday and Sunday evenings. Limits of 15 per person were easily gotten both days. The 10-year-old dog did surprisingly well considering he’d been exercised little because of this summer’s heat.

This was Hank's 11th Labor Day weekend dove hunt. He remembered it all just fine.

But that’s gone now, and what follows will be dove sauteed with fresh veggies and some red wine or maybe some more wrapped in bacon and tossed on the grill.

We’ll have more family traditions this year, though they’re harder to arrange with two kids living in two different states. We’re gathering for a special Thanksgiving and hopefully some time around Christmas, too.

They’ll all be fun but I’ll still be looking forward to Labor Day weekend 2012, too.