"A Family Affair" - The Dove Hunt

Growing up with two older brothers and a dad who were hunting fanatics certainly taught me a lot.

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I will never forget the day my brothers convinced me to play a game of “Beach” when I was about ten years old. It was simply a “fun” game of paintball and it quickly taught me the basics of hunting and target shooting. Being the kind brothers that they were, they told me to go to the edge of the yard and start running back and forth between trees as they fired the paintball guns at me. They told me it would be good practice for target shooting and hunting, and that I would get my turn to shoot after I was the target. Several sprints and many welts later I learned that they weren’t going to give me a turn to shoot…I was merely there to provide a moving target for their entertainment.

Hopefully that gives a little insight into my upbringing and our family dynamic.

Believe it or not I thank my brothers for roughing me up as a kid because they showed me all of the fun boys get to have in all of their hobbies and games—including hunting. Fast-forward about ten years and I have harvested the biggest buck in my family, so I get to rub that in my brother’s faces! ;)

Now at 23 years old, one of my favorite days of the year falls in early September here in Maryland. The Opening of Dove Hunting Season. We like to call it Dove Dynasty Labor Day here at the Frank Family Farm.

There is nothing like waking up on the opening day of dove season. Get up at a reasonable hour (versus a 4:00 AM wakeup for duck or deer hunting), have a nice big feast, put on our camo and get out in the field right around noon. It’s the only hunt where we get our whole family out there together. The sunflowers brighten up the fields and the dove are buzzing around. It’s time to go!

My brothers, my dad, my boyfriend and I are all spread out evenly around the fields. The most exhilarating part of it is the communication amongst us. It is just like we are playing a game of lacrosse as we yell to each other which direction the dove are coming from. “Hanna, 12:00!!” “Kyle, over the barn!!” “Dad, right above you!” When we see a sibling fold a dove stone cold out of the sky, you better believe we are all cheering. Opening day of dove always ends with my mom and sister coming out to sit with us before we pack up for the day. It truly is a family affair and is something I wish all families could experience.

My girl friends give me a hard time about hunting, and all I have to say is, don’t knock it till you try it. Hunting is more than just an exhilarating sport to me. It’s all