Michael A. Sawyers

Michael A. Sawyers - Outdoor Editor

Many of you know how fond I am of hunting mourning doves. I’ve always considered the dove hunt, even in years when I didn’t get many, to be the trumpet player announcing the oncoming various hunting seasons we so enjoy.

Besides that, dove breasts, in my book, are delicacies.

For a so-so shot living in the mountain time zone of Maryland, I’ve had a pretty good season already. In recent years, I’ve hoarded the dove breasts in my freezer, compiling them for a November bow camp cookout at which they are the appetizers.

One dove breast makes two appetizers.

Soak the breasts in apricot jam that is diluted with whatever amounts of olive oil and whiskey you care to add. If the whiskey turns you off for whatever reason, don’t use it.

After letting the breasts soak for at least a day, wrap them in bacon (a half a strip works best).

If you like, include a piece of banana pepper or a slice of mushroom before you wrap the hors d’oeuvre with the bacon. Pierce it with a round toothpick and grill over low charcoal.

I have had people who say they didn’t like dove meat start hunting them again after they ate these yum yums.

I have had people who didn’t have high opinion of hunting say things like “now I see why you hunt” after masticating and swallowing a formerly flying dove breast.

Recently, the good news was that I was able to take off on the spur of the moment for a quick, late afternoon dove hunt. The bad news is that I forgot my boots.

The good news was that I had a pair of old sneakers in the truck. There’s stuff in my truck that I don’t even remember owning.

The bad news is that during the hunt I stepped in a cow pie that was 3.5 inches deep. It was one of those dry-on-the-outside smooshy-wet-on-the-inside kind of meadow muffins.

I backed into the field cookie as I was trying to position myself for a shot on a dove, which I missed.

The good news is that the sideboard of my sneakers were 4 inches high.

Additional bad news was that I killed a dove that fell on the other side of a creek. The good news was that I had to wade the creek and that washed all the cow doo off my sneaker. The bad news was that I was wet halfway up my calves.

The good news was that it was still almost 80 degrees as the sun approached the mountain.

The bad news was that the Red Sox don’t appear to have much of a chance for post season play this year, but, hey, it’s dove season and that takes the sting off a lot of other disappointing things.

As of right now, I have 52 appetizers in the freezer. You do the math.

I’m going to try to keep from giving them a swim in apricot jam with a dash of hard stuff until our sons, Jake, Seth and Ryan, and our daughter-in-law and grandson, Jaime and Brady, are home during the Christmas holidays. No matter the weather, we’ll grill those goodies just before slapping some (see me crossing my fingers) marinated deer backstraps atop the coals.

Autumn rules!

Mike Sawyers is outdoor editor of the Cumberland Times-News. He may be contacted at msawyers@times-news.com.

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