The dove opener is a big day for any shotgunner, serving as a first opportunity of the year to look down the barrel at live prey for many. So it was no surprise that a bevy of hunters joined in Maryland on Sept. 1 for the first shoot of the year. As it stood, the weather was hot; the birds, not.
A field of sunflowers would be our hunting grounds for Opening Day. Though they offered ample concealment and served as a potential smorgasbord for the dove, they offered little in the way of shade from the sun's rays.
Only one gundog joined us afield for the opener—due in no small part to the very hot weather—and he bristled with early-season energy. We didn't give the ol' boy much to do, but he, like our hunters, was happy to be back in action.
Among our hosts were the folks at Caesar Guerini, makers of fine Italian shotguns. Though certainly not the only brand afield for the opener, there was no shortage of Italian-made scatterguns on this day.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, though. A few birds did very much meet their maker. Every so often, a rogue dove would try to run the gauntlet of frustrated hunters in our little sunflower patch. Few reached the end.
September is here, and with the ninth month comes a number of things—the dove opener for many states among them. In Maryland, that day was, as it always is, Sept. 1. To celebrate the return of shotgun seasons in the mid-Atlantic, Web Managing Editor Shawn Skipper joined Sven Harms of Vero Vellini—a longtime friend of American Hunter—for Maryland's Sept. 1 opener.
The day was hot, the birds a bit scarce. But the important thing was getting back into action. And so off to Chestertown, Md. we went. You can get an inside look at the hunt with the gallery embedded above.