When I found out that I would be heading down south to the Rio Grande Valley for an early season white wing hunt at Resaca De La Palma state park I literally could not sleep for days with anticipation. All I kept hearing was how good the dove hunting would be, and birds were plentiful, I mean my trigger finger was itching for some action. This would also be my first trip back to the Valley in 5 years and it's been 10 years since I hunted the state park area. My son and co-worker from San Antonio would accompany me on the hunt this year. There had been plans to take a larger group of enthusiastic dove hunters, but most flaked out of the opportunity for various excuses. Nor hell or high water was going to keep me from making the four hour trip down south to some of the most spectacular dove habitat that exist in Texas today.
The plans were to head out early Saturday morning and arrive at the hunting unit by 11 AM for check in and then hit the hunting area for a noon start. We knew that with the opening of the special white wing season, many hunters would be crowding the public hunt area. We were greeted by two friendly park representatives who quickly gave us a map and a few pointers on how to best intercept the fast flying doves. They recommended that we find a nice corner of the unit and set up facing south to catch the birds coming in to the park to roost in the native trees after feeding in nearby sunflower and grain fields. Let me tell you, taking time to get good info like this is priceless, because we did exactly what they told us to do and the birds did exactly what they said they would do.
As soon as we set up and sat down, an early flight of white wings and morning dove began flying over from the roosting areas headed south to feed early in the day. Then everything slowed down from 3pm until 5pm and then the flood gates opened. The white wings flew early and consistently in nice flocks of 5 to 10 birds. We began testing our rusty shotgunning skills until 7:30pm. By this time I was beautifully exhausted with sweet satisfaction of knocking those swift grey birds out of the south Texas sky. It was a spectacular shoot with exploding gunfire erupting all over the park, sounds of joy and excitement filed the air all afternoon.
Let me tell you something, if the shooting was not good enough to get your blood going then the excellent South Texas Bar-B-Que waiting for us at the check in station was the icing on this grand cake. The park staff had grilled some beef fajitas, chicken, pork, and sausage to be served over a corn tortilla with magical hot sauce. I tell you what it does not get much better than that, a nice dinner out in the field surrounded by fellow dove hunters enjoying some priceless cuisine! We did not all shoot our limit, but we did fire on average 5 boxes of shells (125 shots) just on Saturday afternoon. Going to the hotel that night for some much needed rest was well deserved and the bonus hunt on Sunday had us dreaming of another great hunt.
On the final day of the weekend hunt we decided to start off our day by driving to Harlingen to eat breakfast at Las Cazuelas Mexican restaurant. The food and the service was incredible, the bonus was catching up on all the college football action I had missed the day before on their flat screen TVs.
We headed back to the hunting area to be greeted with a line of trucks parked waiting to enter the hunting area at 11 AM, a testament to the excellent hunting that took place the day before when about 150 hunters took to the field to blast some birds. We decided to set up in the same location and anticipate a similar flight the second day. This time the birds were more cautious and did not leave the fields to water and roost until 5pm, but once again the flood gates opened wide and the birds poured into the fields until 7pm. Two incredible days of shooting and the best thing of all is that we only paid $50 for the entire season, talk about getting your bang for your buck! All in all, the hunting was 5 star, the food was excellent, and the people of the Rio Grande Valley are a ten in my book. I can't wait to head back down south for the next dove hunting adventure!