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Bill Stancil: Finding solace dove hunting in troubling times

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Bill Stancil

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By Bill Stancil
The Billboard

Friday, September 8, 2017

This morning (Tuesday) I woke up to another sunny day, for which I always thank God.

The world was still spinning on its axis, and the newspaper did not talk about another nuclear missile blast from the little guy in North Korea while I slept. Enough evil was happening in our own neighborhoods for us to be concerned about.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday wherever you went to celebrate it. For those of us who like to hunt, Labor Day opened the dove shooting season. Dove shooting season is a relaxing time in the outdoors. Sometimes someone invites you to their farm where the proper things that doves like to eat have been planted. In some cases, there is a cookout to enjoy at lunch time at the owner’s invitation.

You have probably already found yourself a comfortable place to sit and wait for the doves to fly by.

For me, dove shooting is more than just the shooting. It is a time for relaxation with hunting friends and introspection for me, as I think about how much hunting has taught me about life in the Great Outdoors over the past 60 years.

Sometimes it is an opportunity to marvel again how God created the beautiful earth we live on, what we get from it and how it continues to educate us, feed and clothe us and the wild game that calls it home also.

And as I shake myself out of the thought trance I have been in, I realize I have missed three doves that flew right over my head and are probably laughing as they flap their way into the distance.

That’s all part of the game. There will be more doves coming by before long, and I will get other opportunities. Hit them or miss them, it doesn’t really matter. I am out here for relaxation, the fun and company of guys just like me, who hit a few and miss a lot. We just smile or even laugh at each other, because we know how the other feels about just being able to be out with the hunting crowd.

Many times on opening season hunts, there will be young people who are first-time hunters in the groups. It makes me remember my beginning hunts as a young boy. The difference is that there may be some here who took their hunting education course from me, since I helped to teach the courses (required by the State of North Carolina) for twenty-three years.

We are different and have different thoughts, but I hope they are enjoying more than just the killing of a bird or an animal. I hope they are also learning something about how good life is and who created it for us and allows us to enjoy it.

I want them to know that we need to keep the earth clean and how to respect the property of others.

Most of all, I want them to know how to give back to the earth through wildlife habitat, like the farmers who prepare the areas to attract the things that we love to hunt and fish and invite us to use them.

Those are just some of the things that go through my mind when I am enjoying a relaxing day afield—along with “How am I going to put this in a column” and “Why do I keep missing those birds?”

Doesn’t really matter. I’m having fun just being out here.

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