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Outdoors Getting some dove on the grill.

I have written, and you have no doubt read several articles about how to find and hunt dove in September. This time of year the unfortunate mourning dove is the only live target available for hunters with a passion for wingshooting.

And with dove season opening this week, hopefully many of you will have a few dove to eat. That is where I am going to focus today.

Correctly preparing any wild game or wild birds is an easy process if you are careful from start to finish. A great dove meal begins in the field, as soon as you shoot the birds. An early September dove hunt can be a pretty warm event. I have hunted dove when the temperature was well over 90 degrees. It is very important to take care of your birds quickly in high temperatures.

Now I do not suggest that you stop shooting after every couple birds to clean them. I do, however, recommend that you begin a cooling process of your dove a soon as possible. The very best idea is take a small cooler with ice into the field with you. This will not only give a source for a cold drink during your hunt, but will also allow you to drop your birds in a plastic bag and get them on ice almost immediately. This simple step in the field will help preserve the meat's natural flavor and tenderness.

When you do get finished hunting and clean your dove, get the breasts back on ice as soon as you are done. Be sure the breasts are clean and rinsed of any blood or feathers. Also remember to tag your bag of dove with your name and the date you shot them, before you put them in your freezer.

When it comes to cooking a great dove dinner, the steps are easy and well worth doing. All too many people feel the two or three bites you get of a dove breast are just not worth it. I wholeheartedly disagree. When prepared properly, a dove meal is about as good as it can get.

To start, marinate your dove overnight in Italian salad dressing in the refrigerator. On the day of cooking, cut bacon slices in two and wrap half a piece of bacon around each breast. Attach the bacon with a toothpick. Over a medium heat on either a gas or charcoal grill, cook the dove until the bacon is done, almost crispy. If done correctly, there will be no need to turn the breasts during grilling.

Tips to remember are that if the fire is too hot, the bacon will cook and burn before the dove is done. If your fire is not hot enough, the bacon nor the dove will cook through.

Take your time, get the right heat, and watch the faces of those eating your dove dinner light up with enjoyment.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Sep 3, 2019
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