We just got back. Went out last night and camped over at a spot on the west desert... litterally as we got to our spot I tore a hole in one of my new Hankook Dynapro's. Depressing really, I mean I fully believed they were indestructable tires... my wife said "I told you not to drive 75 on these gravel roads!", I told her thats WHY I buy these nice tires, so I CAN drive 75 down shale two-tracks LOL!
As we were setting up camp and changing tires, we had doves come in and land around the watering hole among us. A great sign!
That night, we were given one of the most staggeringly crazy lightning and thunder shows I've ever witnessed in my life. Lightning was as frequent as one strike every *FIVE* seconds! This went on for well over an hour, the tent ceiling flashing like a strobelight. It was just jawdropping to hear thunder rolling left to right, right to left, back to front, front to back, right over head. It was actually spooky like playing russian roulette wondering if the next one was going to drill us. We had some DANG close strikes that just made you pucker up. Makes you feel very insignificant in the middle of that sheer display of power.
Then the rain came... or should I say monsoon! It had to have rained 1-2" in an hour or so, I had fairly deep standing water inside the tent and outside anything that could hold water was filled. I am so glad we were on cots, worth their weight in gold! My 11 year old got a bit wet, made him sleep in his own tent which was nearly flattened during the wind gusts hehe good scouting practice
Morning arrived to... nothing. There wasnt a thing moving, anywhere. No doves, no tweety birds, no rabbits... nothing but silence. After a while I told my boy to make a short hike through a greener patch to maybe kick up a rabbit, he got down in it when I heard a shot. I saw him walk over and pick something up that wasnt white. I thought maybe he hit a tweety by accident but when he walked back he was all grins, he pulled out a Dove! He stumbled across one, jumped it and dumped it with 1 shot of his youth 20ga. How cool is that! I was pretty proud lemme just say.
The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful. From time to time a dove would come through, we got some shooting in and got a few but it was SLOW compared to last years insane numbers (last year within 1 mile or so of this spot we sat in a ravine and had 300-400 doves come through in groups of 2 to 20). Due to the prior nights rainstorm leaving standing water in every road and depressing, sitting on a water hole became a moot issue.
When we got back to my local Discount Tire, I'd counted more doves inside city limits than we saw the entire time on the desert. The drought out there was just devastating. Sunflowers were all dead and tried up so I think the majority of the doves left long ago.
So all in all, great fun trip with wife and boy, got a bunch of shooting in, brought some doves home, got to see one of the most spectacular lightning shows of my life and because I bought the road hazard warrenty on my tires they will replace my poor tire for free.
Hearing other fellow Utahn's state this is the worst dove hunt opener in their memory as well. Even a few who didnt harvest any doves. Thats pretty rough for a season opener!