Upcoming Hunting Season - Dove & Sandhill Crane

By Ryan Gardner
Friday, July 08, 2022


Dove Hunting:

I am seeing a bunch of local dove around the farm and on winter wheat fields (unlike last year after the February 2021 freeze). This year’s drought is a double-edge sword:

        (1) farmers planted little to nothing in the form of grain all over West Texas (drought, double the price of seed, triple the price of fertilizer, and double plus the price of diesel; all with the same selling price for their product – how are each one of you doing on your garden?); and

        (2) the thousands (or millions) of acres of last fall’s / winter’s wheat laying on the ground via cattle grazing and/or the head was only 4 inches off the ground and has not been touched.

The number (2) above, produces some really good dove hunting fields. Now couple number (2) with a concentration of birds hitting watering holes.

I am pushing approximately 1,500 acres (max normally is 100 acre field) spread from Clyde to Abilene to Winters to Bronte to Ballinger to chase dove. I expect to pick up another 180 acres (in 60 acre fields) 2 hours north of Abilene shortly. We have several tanks to hunt, but many are completely dry as I type this email. As noted above, I am looking for last year’s winter wheat fields, wild sunflowers (about 3 to 4 inches tall right now), and any fields that have milo or other grain (none as of right now via calls to 12 farmers).

We have openings, but are receiving calls (2 to 10 a week). Here are our current openings for dove hunting:

    1.    September 1st, 2nd and out the 3rd (Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning):

            a.    Some in cabin;

            b.    Some openings on day hunts;

    2.    September 3rd, 4th and out the 5th (Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday morning):

            a.    Some in cabin;

            b.    Some openings on day hunts;

    3.    September 9th through the 11th;

            a.    Cabin open;

            b.    Day hunts open;

    4.    September 16th to the 18th:

            September 23rd to the 25th:

            September 30th to October 2nd:

            October 7th to October 9th:

            a.    All such dates open (house, cabin, day);

    5.    October 14th to October 16th:

           October 21st to October 23rd

            a.    All such dates completely booked;

    6.    October 28th to October 30th:

            a.    Open (house, cabin, day).

Sandhill Crane:

In addition to dove hunts, we are now offering sandhill crane hunts.

On the east side of Highway 83, we hunt December and January, and on the west side of Highway 83, we hunt November, December and January. My property is on the east side of Highway 83, but I have thousands of acres on both sides of Highway 83 to hunt.

We will be hunting out of:

  • Four Lucky Duck 4 man w/flip top-Optifade A frame blinds (can handle 5 people, but I limit to 4 people per blind);
  • All four A frame blinds completely covered (i.e., all the sides and flip top) with hunting blind raffia grass, grass duck blind roll, bamboo, mesquite and other natural products;
  • Sitting in 16 very comfortable chairs (Alps Outdoorz Stealth Hunter Blind Chairs with armrest – the best in my opinion, Guide Gear Big Boy Comfort Swivel Hunting Blind Chair with Armrests – can handle my weight (290) times 1.7, Millennium Treestands G100 Shooting Chair – very good chair);
  • SX Decoys - 100 full body painted Sandhill crane decoys;
  • Traveling around in 18 foot long, 8 foot wide, 8 foot tall W-W steel box trailer;
  • Several thousands of acres from about 50 miles north of Winters to 30 miles south of Winters; and
  • Each guide with Sandhill Steakhouse Crane Call and DRC Call Co. Sandhill crane call.

Sandhill cranes have amazing eyes, and you really don’t call them much. You really want a large spread of decoys, each hunter and blind completely camouflaged, no skin showing, no eyes visible, and blinds in a natural land break / spot.

My goal: Coffee, orange juice, breakfast burritos, breakfast sausage biscuit, 4 friends in each blind telling the HONEST TRUTH (??) flipping the top back on the blind and killing their limits on every morning hunt. Normally we do not hunt the sandhill crane in the evening to allow the birds to go back to water / rest and prepare for the next day’s hunt. We have other hunting opportunities in the evenings for full package hunts (duck pond hopping, pigs, dove second season, and/or see immediately below for other stuff).

We have the rifle range (now out to 1,200 yards, and berms / targets at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1,000 and 1,200), pistol range (3 rubber dummies, dueling tree etc.), skeet shooting, fishing, ping-pong, darts, washers, horseshoes, corn hole, ladder toss, TV and satellite for college football, etc. . . .

Let me know if you are coming as we are starting to receive a bunch of calls.