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Gunning for White-Winged Doves, 1961

The fall of 1961 appears to be a much simpler time; a time when a person could pull over to the side of the road, set up a lawn chair in the middle of a corn field and fire off a couple of shells. For the less leisurely inclined, standing beside your car and aiming your barrel skyward would have done just fine. This series of photographs by David Nevin, published by Life Magazine, documented a three-day long hunting season of the white-winged dove in the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

 

At the peak of white-winged dove hunting, an average of 35,000-40,000 hunters would descend on the lower Rio Grande Valley. When reflecting on the hunt, Life Magazine correspondent David Nevin had this to say, “Except for occasional friends who worked together, everyone hunts without pattern. They fire guns in every direction, often over each other’s heads. In their excitement, some lunge about frantically, while others plunk away almost casually. Birds fall nearly shredded by shot from as many as four or five guns.”

 

There may be a slight risk when surrounded by a bunch of trigger happy dove hunters, but this annual event seems like quite the good time. See more photographs of the 1961 white-wing dove hunt at life.com.

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