Hunting Inca Dove in the Andes

As an army brat in 1966, my father gave my brother and me the opportunity to use his 22 Remington rifle and shotguns. He bought them from a friend and my dad would show us how to use them safely.

We lived on the slopes of Pichincha, which has an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet above Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Our house sat very near an earthquake crack that skirts down the volcano called a cabrada where we would explore. My father would often take us boys into the Eucalyptus forest across our street to hunt small animals and to practice using the firearms. So my older brother, Arthur and I became very experienced in using my dad's guns.

I remember once when I first used his shotgun, my father braced it onto my shoulder and carefully showed me how to squeeze the trigger. I did and the force knocked me down and the recoil really scared me. It was a loaded double barrel, and as I fell backwards I unintentionally aimed the gun right at my dad with my finger on the trigger!!! He quickly yelled at me not to pull the trigger and to point it away from him. We both were very scared!!! Eventually, I received further training and could use the shotgun confidently, but I loved using his 22 rifle better. The smell of gunpowder was very pleasant to me and I can still smell that pungent aroma...heavenly.

My father loved dove hunting and on three occasions he took us to the slopes of Cayambe, a nearly 19,000 foot volcano on the bulge of the Equator. It was a favorite site for hunting the beautiful Inca Dove. We walked the slopes of this majestic Andean mountain in pursuit of these juicy birds. On the equator, the snowline is very high at nearly 16,000 feet but the hilly terrain below have high pampas-like grass that hid these elusive birds. We occasionally got a peek of the seemingly close by snow capped peak as the misty cloud cover lifted now and then.


On this hunting trip, my dad's military buddies brought their hunting dogs who would walk along the grasses and flush out the doves. I shot ten as did my brother, the dogs would bring them back, then we would put them in our hunting vests. That day we brought home around fifty birds.

The beauty of the mountains, the dove song, and having such a wonderful father who really cared that his sons should have the opportunity to see the world made this hunting experience a wonderful adventure to remember. I really miss my dad.

This is only one of the beloved memories of my dad and I will share more with you soon.

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