For generations upon generations as far back as the locals in little towns across the Deep South can remember, there has been a long-standing tradition of Labor Day weekend dove hunting. 

Typically, these are family affairs with a few close neighbors mixed in. More often than not an outside meal is cooked and you’ll usually find a bunch of old men sitting in lawn chairs under the shade of a live oak tree sipping libations, while spinning yarns. 

I met Steven Poole during the Louisiana special teal season a couple years back, where we shared an agricultural field duck blind near Welch in the southwestern part of the state. He was someone I immediately hit it off with. What’s more, because of social media, Poole, who hails from Laurel, Miss., and I stayed in touch. 

During more than one of our text conversations Poole invited me to hunt ducks with him in the Mississippi Delta. I always told him to give me a call when the ducks were down and I’d make the trip up to hunt. I wasn’t expecting to get a call from Poole two days prior to Labor Day weekend last year. 

Knowing I was a sucker for wing shooting, Poole in his thick Mississippi accent started with, “Mr. John, I’m sittin’ here lookin’ at about 300 dove in a cutover corn field.”

“Oh uh-ahh,” I replied.

“Yes, sir — 300 dove — and we gonna hunt ‘em on Saturday if you wanna come,” he said. “You can come stay at the camp. My daddy is going to be there — he loves dove hunting — there’ll be twelve of us, all total, hunting.”

That Friday I