11But it's also troubling.

You see, it's only mid-August -- Aug. 17 to be exact -- and I'm not sure they should be grouping up into such large flocks quite this early.

But with temperatures flirting with that magical 50-degree mark in the morning, it's something the migratory mourning dove is wont to do.

They also will be quick to head south when the thermometer hits 50 degrees prior to the Sept. 1 opening day for doves.

Oh sure, there will be plenty of doves to shoot, but I'm worried some of them will be imports from points north. That means they've had to fly south to get here, and they've toughened up somewhat. Some of them already might be imports from the north.

Let's face it, we raise doves locally, and I'd much rather have a nice, tender dove that's been flying around enjoying what little grass seed we've got.

Bottom line, this weather has everything screwed up.

First. there was the heat, not that it's completely gone even now. And now there's the cool mornings that threaten to push the quarry of the first hunting season of the fall down south.

Perhaps it's not a big deal, as I'm really not sure how to even hunt them.

I can rush over to a field managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for doves. But, really, I shudder to think how many people will be heading there this fall. It might be shoulder-to-shoulder.

But ponds are dry and sunflowers, well, they just aren't in ready supply.

Oh sure, there's a few sunflowers here and there. I know that, I've taken photos. In fact, just the other day, I photographed a couple of bees swarming the flowers to pick up pollen.

Even if the doves take off early, I'm sure I'll survive just fine. Straight up, I've got to say there's no need for "crying tissues," such as those I received last year when my vacation was slighted.

There's a ton of birds out there, but I honestly don't know how much I'm going to hunt them. It will be tough to find just the right spot.

There might not be a ton of other birds out there, however, and that's an even greater concern.

It doesn't seem as if pheasants had a successful hatch, based on what farmers have told me and what I've seen in the miles-upon-miles of country roads I've driven in recent weeks.

To be sure, I've seen a few chicks, but I can almost count them on one hand -- if I don't count what I've seen multiple times.

In a typical year, however, I'd normally see that many on my daily drives to and from work, or even out in the yard.

I'll be extremely interested in hearing how hunters do this fall when the season finally opens.

I'm guessing it's going to be even more difficult than dove hunting, as many of the birds will be wizened old roosters who have a trick or two up their wing and a pair of legs that were built for making a mad dash anywhere but in front of a hunter's steel sights.