Ryan Adams (no, not that Ryan Adams) has learned the hard way that wild birds that fall from the sky don’t make the best dinner. Unless one enjoys the uninvited company of officials from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Adams, who blogs (not sings), at Nose To Tail At Home, thought he had lucked into a delicious dinner when a white-winged dove flew into his window at his Pflugerville home. He recounted the experience (which, honestly, sounds something like a modern-day Aesop’s Fable) in an October 8 post:
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were relaxing on the couch watching Project Runway—what?—when a loud “BAM” startled us and sent our pups into fits of barking. Initially we assumed that a stray baseball from a neighbor’s yard was the cause, but once outside we discovered this poor little guy. For whatever reason a White-winged Dove had gone kamikaze, breaking his neck in the process.
Coincidentally, dove season in Texas had started not twenty four hours earlier. Here in Texas, the dove hunting season is very popular. In 1999 alone an estimated 607,000 white-wings were harvested by hunters during the month of September. People travel long distances and pay big bucks to hunt these birds, and one had just been dropped into my hands.
A lot of people would either bury or throw away a dead animal under these circumstances.
I am not one of them.
So Adams plucked and prepped the bird, refrigerated it overnight and seasoned it with sage and a bay leaf before grilling it. He then sprinkled it with paprika and devoured it. “About half-way though I verbalized my wishes that more doves might find their way into my backyard,” Adams wrote in a blog post titled “When life gives you wild game,” complete with pretty pictures. One might think that this mouthwatering tale might end there.
But, according to Joe Gomez of DFW’s CBS 11, a game warden came knocking. “It is illegal to possess any wildlife resource that has not been taken legally,” Steven Lightfoot, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife, explained. “By legal I mean there are certain means and methods … you have to have a hunting license and you have to have the appropriate weapon and ammunition.” If Adams had hunted the bird himself (with the proper hunting license), he would have been free to eat it. But “since those weren’t the circumstances he should have turned it over to a game warden,” Gomez reported.
TPWD will not, however, be ticketing Adams for the offense.