Hunting season is upon us, and things are looking a litter better from the weather standpoint — not perfect but better than those oppressive 100-degrees-plus days.

Dove hunting opens across Arkansas on Saturday.

Far too many dove hunters shortchange themselves on the season. They hunt opening day or opening weekend then shift to other pursuits. Dove hunting can continued, with breaks into January. And the products of the hunts can make interesting and delectable dishes on the table.

Many Arkansans enjoy doves in a wide variety of recipes. One of the most often used is simple — grilled dove breasts. Wrap a piece of bacon around the dove breast, secure it with a toothpick then grill or broil until the bacon appears done, turning one or more times. Seasoning can be anything, nearly. A light sprinkle of Italian seasoning or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning on the breasts before the wrap with the bacon works well.

A personal memory is from years ago when the kids were in school. A successful hunt resulted in enough bacon-wrapped broiled dove breasts for supper that night then leftovers that the young ‘uns took to school the next day.

For a main dish that is more innovative, consider this dove spaghetti recipe. You can make adaptations, substitutions or additions as you may see fit. It’s good with a side dish and a salad for supper. It’s an easy one for even a cook of modest talents.

Dove Spaghetti

8 or 10 dove breasts

3 tbsp. butter or margarine 

3 tbsp. chopped onion

2 tbsp. chopped bell pepper

1/3 cup sliced mushrooms 

1 1/2 cups dove broth (see note)

2 tbsp. cornstarch 

3 cups cooked thin spaghetti 

1 cup shredded cheese

Melt the butter in saucepan; cook the onions, bell pepper and mushrooms over low heat until tender. Add dove broth and cornstarch and stir until thickened. Add dove breasts and spaghetti. Heat the mixture until bubbling, stirring frequently. Turn into a baking dish and top with cheese. Place under broiler until cheese melts.

(Note: To prepare dove broth, take the carcasses after the breasts have been removed and boil in water. Remove from heat and strain the liquid into a jar. This is your dove broth. Too much trouble? Just substitute canned chicken broth for the recipe.)

Mushroom Dove Breasts

Several dove breasts

2 cups chopped mushrooms — fresh or canned

1 medium onion, sliced

1 green pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup red wine

salt

pepper

garlic powder

butter and water

Soak dove breasts in salt water for a few hours to draw out blood, then rinse with fresh water and pat dry. Season the breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Sauté onions, green pepper and mushrooms on medium-high heat in butter and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add seasoned breasts to mushrooms, onions and peppers, turning every couple of minutes for 10 - 15 minutes. Cover the pan while cooking. Once breasts are done, add 1/4 cup of red wine and cook for an additional 1 minute. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

2010-2011 Arkansas Dove Seasons: Sept. 4 to Oct. 19 and Dec. 11 to Jan. 5.