You wouldn't necessarily know it by reading the local daily newspaper, but tens of thousands of Arizonans go dove hunting every year starting September 1. If you're not a hunter, the only way to tell for sure that dove-hunting season is approaching is if you go to Walmart and spot a 12-foot-high pyramid of shotgun-shell boxes on sale. We know it's a popular activity because we keep getting pushed out of our favorite spots. That's not necessarily because more people are choosing to shoot the world's symbol of peace — hunting is a dying sport, in general, by many accounts. But Arizona's fast growth (before the recession) has either swallowed up many of our old hunting grounds or caused more people to swarm onto the ever-shrinking good spots. In the past few years, though, we've found success (and our birding limit, or nearly so) in fields around Stanfield, just south of Maricopa. We won't tell you exactly where our spot is — duh! — but it's a big area. Just drive along the access roads to the local farms until you find a good place to hang out — far away from any "No Hunting" signs or inhabited buildings, of course. When you're done, you can barbecue the birds in the field — or follow our lead and stop off at Harrah's Ak-Chin casino for a buffet breakfast and a few hands of blackjack.
Stanfield Road and Highway 84,