Youth dove hunts provide a gateway to the outdoors
The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) provides several youth dove hunt opportunities throughout the state each fall. A simple hunting setup combined with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere makes WFF’s youth dove hunts an ideal way to introduce young people to the outdoors.
Registration for this year’s hunts will open at 8 a.m. on August 19, 2019. Although the hunts are free, online registration is required. For most of the state, the hunts begin on September 7. For more information including a complete hunt schedule, visit www.outdooralabama.com/youth-hunting/youth-dove-hunts.
Josh Burnette from Gadsden, Alabama, has taken his son Logan to an ADCNR youth dove hunt each year since he was six years old.
“When he was a younger kid, it was a good, safe way to introduce him to the outdoors,” Burnette said. “As he has gotten older, he has progressed to learning more about gun safety and taking good shots.”
Since his introduction to the youth dove hunts, Logan – now 10 years old – has also harvested his first deer, been turkey hunting several times, and even has his own squirrel dog named Clover.
Burnette, who is a forester for the Tennessee Valley Authority, said that in addition to being a gateway to the outdoors for young people, the youth dove hunts help build relationships between landowners and hunters.
“It can be hard to find places to introduce kids to hunting,” Burnette said. “We are thankful for the landowners who donate their time and money to prep their fields for these hunts.”
To participate in the hunts, youth hunters must be age 15 or younger and accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old (or a parent) who has a valid state hunting license, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp and a Conservation ID number.
Alabama’s youth dove hunt events are held in open fields and staffed by WFF personnel, which encourages a safe, secure environment for both parents and participants. Before each hunt, a short welcome session with reminders on hunting safety will be conducted. All hunters are encouraged to wear eye protection and earplugs.
Doves are migratory and covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has special rules and regulations that apply to dove hunting which all hunters must follow. To review the Alabama Cooperative Extension System recommendations for plantings related to dove management, visit www.outdooralabama.com/what-hunt/mourning-dove-hunting-alabama.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
(Courtesy of Outdoor Alabama)