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Join the Dove Club!

By Tony Young

June Outta the Woods



To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game but spending quality time outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do that is through dove hunting, which is part of the reason why great dove hunts are in such high demand but often difficult to find.

Because of this, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) created its Special-Opportunity Dove Club Program. It offers hunters the chance of experiencing exceptional dove hunting on the state's best public dove fields.

Dove Club permits enable one adult and one youth (age 15 or younger) to hunt all scheduled dates for the dove field of their choice. Permits cost $150 and enable both hunters to take a daily bag limit of birds. All hunts take place on Saturdays from noon until sunset. Scheduled hunt dates and number of hunts vary between fields from late September through mid-January.

Last year, 1,236 birds were harvested from six fields. This coming season, there again will be the same six special-opportunity dove fields scattered throughout the state from which to choose.

Frog Pond North Public Small-Game Hunting Area (PSGHA) in Miami-Dade County was again the top producer last year with 553 birds taken. This year, there will be 23 Dove Club permits available to hunt the 75-acre field.

Koon Farm dove field in Lafayette County returns as part of these special-opportunity dove hunts, and there will be 13 Dove Club permits available to hunt its 40 acres.

The dove field on Hilochee Wildlife Management Area, in Lake County, has 15 Dove Club permits available to hunt its 58 acres. Hunters there last season took 108 doves.

Hunters harvested 212 birds from Allapattah Flats PSGHA in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. Thirteen Dove Club permits are available for the 50-acre field.

North Newberry PSGHA, in Alachua County, is another choice when applying. There will be 15 Dove Club permits available to hunt on its 40 acres.

The remaining property, Caravelle Ranch in Putnam County, has three fields that total about 140 acres with 30 Dove Club permits available. Last season, 283 doves were harvested there from just the six-day hunt.

Dove Club permits will be issued by random drawing during Phase I. That application period runs from 10 a.m. on July 20 through midnight July 30.

After obtaining the correct application worksheet by going to MyFWC.com/License and clicking on “Limited Entry/Quota Hunts,” you can apply for these season passes by filling out a single worksheet (with up to five dove field choices) and turning it in at any county tax collector's office, license agent or by applying online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. During Phase I, hunters may be awarded a permit for only one dove field.

You may check the drawing results as early as Aug. 3 by logging in to your customer account atGoOutdoorsFlorida.com. A pop-up message will let you know if you are successful. Any applicant who provides an email address will also be notified by email. If you are successful in getting drawn, you can pay for the permit online by clicking on the “Claim” link in the “Permit Applications” section of your customer account, or at any of the above-mentioned license agents by Aug. 13.

Brochures on these areas are available online at MyFWC.com/Dove. Also at that Web address, beginning in late September, hunters will be able to find the most up-to-date harvest information on these six special-opportunity dove fields. The website is updated weekly throughout dove season.

So if you'd like to join the FWC's Dove Club, here's wishing you luck in getting drawn for these great hunts, and wishing you all a happy and safe Fourth of July Weekend.

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