Join the FWC'S Dove Club Program
By: Tony Young
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.
To help people find one of these hunts and for other reasons, the 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 (under age 16) 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. There are eight hunts on all these fields except Caravelle Ranch; it has six. All hunts are from noon until sunset and take place on Saturdays, starting Oct. 5 and ending Jan. 11.
Last year, 2,841 birds were harvested from six fields. This coming season, there will be six special-opportunity dove fields again scattered throughout the state.
Frog Pond North Public Small-Game Hunting Area (PSGHA) in Miami-Dade County was the top producer last year with 930 birds taken! Fifteen Dove Club permits are available to hunt its 50 acres.
Koon Farm dove field in Lafayette County came in second last year with 561 birds harvested off its 40 acres. There will be 13 Dove Club permits available to hunt there next season.
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 424 doves.
Hunters harvested 384 birds from Allapattah Flats PSGHA in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. Thirteen Dove Club permits are available for the 40-acre field.
North Newberry PSGHA, in Alachua County, has 15 Dove Club permits on its 40 acres. That field produced 317 birds last year.
The remaining field, Caravelle Ranch in Putnam County, has a 140-acre dove field with 30 Dove Club permits available. Last season, 225 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 through July 17.
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 going online to License.MyFWC.com. During Phase I, hunters may be awarded a permit for only one dove field.
If you are successful in getting drawn, you must pick up and pay for your Dove Club permit at any of the same places mentioned above by Aug. 7. Check for drawing results the fourth week of July by logging in to your customer account at License.MyFWC.com. Any applicant who provides an email address will be notified by the FWC if drawn as well.
Brochures on each of 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 information on these six special-opportunity dove fields, as well as Florida’s other public dove fields. The website is updated every Thursday throughout dove season. Information includes dove densities, previous weeks’ harvests and field conditions.
So if you’d like to join the FWC’s Dove Club, you need to try to do so in July. Remember to introduce someone new to hunting when you can. As always, have fun, hunt safely and ethically, and we’ll see you in the woods!
Tony Young is the media relations coordinator for the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Division of Hunting and Game Management. You can reach him with questions about quota hunt permits or how to apply at Tony.Young@MyFWC.com.