Become a Member of the Dove Club!
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.
Because of this, 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 (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.
Last year, 1,013 birds were harvested from six fields. This coming season, there 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 453 birds taken. This year, the field will be expanded from 50 to 75 acres.
Koon Farm dove field in Lafayette County last year had 114 birds harvested off its 40 acres. There will be 13 Dove Club permits available to hunt next season.
The dove field on Hilochee Wildlife Management Area in Lake County has 15 Dove Club permits available to hunt its 80 acres. Hunters there last season took 59 doves.
Hunters harvested 80 birds from Allapattah Flats PSGHA in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. Thirteen Dove Club permits are available for the 100-acre field.
North Newberry PSGHA, in Alachua County, has 15 Dove Club permits on its 40 acres. That field produced 87 birds last year.
The remaining property, Caravelle Ranch in Putnam County, has three fields that total about 125 acres with 30 Dove Club permits available. Last season, 220 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 18 through July 28.
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 License.MyFWC.com. During Phase I, hunters may be awarded a permit for only one dove field.
You may check the drawing results after 10 a.m. on Aug. 1 by logging in to your customer account at License.MyFWC.com. Also, any applicant who provides an email address will be notified by the FWC if drawn. Those who are successful in getting drawn must pick up and pay for the Dove Club permit at any of the same places mentioned above or online by Aug. 11.
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!