FREE DOVE FIELD PERMITS AVAILABLE
September 10, 2003
Local dove hunters won’t have to look hard to find great places to hunt this season. In addition to its Special-Opportunity dove fields at Tenoroc Fish Management Area and Hilochee Wildlife Management Area (WMA), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has an additional dove field on the Osprey Unit of Hilochee WMA located in northeastern Polk County. The dove fields on the Osprey Unit have been planted with Japanese millet, browntop millet, dove proso and other grains to attract the popular game bird. Still, the best news is that the permits for the Osprey Unit dove field are free.
The Osprey Unit dove field will host dove hunts on the first, second and fourth Saturdays during the first phase; the first and third Saturdays during the second phase; and the first, third, and fifth Saturdays during the third phase of the mourning and white-winged dove season.
A maximum of 20 dove-hunt permits will be issued for each hunt. Dove hunt permits for all hunts can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis at the Osprey Unit dove field check station, from 8 a.m. until noon on Sat., Sept. 13. The Osprey Unit check station is located off of C.R. 557, approximately a half-mile south of the intersection of I-4 and C.R. 557.
Individuals must be present to reserve a permit. Individuals may reserve only one permit per dove hunt, however individual hunters may reserve a permit for two different hunt dates. Any un-issued permits can be obtained at the Osprey Unit check station beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of each hunt.
To allow maximum public usage of the field, permits that have been turned in or have not been picked up by 3 p.m. will be re-issued to waiting hunters on a first-come, first-served basis. Dove hunt permits and reservations are transferable.
Hunters can enter field at 11 a.m. and must exit by one hour after sunset. There are no reserved spots on the fields.
In order to participate in the Osprey Unit dove hunts, sportsmen must possess a valid Florida Hunting License and WMA Stamp when applicable, plus a free federal migratory bird permit. The free migratory bird permit is available online at www.floridaconservation.org/migbirds/migbirdspermit1.asp or from any hunting license outlet. The FWC’s free permit program is part of an effort implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). The HIP program polls hunters in a post season effort to gather data on the harvest of America’s migratory game birds.
Regulations allow one minor child less than 16 years of age who does not have a permit, to hunt under the supervision and in the presence of an adult permit holder. The minor and adult permit holder may both take their legal limit of dove.
The Dove field on Osprey Unit of the Hilochee WMA is not the same field and should not be confused with the special opportunity dove field off C.R. 474 in Lake County.
For more information on dove hunting opportunities, visit the FWC Web site at www.floridaconservation.org, and click on "Hunting", or call the Division of Wildlife in Lakeland at (863) 648-3205 during normal working hours.
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