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Successful Opening Day For Youth Dove Hunts

September 15, 2004

The annual STEP OUTSIDE Youth Dove Hunts for 2004 began Saturday, September 11, with 21 hunts throughout the North Zone of the state. Fields were alive with 873 excited youngsters – almost a hundred more than opening day 2003 – and 256 of the young hunters were first-timers. The average age of participants was 10.7 years. Three of the scheduled hunts were postponed because the crops were not mature.

“Events like this are a way to introduce a new generation to these activities, to provide wholesome outdoor family activities, and to promote our hunting heritage,” said M. Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “The kids and adults who participated in these high quality dove hunts were very appreciative. On their behalf, as well as the Department of Conservation, I thank the landowners, sponsors, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries employees who made this possible.”

The Youth Dove Hunts are offered by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries in cooperation with landowners, local volunteers, businesses and organizations. The fields are jointly prepared by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and the landowners. Generous statewide supporters include the Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama Power, National Rifle Association, William R. Ireland, Alabama Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation, the Alabama Chapter of Safari Club International, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

 “We can judge the success of our youth dove hunts by the smiles on the faces of all those happy kids,” said Corky Pugh, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.  “For many, this was their first hunting experience, and seeing them enjoying the outdoors with family and friends made us very proud.”

More hunts are scheduled on select Saturdays during the remainder of the dove season.  The last hunt will be October 30.

Participation is free to youths under the age of 16.  They must be accompanied by an adult at least 25 years old, with a valid Alabama hunting license and a free Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) stamp. The adults are allowed to hunt along with their youngsters, or even if their child only observes. Pre-registration is required.  Participants are encouraged to wear eye protection and ear plugs.

For additional information, contact the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office in your area or call 1-800-262-3151.  A list of hunt dates and sites can also be accessed through the department’s website at www.outdooralabama.com.

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