ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Pursuing doves is an excellent way for beginning hunters to discover Missouri’s hunting heritage. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is providing the ideal opportunity for first-time hunters by putting on a managed youth dove hunt and accompanying dove hunting clinic.
The managed dove hunt will take place at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake, Thursday, Sept. 1, starting at 1 p.m. and goes until sunset. Sept. 1 is the statewide opening of dove season in Missouri. The hunt is open to youths ages 11-15.
In order to join the hunt, participants must also attend a dove hunting clinic at MDC’s Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center Saturday, Aug. 27, from 4-7 p.m.
The clinic will cover topics such as dove biology, hunter safety, and hunting regulations. After the classroom portion, participants will also get hands-on experience to gain effective wing shooting skills by practicing with clay birds. Ammunition and clay birds will be provided. Youths must bring their own firearm unless prior arrangements have been made.
After attending the mandatory clinic, participants can join the Sept. 1 youth dove hunt at Columbia Bottom. Up to 40 youths will be selected depending on field conditions. Preference will be given to first-time applicants. All youth hunters need to be Hunter Education certified by the day of the hunt. To learn more about hunter education, go online to http://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z45.
MDC staff and volunteers will be on hand to check participants in and be available to answer questions.
Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult mentor and plan on bringing a shotgun, safety glasses, and hearing protection both days. There will be a limited number of loaner firearms available on a first-come, first-serve basis for participants who do not have their own.
The hunt and clinic are free, but the deadline for registration is July 31. For registration or additional information, call Columbia Bottom at 314-877-6014.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located by taking the Riverview Drive exit off I-270 and travelling north approximately 3 miles. MDC’s Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is off I-44 at the Antire Road/Beaumont exit.