Friday, September 2, 2016

Public Youth Dove Hunts Offer Wingshooting Education

Youth dove hunter with mentor and retriever
Youth dove hunts are a time-honored tradition in the Lowcountry, and some public lands in South Carolina are now customized to conduct youth dove hunts. It is quite possible that Charleston County is home to the grandest public youth dove hunt of them all at Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area on Edisto Island. What was once a privately held plantation is now public, and these sea island dove fields utilize their history to draw in droves of doves each year.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) manages the Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for a wide variety of game and non-game species. For example the beachfront is home to nesting seas turtles and migratory songbirds such as the painted bunting, while the uplands are home to public draw hunts for white-tailed deer.  SCDNR even manages this property for tourism, since its unique road system offers a driving tour for those that simply wish to view the pristine maritime forest found there.
One could argue that the jewel of Botany Bay WMA for sporting types is the long and narrow dove fields that are kept under cultivation for mourning doves. Tall pines border the fields, the kind that took a long time to grow, which are also the kind that doves like to stage in before storming into the fields to feed. Those majestic pines are a remnant from when Botany Bay was private, and property manager Bruce Rawl provides a tangible link to that past, since he has been planting the dove fields the same way for the owners, both past and present.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

To view past blog entries about dove season opening click 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009  

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