Juniors dove hunts: Introduce youngsters to hunting

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September 27th, 2007

Juniors dove hunts: Introduce youngsters to hunting
Opportunities in southwestern Arizona Sept. 2 or Sept. 8-9 at Robbins Butte

By Rory Aikens and Tom Cadden, public information officers, Arizona Game and Fish Department

When thousands of doves and scores of young shooters and their mentors come together at juniors dove hunts, the end result is a lot of fun for everyone involved. Here are a couple of opportunities for juniors.

Southwestern Arizona, Sept. 2

Two juniors dove hunts are being offered in southwestern Arizona on Sunday, Sept. 2. One will be held at Curry Farms near Yuma. Registration begins at 2 p.m., hunting will take place from 3-6 p.m. The event is free to all Arizona hunters age 13 and under. Sponsoring organizations are the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club, Yuma Women’s Reel & Rifle Club, Curry Farms, Sprague’s Sports, the Southwest Arizona Habitat Partnership Committee, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more information, contact George Reiners at (928) 726-0022.

The other will be held at Texas Hill Farms near Tacna. Registration begins at 3 p.m. Hunting will take place from 4-7 p.m. The event is open to hunters age 17 and under. There is a registration fee of $5 to cover the cost of food and beverages. Sponsoring organizations are the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Texas Hill Farms, the Southwest Arizona Habitat Partnership Committee, and the S.C. Braden Scholarship Fund. For more information, contact Debbie Hovatter at (928) 210-7304.

Robbins Butte (near Buckeye), Sept. 8-9

When, where and who: The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working in cooperation with the Chandler Rod and Gun Club to conduct the annual Robbins Butte Youth-only Dove Hunt on Sept. 8-9 at this remarkable 1,681-acre wildlife area located in one of the largest surviving mesquite bosques along the Gila River.

Directions: Take I-10 west, and then turn south on Highway 85 (toward Gila Bend). The Robbins Butte Wildlife Area is located just off Highway 85 seven miles south of Buckeye (cross the Gila River and look for the wildlife area signs on your right).

Why: It’s an annual treat for all involved. During the first of these annual hunts, one young girl made a comment that shows how much this hunt can mean to a youngster: “I out-shot my brothers. It was more fun than Disneyland.”

Check it in, check it out: Young hunters (through the age of 17) and their mentors are asked to get there by around 4:30 a.m. to check in – it’s first-come, first-served for the available shooting stations. Should there be more young hunters than shooting stations available (hasn’t happened yet), there will be a drawing at 4:45 a.m. Don’t be late. All young hunters are required to check out as well.

Breakfasts await: There is an excellent reason to check out – a sumptuous breakfast with bodacious amounts of pancakes and sausages will be cooked up by the dedicated sportsmen of the Chandler Rod and Gun Club. The breakfast has become as much a tradition as the youth dove hunt.

Star Wars picture opportunity: The Robbins Butte manager, Phil Smith, has arranged to have Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker (his dogs) for a photo opportunity and paw autographs for any Star Wars fan to enjoy. “Phil is one of our charter members and he is devoted to putting a smile on a child’s face,” said Eddy Corona of the Chandler Rod and Gun Club.

But that’s not all. Jim Lindsey from Lindsey Trucking Inc. will have his latest “Rock Crawler” on display.

What to shoot: Participating youngsters can bag mourning dove, white-winged dove and collared dove. The bag limit is ten (10) dove per day; no more than six (6) may be white-winged dove. The collared dove bag limit is unlimited.

What to wear: Wearing hunter orange is not required but is recommended. If you are 14 to 17 years of age, you are required to have a hunting license and an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp. Anyone under 14 can hunt without a license when accompanied by an adult with a valid Arizona hunting license and migratory bird stamp (each adult can bring up to two young hunters age 14 and younger).

How long can you shoot? Shooting hours are from 5:35 a.m. to noon. “Bring plenty of shotgun shells, water, sun block, snacks, something to sit on, bug repellent, a hat or cap, shooting glasses, a camera and more shot gun shells. Oh, and please pick up your trash,” said Corona.

What parents should wear: Parents, you will be retrieving the downed dove, so wear comfortable shoes and dress accordingly (wearing hush puppies is optional).

“I would encourage parents to bring their kids out and enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (480) 529-8340,” said Corona.

Hay wagon transportation: Transportation to and from the shooting stations will be provided via hay wagons. Breakfast will start around 6 a.m. and be served until around 11.

Chance to win a shotgun: Raffle tickets will be sold on both days, and the winner can leave with a Remington 870 Youth Model 20-gauge shotgun provided by the Chandler Rod and Gun Club along with Bear Mountain Inc. It’s possible there will be a second gun to raffle as well.

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