Ever had an interest in hunting but unsure where to start? It’s a common issue.
The barriers to entry are many, from expenses to simply not understanding where to go. Well, Winter Haven’s Captain Travis Thompson has stepped up and formed a coalition of like-minded sportsmen hoping to attract newcomers to the field this season, offering duck hunts at reduced costs to the newcomer.
“We’re looking to recruit folks who have never hunted to come on a hunting trip with us,” Thompson said. “If they’re curious about hunting, interested in getting into hunting, or anti-hunting but open to a conversation with a hunter, we’re opening up opportunities for them to participate.”
Thompson is a fifth-generation Floridian and full-time guide. He sits on the Sporting Council for Vanishing Paradise and participates heavily with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Two years ago, he launched the Cast and Blast Florida podcast with his wife, Emily, and close friend Nathan Henderson. This outdoors program has become the top-rated hunting and fishing podcast in the state.
The response to his idea, put forth through his podcast and various social media platforms, has been overwhelming, he said.
“Since we launched this program in early August, we’ve had single moms ask if they could come and bring their sons. An immigrant who hunted in Cuba over 50 years ago but has been intimidated trying to figure it out in the States. Businessmen, a basketball coach, a youth pastor, a teacher and a group of housewives all reached out to have a chance to experience the hunt," he said. "We’ve also had multiple folks reach out and offer to pay for gear and licenses for these potential hunters. And, we’ve had over a dozen hunters or guides in the state offer to take overflow trips to afford more folks the opportunity.”
With the aid from other sportsmen, Thompson said his time isn’t completely booked. If this might interest you or someone you know, please feel free contact him at email@example.com.
Deer hunting kicks off in Zone C
The long wait is over. Deer hunting returns to Zone C, which includes portions of Polk County, on Sept. 14 with archery and crossbow seasons. Do remember the legal changes to deer hunting in Florida. There is now an annual bag limit of five deer, no more than two of which can be antlerless. All deer must be registered through the new Deer Harvest Reporting System. For more information, please visit myfwc.com/hunting/deer/harvest-report/
September duck season starts the 21st
With all this rainwater, the early teal and wood duck season could be tough this month. Still, this is the first duck hunting opportunity of the year, and if you’re able to scout flocks of these tasty birds, these sweaty September mornings are well-spent.
• Sept 21-25 (teal and wood duck only)
• Sept 26-29 (teal only)
For more information, please visit myfwc.com/hunting/waterfowl/
First phase of dove season Sept. 28
Finally, the first phase of dove season begins Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 20. If you’re lucky enough to hunt a productive field, there is probably no finer way to spend an early fall afternoon with buddies trying to fill a bag of these brown bombers. Each hunter is allowed a limit of 15 birds. How many shots it’ll take to fill that limit? Well, that’s another story.
To learn more about Florida dove hunting, please check out myfwc.com/hunting/dove.
Ian Nance can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.