Quail hunts at Sundown Farms Plantation in Georgia raise money for a Central Florida charity that provides gifts for children undergoing medical treatment at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

The realities of the outside world exist in a distant dimension while slipping between the Georgia pines watching bird dogs work coveys of bobwhite.

On this particular trip, though, 12 couples spent Valentine’s Day weekend hunting quail with Sundown Farms Plantation in Moultrie, mindful of a special Central Florida charity.

The Kate’s Story Foundation was founded in 2017 by Liz Haygood of Lakeland. Her daughter, Kate, had been diagnosed with an infant epilepsy disorder known as Dravet Syndrome. During their exhausting schedule of medical appointments, Liz and her husband, Chris, dreamed up an idea to help children endure unfamiliar surroundings during prolonged hospital stays.

“We spent Kate’s first birthday in the hospital,” Liz said. “She had hours of seizures. It was a time that changed everything for Chris and me. It opened our eyes to the fact that when you are hospitalized your world totally stops while, outside of those walls, the world keeps going. So, we wanted to do something for children who spend special occasions in the hospital.”

The couple led a toy drive in 2016 that eventually blossomed into The Kate’s Story Foundation. By way of community donations, this organization is able to provide gifts and toys for children who are undergoing medical treatment at Nemours Children’s Hospital, helping children and their families cope with and adjust to diagnosis, hospitalization and treatment.

Last summer, Liz’s brother, Cole Sellers, was contemplating fundraising strategies. The concept of a quail hunt resonated with friends, and the management of Sundown Farms worked to make the event a reality.

While hunts like these are an idyllic retreat from the usual day-to-day, it’s critical to remember the kids and their families who are fighting to return to that normal life.

For more information about The Kate’s Story Foundation, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KatesStoryInc.

The Spring Turkey Campaign

Spring turkey hunting returns to Florida on Saturday for hunters south of State Road 70 and March 21 for the rest of the state.

One major rule change in 2020 for many public-land hunters: After years of shutting down hunting at 1 p.m., folks are now able to hunt gobblers from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Be sure, though, to double-check individual Wildlife Management Area brochures to ensure this is true on the lands you plan to hunt.

As usual, all hunters must possess a valid hunting license and wild turkey permit. A management area permit is required on most WMAs. The daily bag limit varies on public lands, but the season limit is two bearded turkeys.

The Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend north of SR-70 is the March 14-15. Youths 15 and younger can harvest turkey but must be supervised by an adult. Adult supervisors with a hunting license and turkey permit can participate in the hunt but cannot harvest a bird.

For more information on Florida’s 2020 Spring Turkey Season – including information on where to hunt without limited-entry permits – please visit myfwc.com/hunting/turkey.

Please visit goodhunt.blogs.theledger.com for more on hunting. Contact Ian Nance at inance880@aol.com. And be sure to follow Polk Outdoors on Facebook.