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Registration Opens September 14 for Forever Wild Field Trial Area Youth Hunts

Phil and John Cowley from Seale, Alabama, participated in a FWFTA youth duck hunt in 2018.

By Kenny Johnson, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) State Lands Division announces the youth deer and duck hunt schedules for the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area (FWFTA) in Hale County. The hunts will take place late November 2021 through January 2022. Registration will open September 14 and run until November 1. Hunters will be selected via a computerized, random drawing after registration closes.

“I am thrilled that we will have an opportunity again this year to introduce youth to the great deer and duck hunting on this Forever Wild property,” said Chris Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner and Chairman of the Forever Wild Board of Trustees.

Youth Deer Hunt Dates

  • November 24, 27
  • December 1, 4, 29
  • January 5, 8, 12, 15, 26, 29

Youth Duck Hunt Dates

  • November 27
  • December 4, 29
  • January 5, 8, 12, 15, 26, 29

Phil Cowley from Seale, Alabama, took his son, John, on a FWFTA youth duck hunt in January of 2018.

John was 9 years old at the time of his hunt. He was already interested in the outdoors, but this was his first experience hunting waterfowl with his dad.

The day of their hunt was very cold and perfect for duck hunting. After checking in at the station, Phil and John were taken to their hunting spot – a corner of an impoundment with plenty of cover on the leeward side of a high levee. Phil used an aerial photo on his phone to help the pair orient themselves.

“The location was perfect,” Phil said. “We were out of the howling wind and in an inviting spot for ducks.”

The first ducks started dropping in before legal shooting hours, verifying they’d been placed in a prime location.

“When legal shooting hours began, the birds were still flying,” Phil said. “After the initial shots I was no longer a shooter but an ammo loader for my son. The birds flew for about 45 minutes and we ended up with close to our limit.”

The father and son duo harvested blue-winged teal, green-winged teal and gadwall that they took home and pan fried in a wine reduction.

“The field trial area youth hunt is the best waterfowl hunt John has been on so far and he is hooked,” Phil said. “It was a wonderful experience that deepened his passion for hunting.”

To register for a hunt, visit https://publichunts.dcnr.alabama.gov/Public/AvailableHunts during the registration period listed above.

Registration for the FWFTA youth hunts is only available to parents or adults who are at least 21 years old and have a Conservation ID number. A hunting license is not required at the time of registration. However, if selected during the random draw, you must have a valid hunting license to accept the hunt permit. If selected for a hunt, you will receive an email requesting that you validate/accept the permit. Once the permit is accepted, you will receive an email with the hunt details.

To participate in the youth hunts, youth hunters must be age 15 or younger and accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old (or a parent). Adults must have a valid state hunting license and applicable duck stamp, if duck hunting. Hunters must obtain their license and duck stamp (if duck hunting) before the hunt since they will not be available on-site. Licenses are available for purchase at various retailers throughout the state or online at www.outdooralabama.com.

All deer harvested during the FWFTA youth hunts must be reported via Alabama’s Game Check system. Hunters have 48 hours to Game Check their harvest through the Outdoor AL mobile app or online at www.outdooralabama.com.

In addition to being required when registering for the FWFTA youth hunts, a Conservation ID number is the fastest and easiest way to report a deer or turkey harvest. This number is unique to each hunter and can also be used to purchase future licenses, obtain Harvest Information Program (HIP) permits, register for Special Opportunity Area hunts and more. For information about how to obtain a Conservation ID number, visit www.outdooralabama.com/hunting.

For more information about the hunt details or registration process, call Zachary Heard with the ADCNR State Lands Division at (334) 721-9796, or email Zachary.Heard@dcnr.alabama.gov.

The M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area consists of 4,300 acres in Hale County and is managed as a nature preserve and recreation area. In addition to developing a sporting dog test ground and a youth hunting program, the ADCNR State Lands Division is currently restoring the tract’s native prairie grasslands and managing its numerous ponds for public fishing events.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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