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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

Free dove hunting classes will be offered in Williamsburg for first-time hunters.

The Missouri Department of Conservation will host a dove hunting clinic Aug. 31 for adults and youth ages 8-15 at the Prairie Fork Conservation Area. At the clinic, participants will learn the basics of dove biology and management, regulations, safety and ethics. They'll also get hands-on experience at shooting doves in flight.

"Dove hunting is fun for all ages and an exciting way to introduce new hunters to the outdoors," MDC wildlife biologist Ben Diekmann said.

Participants who attend the clinic Aug. 31 will then enjoy a dove hunt on opening morning of dove season Sunday, Sept. 1. Participants must attend the clinic in order to join the Sunday hunt.

Firearms are available for those who don't have their own, and ammunition will be provided for the wingshooting portion of the Saturday clinic. Participants must bring eye and hearing protection, per an MDC press release.

All youth must have completed hunter education certification or be accompanied by a licensed adult. Participating adults must have completed hunter education certification and be in possession of the proper hunting permits. Alternatively, they may have Apprentice Hunter Authorization, proper hunting permits and be accompanied by a hunter-education certified adult.

Participants must pre-register by Aug. 28 by contacting Diekmann at 573-254-3330 or Ben.Diekmann@mdc.mo.gov

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