ANNOTATED: Oconee County Sheriff Alerts Residents As Dove Season Approaches

ANNOTATION INSTRUCTIONS: When you see a light red highlight, click on the small comment box to the right to read the reporter’s annotation.

OCONEE COUNTY, GA — While the Athens community cheers on the Dawgs for the first game of the 2018 football season, other residents will participate in opening day of dove hunting season.

Jacob Nash, who oversees the South Fork Hunting Preserve in Madison County, says his crew is preparing to host 150 shooters from all over Georgia and surrounding states.

“Right now they’re haying the property and they’ve already laid the seed down. So they’re coming in now and raking everything up, and then bailing it right after that,” Nash says. “What that does is it cuts the grass and everything down all the way to the ground so the [doves] can easily come in and eat all that seed that the plants have on them.”

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is preparing in its own way.

The sheriff told Grady Newsource reporter Caroline Elliott his office experiences an influx of calls about gunshots this time of year.

“Opening day always generates a lot of calls,” Sheriff Scott Berry says. “Of course we try to respond to those calls, but if people know what they’re experiencing, what they’re hearing isn’t criminal activity, we’re hoping that will lessen the amount of calls we get.”

The Sheriff’s Office also shared a statement on Facebook, warning the public of “the sound of legal gunfire ripping through the air”, encouraging the community to not report gunfire if they hear it.

Nash says neighbors surrounding the range are used to the sound of gunfire.

“Around here, especially opening day of dove season, people know there’s gonna be shots fired,” Nash says. “You hear gunshots going off all over the county, and people see that as normal, they know what’s going on.”

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  • Grady Newsource

    other residents will participate in opening day of dove hunting seasonCaroline Elliott: “We were talking about our [Newsource’s] audience versus our target audience, and I started to think of different ways to reach different demographics that we weren’t reaching. We were doing poor with male traffic, so I tried to think about what men care about.”

  • Grady Newsource

    The Sheriff’s Office also shared a statement on Facebook,Caroline Elliott: “As a reporter, I check the social media of the sheriffs offices, police departments, local government agencies, emergency management pages, and I’ve literally joined different Facebook groups. Hyper-local Facebook groups and pages you can give you a lot of information from your community.”

  • Grady Newsource

    South Fork Hunting Preserve in Madison CountyCaroline Elliott: “I more so did research on hunting season and how many people in Georgia participate in hunting season, the rules and regulations that go into it. And also what areas around Athens do people hunt; I found the Madison hunting preserve through that research.”

  • Grady Newsource

    people know there’s gonna be shots firedCaroline Elliott: “If you want to reach a different demographic or if you want to target a certain demographic, if you have to think outside of the box and try to think like them … as a female from the city, hunting is something that’s not really on my radar. But, if you want to reach that target audience, you need to anticipate the way others think.”

  • Grady Newsource

    ANNOTATION INSTRUCTIONS: When you see a light red highlight, click on the small comment box to the right to read the reporter’s annotation.

    OCONEE COUNTY, GA — While the Athens community cheers on the Dawgs for the first game of the 2018 football season, other residents will participate in opening day of dove hunting season.

    Jacob Nash, who oversees the South Fork Hunting Preserve in Madison County, says his crew is preparing to host 150 shooters from all over Georgia and surrounding states.

    “Right now they’re haying the property and they’ve already laid the seed down. So they’re coming in now and raking everything up, and then bailing it right after that,” Nash says. “What that does is it cuts the grass and everything down all the way to the ground so the [doves] can easily come in and eat all that seed that the plants have on them.”

    The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is preparing in its own way.

    The sheriff told Grady Newsource reporter Caroline Elliott his office experiences an influx of calls about gunshots this time of year.

    “Opening day always generates a lot of calls,” Sheriff Scott Berry says. “Of course we try to respond to those calls, but if people know what they’re experiencing, what they’re hearing isn’t criminal activity, we’re hoping that will lessen the amount of calls we get.”

    The Sheriff’s Office also shared a statement on Facebook, warning the public of “the sound of legal gunfire ripping through the air”, encouraging the community to not report gunfire if they hear it.

    Nash says neighbors surrounding the range are used to the sound of gunfire.

    “Around here, especially opening day of dove season, people know there’s gonna be shots fired,” Nash says. “You hear gunshots going off all over the county, and people see that as normal, they know what’s going on.”

    Caroline Elliott: “One challenge that I really kept in my mind the entire time, one of the things that I let lead me as a reporter, is bizarre behavior. At first glance, it is bizarre that a sheriff’s office would tell people not to report gunfire.”

    “At the same time, I want to be fair in my coverage. I anticipated that some people would find that bizarre, but I actually could not find anyone [to interview who said that directly]. So even people you don’t talk to, you still want to be mindful of how they might receive the coverage.”

  • Grady Newsource

    “Opening day always generates a lot of calls,”Caroline Elliott: “One challenge that I really kept in my mind the entire time, one of the things that I let lead me as a reporter, is bizarre behavior. At first glance, it is bizarre that a sheriff’s office would tell people not to report gunfire.”

    At the same time, I want to be fair in my coverage. I anticipated that some people would find that bizarre, but I actually could not find anyone [to interview who said that in the one-day turnaround deadline]. So, even people you don’t talk to, you still want to be mindful of how they might receive the coverage.”

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