Dove Season Opens in Mississippi
Dove hunting season will open on September 1 in the North Zone and September 13 in the South Zone. The North Dove Zone is defined as areas north of U.S. Hwy. 84 plus areas south of U.S. Hwy. 84 and west of MS Hwy. 35. The South Dove Zone is defined as areas south of U.S. Hwy. 84 and east of MS Hwy. 35.
For private lands on opening day in both zones, shooting hours will start 30 minutes before sunrise. If you are hunting the dove fields on Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Wildlife Management Areas, they will have various shooting times depending on the specific area’s regulations. Fields operated under the MDWFP Private Land Dove Field Program will have a shooting start time of 12 p.m. Legal shooting hours for all migratory game birds end at sunset.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse especially when it comes to migratory birds. All of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks conservation officers will be working with federal officers during Mississippi’s dove seasons to ensure hunters are in compliance with state and federal hunting laws.
Before hitting the field this season hunter’s need to be sure they are legal. Being sure their hunting license is current for the 2014-15 hunting season is the first item of business. Hunting licenses should be complete with Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification. HIP certification is required for hunting all migratory game birds and is required for each state hunted. HIP certification is completed when purchasing a license. Simply put, hunters are asked questions about their migratory game bird harvest from the previous hunting season and are recorded for research.
The most frequent citation written in Mississippi on average has been no hunting license. This violation has a direct impact on conservation due to the loss of Federal Aid dollars to the state. Less license sales equates to less monies coming to the state to manage wildlife. Hunters should also be sure their shotguns are not capable of holding more than three shells. Shoving a stick or pencil in your receiver while watching the officer walk towards you is not something that can be done discreetly, not to mention will get a citation. Last but certainly not least, all hunters should be aware of how their hunting field was prepared. Hunting over a baited field is not a citation that can be waived or someone can talk their way out of.
Hunters are encouraged to have a safe and enjoyable hunt. The total bag limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 15 per day with no more than 45 in possession. On opening day, the possession limit is the same as the daily bag limit.
For more information regarding doves in Mississippi got to www.mdwfp.com/dove or call (601) 432-2199.
By Mark Wallace