Stay safe during hunting season

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hunting season is around the corner, which means hunter safety will become high priority.

When the first of August rolls around, most outdoors men and women begin pulling their hunting bows out and start shooting, clipping food plots, hanging stands, looking for good draw hunts and planning trips for the upcoming season. With all this action there is one thing that cannot be overlooked: a hunter safety certification.

Hunter Safety Education works since it’s the law. Since 1950, when formal hunter safety programs were introduced, the number of hunting and firearms-related accidents has declined dramatically nationwide. In Mississippi, we know that our hunter education efforts have reduced firearms accidents and saved lives.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The hunter education course includes 10 hours of instruction, including live shooting. To become certified in hunter education, students must be at least 10 years of age, must attend all classroom hours and pass a written exam.

All persons born after Jan. 1, 1972 are required to complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Mississippi hunting license.

Since July 1, 2000, anyone between the ages of 12 to 16 years must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved before hunting alone in this state. A child at least 12 but younger than 16 may hunt without having the certificate of hunter education if the child is in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 years of age when hunting. Even if your age doesn’t require you to have a hunter safety certificate in Mississippi, you will need it in any other state you plan to hunt.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks offer courses all over the state free of charge and they are also available online.

There are several courses in Pearl River and surrounding counties so be sure to visit  and register yourself or a qualified child.

Not only is deer season on the horizon, but dove season as well. Opening day of dove season has always been a great day to invite family and friends for a great meal and partake in some wing shooting fun.

Dove hunting is an important tradition to hunters across the Southeast, and particularly in Mississippi. The  Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks strives to provide a safe, high-quality dove hunting experience on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) across the state by planting crops like sunflowers and brown top millet. Some dove fields on WMAs have special regulations to encourage youth participation.

Wildlife management areas offering dove fields are Black Prairie, Canal Section, Copiah County, Divide Section, Hell Creek, Howard Miller, Indianola, Leroy Percy, Mahannah, Muscadine Farms, O’keefe, Tuscumbia, Yockanookany, Charles Ray Nix and Okatibee.

If you are looking for a great way to kick off hunting season go to and check out more about dove hunting on Mississippi’s WMAs and Private Field Program.

This year, take a friend and a child on their first dove hunt. As always, get outdoors and enjoy what God has given us.

By Mark Wallace.