Changes to the system by which hunters are selected for lottery duck hunts on wildlife management areas have been implemented to try and increase participation, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks announced.

"Since waterfowl draw hunts began in 2002, we have noticed a trend that hunters who were drawn prior to the season were not showing up to fill their hunting permit," MWDFP Wildlife Bureau Director Ed Penny said. "As a result, some aspects of the draw system were changed to increase the number of drawn hunters and to increase the number of reservation holders that participate in their permitted hunt."

The changes that will be in place for the 2011-12 waterfowl hunting season are:

• Applications for waterfowl draw hunts are only available online at
• Each WMA with waterfowl draw hunts will have five separate draw periods throughout the hunting season. The first draw period covering the first two weeks of the season opened Oct. 1 and closes Nov. 6. There will be approximately two weeks from the closing date of an application period until the first hunt day included in that period.
• There is $5 non-refundable application fee for each draw period, although only the person listed on the draw application will be charged the fee. 
• Hunters are no longer limited to applying for only three WMAs.
• All permitted hunts will be for one day.
• Stand-by hunting opportunities still will be available on WMAs that have allowed them in the past. Hunters choosing to show up on stand-by will not be charged the application fee.