A sure sign that hunting season is approaching is when the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks begins its application process for limited “draw-type” hunting opportunities around the state. That process began Monday (Aug. 6) for the Private Lands Dove Field Program, and started Aug. 1 for deer, early teal and rabbit hunts at certain MDWFP wildlife management areas (WMAs).

The dove program offers wing-shooting opportunities at six fields, five in the North Zone and one in the South Zone. The fields are privately owned, and basically leased to the agency to offer dove hunting to the public. The season opens Sept. 1. The program is open during the first and second season splits only in both zones, with hunting beginning at noon on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

In the North Zone, fields are located in Alcorn, Kemper, Lincoln, Madison and Tate Counties. The South Zone field is in Jones County.

Available stands and costs vary by location.

“We have three options for membership again this year,” said Scott Baker, the program coordinator for the MDWFP. “We will have the individual field permits, and we have two club-like memberships, where you can hunt any of the fields. We have the Dove Club Permit with opening weekend privileges for $200 and the Dove Club Permit without opening weekend privileges for $150.”

For the opening weekend only, hunters must select a stand when permit is purchased and they must hunt from that one stand. After the first weekend, hunters can hunt any stand available upon arrival.

All fields are planted and managed under tight scrutiny of the MDWFP. A description of each field, with a map of the stands and parking areas, is available at the agency’s mdwfp.com website. Permits must be purchased through the website with a credit card. The sale will continue until all stands are taken.

Adult members may be accompanied by two youths (15 and under) who must share the single stand site, but only two shooters are allowed to participate from any single stand.

Permitted early season teal hunts will be available at Howard Miller and Muscadine Farms WMAs, and permitted rabbit hunts will be available at Nanih Waiya WMA.

Permitted deer hunts are available at Natchez State Park, Black Prairie, Charles Ray Nix, Hell Creek, Mahannah, Sardis Waterfowl, Sky Lake, Twin Oaks, Trim Cane and Yockanookany WMAs. Youth and handicapped hunting opportunities are available at Sardis Waterfowl and Trim Cane WMAs. Applicants for youth deer hunts at Sardis Waterfowl WMA must be 15 years of age or younger. Applicants for deer hunts at Trim Cane WMA must have a physical condition which makes them fully dependent on a wheelchair for mobility or be 15 years of age or younger.

Applicants for all hunts must apply online at mdwfp.com before Aug. 31. There is a $5 charge for each permit application.