Mississippi’s dove hunters are being reminded that this weekend’s opening-day change in the 2014 season includes both a move to Sunday and a delay in legal shooting hours until 2 p.m.
The Sunday opener has three contributing factors:
* It is that odd year on the calendar when Sept. 1 falls on a Sunday, the second day of a three-day holiday weekend.
* It was the desire of the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to include Labor Day in the first dove season, and Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 2.
* The North America Migratory Bird Treaty does not allow any migratory bird seasons to open before Sept. 1.
The Commission had little choice but select a Sunday opening day, which is exactly what the five-man panel did.
In choosing the Sabbath, the commissioners decided that a delay until 2 p.m. was necessary.
“The only other option to include Labor Day would have been to open on Monday, and that really wasn’t an option,” commission chairman John Stanley of Corinth said. “Sunday would at least give us two of the three weekend days.”
After Sunday, the legal hours change back to 30 minutes prior to sunrise until sunset. Shotguns must be plugged, if necessary, to hold no more than three shells at any time.
The bag limit remains 15 dove per day, including both mourning and white-winged doves. Both are considered native game birds.
However, the Eurasian collared dove is not considered to be a native game bird, they are legal to shoot and do not count against the daily limit. The collared doves are noticeably different in flight, since they are much larger than both the mourning and white-winged doves. In hand, collared doves are easily recognized by the black ring around their necks.
The North Zone’s first season is open through Sept. 22 while the South Zone, that small southeastern part of the state that is bordered to the north by U.S. Highway 84 and to the west by Mississippi Highway 35, closes Sept. 9.
Goose season opens, too
Sunday is also the opening day for another migratory bird in Mississippi, the Canada goose.
The special 15-day early season on Canadas is designed to give hunters an opportunity to take some of the abundant resident geese. Only one area of the state is closed, Roebuck Lake in Leflore County.
The limit is five Canadas per day. All normal waterfowl regulations apply: federal and state waterfowl stamps, Mississippi hunting license, plugged shotguns and non-toxic shot.
The season ends Sept. 15.