Mississippi’s 2014-15 dove season structure, which includes both good and bad news, received final confirmation from the state’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Hunters will get a bonus 20 days of shooting, mostly in the second and third segments of the season, but will have to forfeit two-thirds of the traditional Labor Day weekend opening — Labor Day Monday is Sept. 1, which is the first day federal frameworks allow dove hunting.
“That’s not ideal, but losing that first Saturday and Sunday means less to me than getting more days on the back end, at least that’s more important to me and my friends — we are what you would call dove fanatics,” said Gene Davidson of Grenada. “We are dove hunters, first and foremost, not deer hunters who only dove hunt in September because deer season isn’t open. We hunt dove from opening day through to January, and actually prefer the late seasons.”
The big losers, if there are any, are the casual dove hunters — a.k.a. the dove hunters that utilizes only the opening weekend, which is estimated to be about 90 percent of dove hunters — and South Mississippi hunters. The South Zone season will skip the entire Labor Day weekend and open Sept. 13.
“I’d probably be upset if it wasn’t for Labor Day being on Sept. 1,” said Billy Langford of Hattiesburg. “Since the season can’t open until Sept. 1 by rule, and Labor Day being on Monday the first, then there is no Labor Day dove weekend per se. And once that’s out, then why not wait two weeks and open later in September and give us more days in the second and third seasons.”
Under the federal guidelines, the season can open no earlier than Sept. 1 and end no later than Jan. 15, and states can choose up to two zones and have as many as three season segments.
Mississippi’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks kept the North and South Zone system, with the South comprised of the areas south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of Mississippi Highway 35.
North Zone: Sept. 1-Sept. 21; Oct. 4-Nov. 9; and, Dec. 15-Jan. 15.
South Zone: Sept. 13-Sept. 21; Oct. 4-Nov. 9; and, Dec. 3-Jan. 15.
Limit: 15 dove per day, per hunter. Possession limit: 45.