Thanks to a change in the process the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service uses in establishing migratory bird seasons, Mississippi officials were able to propose the 2016-17 dove and waterfowl seasons at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Wildlife, Fisheries and Park Commission.
“This new selection process uses the previous year’s breeding population and breeding habitat data to provide frameworks for hunting seasons,” said Houston Havens, the waterfowl program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “This allows states to select migratory bird seasons when other hunting seasons are set, and to publish those seasons earlier in the year. Waterfowl breeding populations in 2015 were high, which will again result in a liberal season framework of 60 days with a six-duck daily bag limit.”
On Wednesday, the Commission approved the following early and late migratory bird seasons:
Dove: The agency will retain the North and South Zone structure, with 90 days total and a 15-bird daily limit in each zone. The North Zone dates are Sept. 3-Oct. 9; Oct. 22-Nov. 6 and Dec. 10-Jan. 15. Dates for the South Zone (South of U.S. Highway 84 and east of Mississippi Highway 35) are Sept. 3-11; Oct. 8-Nov. 13; and Dec. 3-Jan. 15.
Early Canada goose: Sept. 1-Sept. 30, which represents a 15-day increase. The daily limit remains 5.
Teal: Sept. 10-Sept. 25, with a daily limit of six.
Duck, merganser and coots: Nov. 25-27; Dec. 2-4; Dec. 7-Jan. 29. The daily bag limit for ducks will be a total of six, including no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be females), three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails, two canvasbacks, one mottled duck, and one black duck. The daily limit on mergansers is five, only two of which can be hooded. The daily limit on coots is 15.
Youth duck: Nov. 19 and Feb. 4. Regular limits apply.
Geese: Late-season Canada, snow, blue, Ross’, white-fronted, and brant seasons will have three season segments — Nov. 12- Nov. 27; Dec. 15-Jan. 29; and Feb. 4-Feb. 15. Late-season Canada geese will have a three-bird daily bag limit and brant will have a daily bag limit of one bird. Snow, blue, and Ross’ geese will have a daily bag limit of 20 birds. White-fronted geese will have a daily bag limit of three birds.
Light goose Conservation order: There will again be a conservation order on snow, blue, and Ross’ geese during the following dates: Oct. 1-Nov. 11; Feb. 16-March 31. There is no limit.
Rails, moorhens and gallinules: Sept. 3-Nov. 11. The daily bag limit for moorhens and gallinules is 15 singly or in aggregate. The daily bag limit for king rails and clapper rails is 15 singly or in aggregate. The daily bag limit for Virginia rails and soras is 25 singly or in aggregate.
Snipe: Nov. 14-Feb. 28, with a daily bag limit of eight.
Woodcock: Dec. 18-Jan. 31. The daily bag limit is three, with a possession limit of nine woodcock.
All migratory birds have a possession limit of three times the daily limit, with the exception of light geese (snows, blue and Ross’), which has no possession limit.