Dove hunters in Mississippi’s Southeast Zone can resume hunting on Saturday (Oct. 8), but sportsmen in the rest of the state have only a few more days to hunt before they go idle for two weeks.
The long first season in the North Zone closes on Sunday (Oct. 9) and its second season is Oct. 22 to Nov. 6.
The second season in the South Zone closes Nov. 13.
The shorter second season in the North is due to its extremely long first season. The South Zone’s first season ended Sept. 11 after only nine days.
Both zones have 90 days total divided into three splits. The third season in the South will be Dec. 3-Jan. 15, while in the North it is Dec. 10-Jan. 15.
The limit is 15 daily, with a possession limit of 45.
“I am not expecting many limit hunts, at least not anywhere around my camp in Perry County,” said Tommy Adkinson of Hattiesburg. “We did the best we could with millet, corn and even sunflowers, but we just don’t have the amount of birds around, at least not yet.
“We’ve got a while to go so we might get more birds. The key will be shooting them this weekend and then backing off until more birds fly in.”
The North Zone has had a pretty good first season.
“We’ve had some good limit hunts the first couple of weeks,” said Phillip Holmes of Jackson. He hunts in a dove club in Humphreys County. “Then, it slowed down. I think what happened was that a lot of the farmers up there started harvesting corn and beans in the middle of September and that spreads the birds out.
“We went from having a concentration of birds around our well-manipulated fields, where we had planted sunflowers, millet, corn and wheat, to having some birds, and it happened so quick you’d think somebody flipped a switch.”
That could be a problem in the second season, too.
“Yeah, that happens nearly every year,” Holmes said. “They will stay spread over so much territory that getting a concentration of birds needed for a bang-bang hunt is impossible.
“But, then, we get that final season in December and January where the food is sparse and the birds will truly concentrate in big flocks over what little food remains. That’s some of the best hunting of the year for the biggest birds we see all year.”
Rabbit season opens Oct. 15
Holmes said his club will use the idle weekend between the North Zone seasons to rabbit hunt. Mississippi’s statewide rabbit season opens Oct. 15 and will continue through Feb. 28.
“If you have never hunted rabbits in the Delta on working farms, buddy you have missed out,” he said. “Nearly every field with a turn row, ditch or creek bank has rabbits. They live in those thick turn rows and the thickets along ditches and creeks, and most of them are hillbillies. There are some canecutters on the bigger creek banks, but hillbillies are our bread and butter.”
Southeast Zone archery
Archery hunters in the Southeast Zone can start chasing white-tailed deer on Oct. 15. The season is open to either-sex harvest on all private lands and on public lands were allowed.
The limit is one legal buck (either a 10-inch spread OR one 13-inch main beam) per day and one antlerless deer per day. The yearly limit, including all gun and archery deer seasons, is three legal bucks and three antlerless deer.
Archery hunting will be allowed in the Southeast Zone through Feb. 15, although only legal bucks are allowed Feb. 1-Feb. 15 for hunters aged 16 and above.