Never have so many been so happy to see September arrive, and that certainly includes Mississippi sportsmen.
Forget football, with the arrival of the ninth month, hunters get:
* The opening of the special early Canada goose season on Sept. 1.
* The opening of dove season on Sept. 2.
* The opening of early teal season on Sept. 9.
* The opening of youth squirrel season on Sept. 23.
And, that’s not all.
* Because the month ends on a Saturday, all seasons that would have begun on Oct. 1 will begin on Sept. 30, and that includes the archery season on deer, the regular squirrel season, and the raccoon, bobcat and opossum season for food and sport.
Fishermen also love September because … well, because of the reasons listed above. A lot of fishermen hunt and when they go chase birds, small game and eventually deer, that’s less pressure on bass, crappie and even redfish or speckled trout.
Not all news is good with the arrival of September.
Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4) is the final day of two popular seasons, the public lands alligator hunting season and the recreational fishing season on red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of the attention is on dove season, which could have a shaky start with the passing of the remnants of Hurricane Harvey.
“Right now, we’ve got plenty of doves and plenty of food on the ground since we’ve knocked down the corn, millet and sunflowers we planted for them,” said Josh Terry of Grenada, who hunts his family’s farms in the Delta near Greenwood. “If we get a lot of rain, a lot of that food is going to lose viability and the doves will up and move on us. I’ve been scouting and I like the potential for a good weekend of hunting, but it could go away.
“Fortunately, we realized that it was a possibility that we could get some of Harvey up here and we saved a lot more standing crop that we normally do, and when it dries up we can get back in there and knock it down and still have a good season. Actually, now that I think about it, since the first season runs through to October (ends Oct. 8 in the North Zone), it’s probably a good thing we didn’t knock down as much as we usually do. Now we can save plenty for the second season (Oct. 21-Nov. 4).”
The dove season ends Sept. 10 in the smaller South Zone.
Harvey could help the teal season, which runs Sept. 9-24.
“Teal like having shallow mud flats, and this rain could create a lot of attractive habitat,” said John Thompson of Greenville. “A lot of people who can manipulate (pump) water always create habitat to attract a few birds, but it’s a lot better, even for them, if there is plentiful habitat throughout the Delta to hold more teal. That way, when we shoot them, we won’t necessarily chase them out of the Delta and have them continue their migration. They are more likely to just find another place nearby to rest and eat before continuing their travels.”