If early December is any indication, Mississippi waterfowlers are in for a great January season.

“One of the best starts of a duck season I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been hunting ducks in the Delta for over five decades,” said Tom Hardy of Southaven. “I hunt from Greenville north to the Tennessee line, and I can tell you that in all that area, this is the most ducks I’ve encountered in December that I can remember.

“That includes mallards and pintails, too. It wasn’t just green-wings and gadwalls and small ducks. I’m part of a four-man core group of duck hunters who hunt a mix of public and private land, and we limited out the first weekend in December and followed it up with full limits the second weekend, when it snowed so much in South Mississippi.”

Hardy said that the surprise southern snow might have passed over North Mississippi to blanket the Pine Belt region, but that it apparently had a significant impact on ducks.

“Usually, the ducks we get in early December are traveling through, and after a brief stop in the Delta, they head on down to the coastal marshes,” he said. “This year, I swear, I think that freak snow line from Baton Rouge over to Jackson, turned them around and brought them back.

“I just hope they hang around into January and are still here when the main body of the migration rolls. If that’s the case, and we have enough water in the Delta despite the drought conditions, we will be covered up with ducks. We can use some more heavy rain in mid December for sure.”¬†

Mississippi duck season

Regular season: Open through Jan. 28 statewide.

Youth season: Feb. 3, only youths age 15 and under may carry firearms but must be accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt adult, 21 years of age or older. The adult may call and participate in all of the hunting activity, except shooting.

Limit: Six ducks daily, including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be females), 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 3 scaup, 2 canvasbacks, 1 mottled duck, 2 black ducks, and 1 pintail.