It may just be May 1, but Mississippi sportsmen got some good news when the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved the 2018-19 early migratory bird seasons.
Dove hunter Gene Thompson of Grenada was ecstatic, thanks to new frameworks designed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
“We get to hunt through Jan. 31, are you kidding me?” Thompson said when told of the change. “You just don’t know how big that is for us true dove hunters in the Delta region. That’s big. Really big.”
This year, the feds pushed the back of the frameworks from Jan. 15 to the end of that month, which gives hunters in the Delta a longer window for migrating birds to arrive from the grain fields of the Midwest.
“That’s what I’m talking about, those big birds that come in late,” Thompson said. “Some years we get them in December and sometimes it’s not until early or mid January. But moving us back 16 days, we get a bigger window and that’s the best news I could hear.”
The season will start on the very first day available under the frameworks, Saturday, Sept. 1, in both the North and South zones.
In the North, the first season runs through Oct. 7 (37 days). The second season is Oct. 27-Nov. 7 (12 days), and then the long 41-day third season opens on Dec. 22 and ends on Jan. 31.
South Zone hunters will hunt Sept. 1-9 (9 days), Oct. 6-Nov. 7 (33 days), and Dec. 15-Jan. 31 (48 days).
“A lot of people overlook doves in South Mississippi, but we do get some good shooting, and this year we’ll get even more,” said Roger Wilson of Hattiesburg. “The 48-day season in December and January will give us a better opportunity to kill some serious numbers.”
The daily limit will be 15 with a possession limit of 45.
The Commission also set other early migratory bird seasons, and the news is good for the small group of goose hunters who make use of the early resident Canada goose season. Usually just a 15-day season, the federal frameworks now allow the entire month. Mississippi’s season will open Sept. 1 and close Sept. 30 statewide, with a daily limit of 5 and a possession limit of 15.
September’s teal season remains unchanged, both in length and limit. The 16-day season will be Sept. 15-30 with a daily limit of 6 and a possession limit of 18.
Woodcock: Dec. 18-Jan. 31; daily limit of 3, possession 9.
Snipe: Nov. 14-Feb. 28; daily limit of 8, possession limit 24.
Moorhens and gallinules: Sept 1-30, and Nov. 23-Jan. 1; daily limit 15 singly or in aggregate, possession limit 45.
Rails: Sept. 1-Sept 30, and Nov. 23-Jan. 1. Limits on clapper and king rails are 15 singly or in aggregate, and 45 in possession. Limits on sora and Virginia rails are 15 singly or in aggregate, and 45 in possession.