Doves, crows, rails, gallinules, moorhens and snipe are all legal at different times in November, and more Mississippians than ever are taking advantage of the opportunity. Well, at least some of those birds.
Mississippians love to dove hunt, and a lot of people will hunt them during the short time the season is open in early November. Having opened in October, the second part of the three-part dove season ends Nov. 7 in both the South and North Zones.
“How good the shooting is depends totally on the amount of food available after the corn and bean harvests,” said Ginny Townsend of Cleveland. “After the farmers take their corn and beans in September and October, so much grain is left on the ground that it really scatters the doves. It’s tough to concentrate them unless you’ve planned well and put out some late sunflowers. I don’t care how much corn and soybeans or anything else is on the ground, if you’ve got sunflowers that headed out late, you will have doves.”
Things will change in December and January when the third and final seasons open (Dec. 15 in the South Zone, and Dec. 22 in the North Zone).
“That scattered grain will pretty much be gone by then, or at least rotten, and that can concentrate the birds, including the migrators we get in the Delta from the upper Midwest,” Townsend said. “This year we’re excited that we can hunt through to Jan. 31; that’s 16 days later than we’ve ever been able to, and it means that we’ll have even more of the migrating doves. This ol’ girl will be hunting just about every day I can. My husband and sons start deer hunting and then duck hunting, but not me. I’m in a group of about 15 men and women, with some kids, that only hunts dove. Between us, we’ll have enough spots to hit so that we can find any concentrations and stay on them.”
Another popular target is the crow, a bird that grew in popularity in the 90s and never stopped. The season opens Nov. 3, and there’s no limit.
“If you haven’t tried it, you need to, and don’t wait until February like most people,” said Jimmy Vance of Brandon. “I’ve got a buddy in the pecan business, and he got me started hunting them back in 1992, and I’m hooked. I bet I’ve killed a couple of thousand of them in the last 25 years, and I’ve probably helped others kill twice that many.
“My pecan-growing friend has five different groves throughout Central and Southwest Mississippi, and he told me I’ve probably saved his business $25,000 to $30,000 over the years. That’s great. He keeps me in shelled pecans and let’s me have all the fun I want.”
Snipe season opens Nov. 14, but because they are found in duck holes and deer properties, the few snipe hunters in Mississippi wait until February after those seasons have closed. Snipe are legal through Feb. 28 with an eight-bird daily bag limit.
The seasons on gallinules, rails and moorhens, which were open the entire month of September, reopen on Nov. 23 and will be open through Jan. 1. None are very popular to shoot, except by camera.