• Small Game

    Rabbit numbers really jumped in the 1980s and 1990s when their preferred habitat was on the increase across Mississippi.

    Writer’s choice: Rabbit sauce piquant

    According to the late, great Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme, “piquant to a Cajun means, literally, so hot it hurts like a sticker in your tongue.”

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Once Feb. 1 rolls around, rabbit hunters with a good pack of dogs are some of the most popular sportsman in the world. Deer season is over and invitations to rabbit hunt come in almost daily.

    Rabbit hunters take center stage

    February is also a great time to own a pack of rabbit dogs.

    February 08 at 7:00am
    A dying art, it might seem, squirrel hunting remains Mississippi’s top small game target.

    Bushytails best beware

    Mississippi’s No. 1 small-game animal remains the squirrel, although hunting pressure continues to plummet. The number of squirrel hunters in the state has dropped by half over the past 50 years.

    February 07 at 7:00am
    These hunters ran into hefty canecutters on an island off the upper Pearl River area of Barnett Reservoir.

    Canecutters and hillbillies

    “Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles, and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.”

    One would surmise that Jimmy Driftwood, who penned those lines in his song, Battle of New Orleans, which singer Johnny Horton took to No. 1 on Billboard charts in 1959, was a hunter.

    February 01 at 7:00am
    Hunters, old and young alike — Taylor Harris, Shannon McMullen and Parker McMullen try to locate a squirrel that’s been treed.

    Damp, cloudy and gray — perfect squirrel hunting day

    While any day spent squirrel hunting in January and February is better than one spent at work or at home, some are definitely better than others according to veteran hunters Joe Shumaker and Terry Fletcher.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Joe Shumaker gives young hunters safety instructions before a squirrel hunt with his dogs.

    A perfect start for young hunters

    After Joe Shumaker and Terry Fletcher buckled tracking collars on their dogs, Shumaker lined up the youngsters and gave them a short safety lesson. 

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Treed dogs focus their attention up the tree, barking loudly. The ruckus usually keeps the squirrel frozen in the tree until the hunters arrive.

    Good training makes for a good squirrel dog

    Squirrel dogs are made, not born according to. Joe Shumaker and Terry Fletcher.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Youth-oriented squirrel hunts will take place at Barnett Reservoir in February.

    New youth squirrel opportunity set

    Barnett Reservoir officials gave final approval in November to open lands below the dam, adjacent to the spillway, for youth-oriented squirrel hunts in February. It will be the first time that squirrels have been legally hunted in the area in more than 50 years.

    January 11 at 8:00am
    Joe Shumaker takes a squirrel from one his well-trained mountain cur dogs during a hunt. Using dogs in January and February turns squirrel hunting into a social event.<br />

    Dog day afternoon (or morning)

    Everything was gray.

    The woods were drab, leafless and gray. The bare tree trunks and limbs were gray. The dead leaves underfoot were gray. The sky was heavily overcast with uniformly gray clouds.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    A long season and liberal bag limits give Mississippi hunters a chance for days like this one.

    Squirrel and dumplings, easy and healthier

    I grew up — and anyone who knows me knows that I did so prodigiously — eating squirrel and dumplings every time I visited my grandmother’s house. Now Grandma was never one to worry about healthy eating; to her, it was all about taste, and to heck with the consequences.

    October 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    A tradition with roots in learning how to become one with the woods, Mississippi’s squirrel season opens Sept. 30 and is a popular October event.

    Squirrel away that knowledge

    Ask any Mississippian about his or her family tree, and it’s likely you’ll hear about a great hunter that stands out on one of the many limbs, like a fox squirrel’s red tail blowing on a cool fall morning.

    October 01, 2017 at 7:00am
    Scouting a few days prior to opening day can pay dividends.

    Early season essentials

    Hunting dove in early September can be brutally hot, especially when the Saturday opening time is high noon. During these late days of summer, when the latent heat of the dog days still lingers, you need to use caution and consider bringing the following:

    September 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    It's a good idea to take a day before the dove season starts and go scout and find out where the birds are.

    Mississippi Delta dove-tactics

    For generations upon generations as far back as the locals in little towns across the Deep South can remember, there has been a long-standing tradition of Labor Day weekend dove hunting. 

    September 01, 2017 at 7:00am
    Dove hunters, like former Ole Miss quarterback Tim Ellis — who led the Rebels to a win over national champion Notre Dame in 1977 — can enjoy some September shooting.

    More than just mourning doves

    Mississippi dove hunters could find as many as four different species in their range of fire this season, and one of them — Eurasian collared dove — are not managed with a bag limit since they are not native to North America. These are larger birds, more like pigeons than other doves, and usually lighter in color except for a black collar around the neck.

    August 31, 2017 at 4:00pm
    Mississippi dove hunters can begin shooting on Saturday, Sept. 2.

    September means hunting

    Never have so many been so happy to see September arrive, and that certainly includes Mississippi sportsmen.

    August 31, 2017 at 9:40am
    Successful dove hunts are usually the result of careful planning, hard work and fast shooting.

    Public dove hunts

    The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks recognizes the important tradition that dove hunting is to the state and works to provide public hunting areas through two different programs.

    August 15, 2017 at 7:00am