Duck season returns to Mississippi

Wood ducks are a staple for hunters in eastern Mississippi until cold weather pushes other species down from the north.

A group of wood ducks suddenly filled the early morning sky as they dipped, darted and buzzed through the trees at breakneck speed. Just as quickly, they put down their landing gear and crashed into the water. In a split second they exploded off the water, trying to make a quick retreat.

“Boom, boom, boom!” Shotguns roared, and ducks dropped from the sky as a group of hunters opened up and sent out a volley that most didn’t escape. The action was fast and furious for Greg Tabb and his duck-hunting companions, but they made the most of it as it didn’t last long.

“We’re excited about another good duck season coming on this winter,”  Tabb said. “You need food for the ducks and cold weather to push them down here, and we’ve got the food planted and just need the cold weather.”

The second segment of Mississippi’s duck season doesn’t last too long, opening Dec. 3 and running through Dec. 5. The third season, however, is much longer, opening Dec. 9 and running through Jan. 31. The daily limit is six ducks.

Tabb hunts in the eastern part of the state in Lauderdale County, targeting ducks that come down the Mississippi flyway. He and his crew hunt beaver ponds, sloughs and creek bottoms, targeting wood ducks, mergansers and occasionally a few mallards. While they are not on the main flyway, they get a lot of shooting when the cold weather pushes ducks down.

“Ninety percent of our ducks are going to be wood ducks,” Tabb said. “Woodies will always come, but we need cold weather to drive the other ducks down here. We spend a lot of time planting beaver ponds and sloughs when they are dry, and then we close up some of the drainage pipes to give the ducks water to access the food.”

Tabb plants Japanese millet, Egyptian wheat and rice grains to help hold a few ducks and give them something to eat as they migrate.

Tabb enjoys the fast and furious duck hunting that he gets when the ducks are here, and after the hunt, he trains and works his German shorthaired pointers.

“I’m excited about the upcoming season and the possibilities we’ll have but I also like to work those dogs and see them retrieve and do what they love to do,”  Tabb said.

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About Michael O. Giles 372 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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