A longer wait for ducks

Due to a change in the late-season frameworks, Mississippi duck hunters will have to wait a little longer before they can hit the water.

Only two days in November are open in the regular duck season, Nov. 29-30, instead of recent years when hunters had two short weekend seasons, including the Thanksgiving holiday.

The change came when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service adjusted its rule about when the season must end. Previously, it was required to end on the Sunday before Jan. 31. Under the new frameworks, the season can run through Jan. 31 no matter how the calendar falls.

Under the old rules, the 2019-2020 season would have ended on Sunday, Jan. 26. Under the new rules it will end on Friday Jan. 31, and it comes at a cheap cost.

“Oh yeah, I’d trade a few November days for almost another full week of hunting in late January, even if it cost us hunting around Thanksgiving (which it does not),” said Riley Barnes of Southaven, an avid waterfowler who hunts throughout the northern tier Delta counties. “Heck, I’d trade December days for February days in a heartbeat — the later the better, because migration peaks the later in winter you go.”

Told that the weekend after Thanksgiving is still included in the 2019-2020 season, Barnes said: “Man, that’s absolutely the best situation we could have. A holiday weekend for the few early ducks we get, and then hunting to the end of January — perfect. I’ve already booked a week of vacation at work for the last week of January. I always said I would, and I am doing it.”

Mississippi’s duck first season opens on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, and will end on Sunday, Dec. 1. The rest of the season is a straight run from Friday, Dec. 6 through Jan. 31.

Coinciding with duck season are the seasons on both coot and mergansers.

Duck season/limits

Mississippi’s 2019-2020 duck season is statewide, in two splits.

  • First split: Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
  • Second split: Dec. 6-Jan. 31.
  • Youth, veterans and active military days: Nov. 16 and Feb. 8.

Bag limits

  • Ducks: Six ducks per day, including no more than four mallards (only two of which may be females), three wood ducks, two redheads, three scaup, two canvasbacks, one mottled duck, two black ducks, and one pintail.
  • Mergansers: Five per day, only two of which can be hooded.
  • Coots: 15 daily.

Possession: The possession limit on ducks, coots and mergansers is equal to three times the daily limit of each.

Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1222 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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