Try ‘other’ waterfowl

Mississippi hunters can take Canada geese during the early season the entire month of September.
Mississippi hunters can take Canada geese during the early season the entire month of September.

Waterfowlers have two seasons designed for them in September, including the mostly under-utilized early Canada goose season that opened on the first day of the month. Later, on Sept. 14, there’s the highly popular early teal season that allows hunters a shot at the early migrating and plentiful blue-winged teal.

“I love to teal hunt, and I do it as many times as I can during the short season, but I really enjoy a few days with the Canadas,” said Matt Hughes of Jackson. “I think a lot more people would enjoy it if they just gave it a shot, and it’s not like it’s rocket science. The birds, they are all lazy, resident geese and dumb. Their lineage is that of nuisance geese Mississippi stupidly took or traded to get from northern states that were happy to find somebody to take them.

“Barnett Reservoir is just one place where they are plentiful, and if you can’t get a limit of five of them, you just aren’t trying. Just act like you’re fishing, and they’ll swim or fly right by your boat. I try to make it harder than that, but it’s really hard to make it harder. They will come to a call, so we try to get hidden in grass and wait until we see some and call them in.”

Early Canada goose season

Hughes said he started hunting early season Canada geese when he was fishing with his father while in high school.

“They started having the season while I was in school, and Dad was a big bass fisherman,” Hughes said. “I went with him, and there were all these geese. I always joked about how easy it would be to kill them, and then they opened a season. We’d go fishing, and I’d take a shotgun with steel shot and shoot them when they came by. We had to be careful and not have a motor operating when I’d shoot.”

In those days, the season was 15 days long; now, it’s the entire month.

“The second half of the month is more difficult, because once you start shooting at them, they are smart enough to go to areas where we can’t shoot,” said Ray Hudson of Madison, Graham’s hunting partner. “They don’t go far, because they just start sticking close to the roads, parks and the residential areas of the reservoir. You know, those people are sick and tired of those geese pooping in their yards, on their boats and on their piers.

“But we don’t really care about the last two weeks, because every chance we get, we go teal hunting in the Delta, or even up on Barnett Reservoir. This year ought to be great on Barnett because the water has been kept low all year while they fight vegetation (giant salvinia). That has created outstanding teal habitat: shallow, mud flats. Hope so, anyway.”

Seasons on rails and gallinule are also open in September, which Hudson likes.

“We never really thought about it until the last few years, but there’s a bunch of purple gallinules in the areas of Barnett and Grenada that we hunt,” Hudson said. “I heard they were good to eat, so we started shooting them the last few years. They are really good to eat, especially in a gumbo. Wish we’d known years ago.”

September waterfowl seasons

  • Canada goose: Sept. 1-Sept 30. Limit is five daily, 15 possession.
  • Teal: Sept. 14-Sept. 29. Limit is six daily, 18 possession.
  • Moorhens and gallinules: Sept 1-30; daily limit 15 singly or in aggregate, possession limit 45.
  • Rails: Sept. 1-Sept 30; 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.

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.