Dove hunting seasons will open on September 3 statewide in Mississippi. For private lands on opening day, shooting hours will start 30 minutes before sunrise. Dove fields on Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Wildlife Management Areas may have various shooting times, depending on the specific area’s regulations. Fields operated under the MDWFP Private Land Dove Field Program will have a start time of 12 p.m. Shooting hours for all migratory game birds end at sunset.
Opening day of dove season is one of the most anticipated hunting days of the year, and is a great time for fun and fellowship with friends and family. Hunters should take serious notice of how the field was prepared before hunting. Hunting migratory birds with the aid of bait is illegal, and it is the hunter’s responsibility to know if the field is baited or not. A brochure on dove field preparation and hunting regulations can be found online at www.mdwfp.com/dove. Three questions hunters need to be able to answer regarding how the field was prepared before dove hunting are: Did I know the field was baited? Did I look to see if the field was baited? Did I ask how the field was prepared? The MDWFP’s primary objectives are to conserve and enhance the resource, to provide quality outdoor recreation, and to make sure everyone has a safe hunting experience.
All MDWFP conservation officers will be working with federal officers during Mississippi’s dove seasons to ensure hunters are in compliance with state and federal hunting laws. Before hunting migratory game birds, hunters need to be sure their hunting license is current for the 2016-2017 hunting seasons, complete with Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration, which is required for hunting all migratory game birds in each state hunted. HIP registration is completed when, upon purchasing a license, hunters are asked questions about their migratory game bird harvest from the previous hunting season. The most frequent citation written in Mississippi has been no hunting license. This violation has a direct impact on conservation due to the loss of Federal Aid dollars to the state. Hunters should be sure their shotguns are not capable of holding more than three shells. The total bag limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 15 per day with no more than 45 in possession. On opening day, the possession limit is the same as the daily bag limit.
For more information regarding doves in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/dove or call us at (601) 432-2199. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.