Duck season will have two splits in 2024-25

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Dove opening day will be Sept. 1

By Hunter Cloud
Brookhaven Daily Leader

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks commissioners voted to accept the waterfowl program proposals for new season dates. The most significant changes are duck season will have two splits this year instead of three and the dove season will change. 

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Splits is the term used to describe the breaking up of the migratory bird seasons. Mississippi used three segments for the duck season last year to take advantage of weekends, holidays and to stay within federal season frameworks. 

Houston Havens, waterfowl program coordinator, said they used the same criteria this year, and due to Thanksgiving falling on Nov. 28, the 2024-25 duck season will have two splits. The first split is Nov. 28-Dec. 1 and the second split is Dec. 7-Jan. 31. 

Youth, veterans and active military will have a special duck hunting season Feb. 8-9. 

Havens requested the commission change the dove season opener for the North Mississippi zone. The North Mississippi dove zone is defined as areas north of U.S. 84, plus areas south of U.S. 84, but west of MS 35. The South Mississippi dove zone is defined as areas south of U.S. 84 and east of MS 35. 

Commissioners approved the north zone dates to be changed to Sept. 1-Sept 29, Oct. 12-Nov. 10, and Dec. 27-Jan. 26. Opening day of dove season will be on a Sunday. 

Havens reminded commissioners the zones would still be separate if they ever wanted to go back to different dates for the specific zones. 

Other hunting seasons dates are as follows:

  • The September Canada Goose season will open Sept. 1 and run until Sept. 30 as normal. Early Teal season will run from Sept. 14 to Sept. 29. 
  • Rails and Gallinules will open Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 and Nov. 22 to Dec. 31.
  • Snipe season will be open Nov. 14 to Feb. 28.
  • Woodcock season is from Dec. 18 to Jan. 31. 
  • Regular goose seasons will be Nov. 11 to Nov. 24, Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 to Jan. 31. Havens said the goose season has more days allowed under the federal law than duck season, and the department tries to overlap the goose dates first with duck season dates. 
  • Crow season, which is set by state statute, will run from Nov. 2 to Feb. 28. Light goose conservation order sets dates from October to March, which do not fall on waterfowl seasons. 
  • Light geese can be hunted from Oct. 1 to Nov. 10, Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, Dec. 2 to Dec. 6, Feb. 1 to Feb. 7 and Feb. 10 to March 31. 

Havens said all of the season dates were selected based on survey data collected in May. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service looks at breeding numbers and breeding habitat and produces a report each summer from the prairie pothole region. A majority of Mississippi’s ducks come from the prairie pothole region in central Canada, North Dakota and South Dakota.