Staying legal for dove season

Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

Mississippi’s fall hunting season kicks off on Sept. 1 with Canada Geese season and dove season on Sept. 3. With just a month away here are a few things you can do in the final month to prepare for the upcoming season.

First if you have not planted a field to hunt over you could still plant brown top millet. According to the MSU Extension Service, millet typically reaches maturity and produces seed after 45 days. It may be too late for the first week of hunting but will be available the first month of dove and geese season.

Hunters should be aware of some rules in regards to fields, baiting and seeds. Doves are a migratory bird species and there are specific regulations for hunting them in addition to waterfowl such as Canada geese.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Baiting is defined by federal law as the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain or other feed which could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to fly to, land on or fly over any area where hunters are attempting to take them. Any baited area is considered baited for 10 days after the complete removal of all grains, salt or other feed which is not the result of agricultural or food plot production.

There is no set distance for how close you can hunt to a baited area so it is best to tread carefully. According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, you can hunt doves over feed or grain which are distributed in the ordinary course of farming.

Harvest of fields with crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, milo and others are attractive to doves and provide food for them. Hunting over these fields is legal. It would be illegal to redistribute any grain or feed on this field after it has been harvested.

Food plots are also legal to hunt in and mature plants can be manipulated to attract doves. There may not be any additional distribution of grain or redistribution of grain once it is removed from the field.

Hunters may only hunt doves with a shotgun capable of holding three shells or fewer, including one in the chamber. This same rule applies when hunting geese and other migratory birds.