Hunt legal this Dove season

Published 7:42 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Labor Day weekend is traditionally the opening day of dove season in Mississippi and provides a great opportunity for group dove shoots. Whether you are a first time hunter or a seasoned veteran, there are a few things you should know before going afield Saturday morning. 

Doves are a migratory bird which means there are a few more regulations in place than most game species. You must plug your shotgun if it holds more than three shells including one shell in the chamber. It would be wise to test your shotgun before going afield to see if it holds three shells or less. 

Hunters are required to maintain custody of their birds at all times. The bag limit for doves is 15 a day and hunters can have 45 in their possession. Dove hunting is not legal when done over bait. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks does not have a set distance hunters can legally hunt from bait so tread carefully. 

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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.

Hunters are able to kill doves over fields manipulated during the regular course of farming or agricultural practices. It would be considered an illegally baited field if the grain or other crop was harvested and then redistributed to the field. 

Dove hunts are known to be laid back and relaxing. It is not wise to partake in the consumption of alcohol while hunting. Firearms and alcohol do not mix well and could lead to errors in judgment. 

Mississippi Public Service Commission has asked hunters in the past to refrain from shooting doves roosting on power and telecommunication wires.  

Shooting light is 30 minutes before sunrise for migratory birds.