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Photograph by Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr. · www.southernfocus.com

Magazine


The Thing About Duck Season

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Duck season framework is established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Each state then establishes its own duck season within the framework provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The framework that our Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has been forced to work within dictates that the last day of duck season cannot be any later than the last Sunday of January. Some years, the last Sunday falls on January 25. Other years, the last Sunday falls on January 31st. This creates the potential for a 6-day discrepancy in the season ending date from year to year.

Over three years ago, Delta Wildlife Waterfowl Committee set policy that the Board of Directors has since ratified supporting a January 31st ending date for Duck Season in Mississippi. By setting this policy, the Delta Wildlife Officers and staff were given the authority to work tirelessly to ensure that the policy is met by whatever appropriate means are required. Delta Wildlife immediately began looking for advocates to help support its positon and the right approach to achieve it.

Advocates were not hard to find and MDWFP was among the biggest. As a member of the Mississippi Flyway Council, one of four flyway councils that advise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) annually before its sets the duck season framework, MDWFP was able to get all of the Mississippi Flyway states to recommend a January 31st season closure to the USFWS in lieu of the last Sunday of January. The Atlantic Flyway states unanimously concurred and made the same recommendation. But despite 31 state recommending the change, USFWS chose to keep the Sunday closing date.

After 2 consecutive years of the USFWS dismissing a request by 31 states, it was obvious that the only fix to this issue would be legislative. On May 23, 2018, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith filed her very first bill as a United States Senator with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to set January 31st as the ending date for the federal duck season framework. And she didn’t stop there. She also included a provision to allow youth, veterans and active members of the Armed Forces and National Guard of the United States to hunt ducks during the first weekend of February each year.

Delta Wildlife is grateful to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for championing this legislation for duck hunters and giving our veterans and military special consideration within the waterfowl sporting community.

Sincerely,
Randy Sewall

Randy Sewall is a resident of Moon Lake in Coahoma County and is a past-President of Delta Wildlife as well as Chairman of the Waterfowl and Wetlands Committee.