Public dove clubs opening access to many

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

The first hunting opportunity experienced by most outdoor enthusiasts is becoming even more accessible, thanks to an effort by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Public dove club fields, leased and managed by the MDWFP, are available in Panola, Rankin, Madison, Kemper and Lincoln counties, and program officials are looking to expand statewide in coming years.
Officially termed the Private Lands Dove Field Program, the effort leases the hunting rights to select properties, then sells permits to hunters on a first-come, first-served basis. Permit prices start at $100 and range up to $200 each depending on the field and the level of membership selected. In all cases, these give the permit holder dove hunting access three afternoons per week through the first two dove seasons. The MDWFP’s administration of the program ensures safe, family-oriented hunting.
“We realized there was a shortage of dove field hunting opportunities for the public,” Scott Baker, MDWFP wildlife biologist, said.
Trial runs on this program began in 2004, and it’s been steadily on the grow since then. Currently, permits are offered in three pricing strata. One option is the individual field permit. Priced specific to each field, these cost between $100 and $120 dollars. They give the holder access to one field of their choice Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons each week for the first two seasons. Field stands are numbered and the purchaser has the option of selecting the stand of their choice, pending availability, at the time of purchase. That stand is theirs for opening day. After opening day, any permit holder can hunt from any unoccupied stand. The second option is the dove club without opening day access, for $150. This allows the hunter access to any of the state’s fields beginning after opening day and on the same day and season terms as the first.
The third option is the dove club with opening day access for $200. This gives the holder an opening day slot on the field of their choice, per availability, then access to all of the fields for the remainder of the first two seasons under the same day and time restrictions as the first two options.
For more information on buying a permit visit home.mdwfp.com.
kevin.tate@journalinc.com