Column: Hunters be prepared, educated
Published 8:55 pm Friday, August 13, 2021
This Sunday marks exactly 17 days until Canadian Geese season opens up on Sept. 1 and 20 days until dove season opens up on Sept. 4 if you are hunting in the state of Mississippi.
Once those seasons open up it is only a matter of time until archery season opens for deer on Oct. 1. Just like in athletics, hunting requires a level of preparation. Education and preparation are things a hunter needs before embarking on their outdoor endeavours.
Now is a good time to brush up on hunting regulations, especially those who hunt on public lands such as Wildlife Management areas in Sandy Creek, Caston Creek or Natchez State Park, or St. Catherine’s Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
It is federal law that all hunters targeting migratory birds must use shotguns restricted to three shells, one in the chamber and two in the magazine. If you have a pump action or a semi-automatic shotgun this can be taken care of by purchasing a plug for your shotgun. Some old timers use pencils or pocket knife whittled sticks to serve the same purpose.
Plugging a shotgun is simple.
- Make sure your firearm is unloaded.
- Remove the cap to the shotgun’s magazine tube.
- Remove the spring from the magazine tube.
- Place your plug in the tube.
- Place the spring back in the tube.
- Screw the cap back on the magazine tube
- Hunt legally.
If a hunter chooses to make their own plug, they should make it to the length needed to limit their gun’s magazine capacity to two shells. Right now is the best time to make sure your shotgun’s magazine can only hold two shells, rather than the officers from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks or US Fish and Wildlife Service finding it can hold more.
When hunting migratory birds, hunters must use non-toxic shot. Some public lands also have a limit on how many shot shells you can carry on you. St. Catherine’s Creek limits it to 25 shells.
Be prepared, be educated and hunt safely this fall.