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Dove Hunting Safety

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August 5, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about dove hunting safety. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. John Long, Mississippi State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist. So John, when exactly does dove hunting season begin?

Dr. John Long: That's right Amy. It's just around the corner. I know people are really getting excited about that. It will begin this year on September the 1st.

Amy Myers: That's exactly right. Now, what should we remember to do in preparation for the upcoming season?

Dr. John Long: First and foremost, do an equipment checkup. The very first thing I would look to make sure that I had was eye and ear protection. Eye Protection can be anything from a good pair of shatterproof sunglasses or some actual shooting glasses, just to make sure that any type of eyewear that you use has a shatterproof lens. Make sure that your firearm is in good working condition and it is also plugged since doves are a migratory bird and they will only need to be capable of holding three shells. Shells need to be in good working order and make sure that they are in good condition before using them. A chair that is very stable is a great idea because you don't want a loaded gun and and rocking back and forth. Mosquito spray, as well as sunscreen. Definitely earplugs.

Amy Myers: Okay and have your license with you. And your hunter education course, make sure you've attended that.

Dr. John Long: Absolutely. Make sure that your license is current.

Amy Myers: Where do you go to see all the current rules and regulations?

Dr. John Long: Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Parks has a great website. It's You can get additional information there on the hunter education course if someone needs to take it. You can also pick up a copy of the Outdoor Digest at your local retail store.

Amy Myers: And you can Google Outdoor Digest on your internet search engine.

Dr. John Long: That's correct.

Amy Myers: What are some other things we need to be aware of?

Dr. John Long: Make sure that you're on a field that's legal. Ignorance of whether that field is baited or not is not an excuse. You need to make sure that it is a non-baited field for sure. Be aware of your target before shooting the gun. Make sure that you're aware of your gun muzzle at all times. Also, fiddling with the safety switch is not a good idea. You get out there and go to messing with your safety and then all of a sudden you've knocked it off and you don't realize it. Don't shoot at low birds. If you see a low bird, you shout out, "Low bird," and make sure that nobody else will attempt to do it as well.

Amy Myers: And that's a safety issue, right?

Dr. John Long: Absolutely. If you have a low bird coming through the field and your muzzle is below an angle that's safe, so you need to make sure... That goes back to that muzzle awareness. By you shouting that out, it indicates to other people that you're aware of it. And more times than not, people will begin to shout out, "Low bird. Low bird. Don't shoot. Don't shoot."

Amy Myers: What should we know about taking a young person into the field with us?

Dr. John Long: Dove season, in my opinion, is a great opportunity to take a young person and expose them to the outdoors. First of all, you need to be safe. I say you as in you the hunter needs to be safe because whatever they see you doing, they're going to replicate that. You need to make sure you and the young hunter stay hydrated. It's a great opportunity for you to teach ethics and good sportsmanship. So again, the burden falls on you to do that. Make sure that you keep it fun. There are a lot of other things going on besides hunting the birds. There's a lot of other things. You can talk about decoys. You can talk about... If you've got a spinner, let them decide on where that's placed in the field or talk to them about where a good place for that is.

Believe it or not, lots of insects crawling. I've had more questions on, "What is this bug?" then I have, "Oh great, good shot." Be aware that depending on the age of that young person, their level of patience or focus is going to be different than what yours will be. And if they're having fun, then they'll want to come back.

Amy Myers: Where can we go for more information about dove hunting or teaching young people about sports like this?

Dr. John Long: 4-H Shooting Sports Project is a great place to start. We teach gun safety. We teach archery safety, first and foremost from the get go. You are going to get the safety aspects, as well as youth development and life skills that that young person needs. So you can go to Again, for the hunting regulations, go to

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Dr. John Long, 4-H Youth Development Specialist. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Ctr 4-H Youth Development

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