Mississippi Firearm Deer Season Almost Here

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Deer hunters have just two weeks to get everything in order for the statewide November 17 opening of gun season. An estimated 300,000 hunters will be hunting over the course of the first 14-day gun season, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Deer season will remain open in some form until January 31, 2008 in Zone one and February 15 in Zone 2.

Biologists with the department say this could be a banner year for hunters, particularly those hunting on the state's wildlife management areas. Mississippi currently manages 43 WMAs with deer hunting opportunity on 820,000 acres of land. An annual $15 permit fee allows individuals to hunt any WMA. Special restrictions apply in some cases and can be found at WMA check-in stations.

"Efforts were made in previous years to allow younger bucks to mature before being killed," said Chad Dacus, Deer Program Coordinator for the Department. "The antler criteria have resulted in more bucks reaching older age classes. Based on our most recent harvest data, this should be a very good year on most of our WMAs."

Dacus added that a better than average hard-mast crop across most of the state has deer herds spread out, since quality food is not difficult to find. Summer browse received adequate rain even though drought conditions appeared to persist statewide. The regulations have been changed on some areas to allow the harvest of antlerless deer during the entire gun season without dogs which follows the primitive weapons season. Be sure to check the WMA regulations for specific regulation s and season dates.

"The bottom line is very simple, we have plenty deer and better deer - it's just up to the hunters to get out and find them," said Dacus.

Deer hunters must have a valid Mississippi hunting license or proof of exemption when hunting. Licenses are available at hundreds of license agents state wide, or by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT.