A Way of Life in the USA

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Mississippi Deer Hunting Season

  • May 23, 2013 /

The Mississippi deer hunting season is anticipated by sports enthusiasts as much as in any other state. Of course there is the added bonus that Mississippi is a warm and still underdeveloped state. There is plenty of open woods and field in which to find good deer populations. Any longtime resident knows that the terrain is highly diverse and offers plenty of opportunities. Mississippi is heaven to specialized hunters.

A sophisticated management scheme is in place to preserve the population and also to make room for different hunting methods. The overall season ranges from the start of October to the end of January. Because Mississippi is a warm state, there is no winter and deer are harvested much later in the season than what is typically true for more northern states.

Mississippi is divided into three deer management zones. The dates are very similar but differ slightly. Zone 2 is in the southernmost part of the state, and the rules reflect the lower latitude. The archery season is limited from the middle of October to mid November. In the other two zones archery is permitted the first of October. Also unique to Zone 2 is an extended season for archery and primitive weapons. Bucks can be taken up to the middle of February.

Zone 3 has identical seasons to Zone 2, but Zone 3 has stricter rules when harvesting bucks. For the rest of Mississippi, a legal buck has antlers that are at least 10 inches inside spread and 13 inches main beam height. Zone 3 requires the inside spread to be at least 12 inches wide and beam height to be 15 inches. This distinction is a conservation effort which reflects the larger ear size of western deer.

The inside spread is measured by comparing the ears to the width of the antler when the ears are in the alert position. The span of an adult buck’s ears will be about 15 inches. If the antlers are as wide then the inside measurement will be about 12 inches.

The main beam is measured by looking at the deer head from the side and comparing the length from the middle of the nose to the height of the middle prong. The most forward prong will extend to between the tip of the nose and the eye. This measurement helps to identify an adult.

The youth gun hunting season extends between November and late December in all zones, although people under 15 can participate in the extended buck season in zone 2. Note the youth season begins earlier than the general gun season to allow for camps and protected training.

Hunting with dogs is allowed between mid November to the first of December in all zones. A quiet period between the next firearm season allows for crossbows and primitive hunting. Dogs are prohibited for the next firearm season, which is takes place in mid December and typically at the same time in all zones. Dogs are then allowed again for a season in the first half of January.

Crossbows are allowed for the entire period between November and up to the last of January. More specialized forms of archery have a shorter season and primitive weapon seasons do not coincide with any firearm season. This gives specialized hunters the chance to work in relative safety and also to not have their quarry scared by gunfire.