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Monday, April 22, 2013

White-Tailed Deer Management Zones

Research indicates the prior 4-point law allowed the harvest of better quality yearling bucks, while protecting older-aged spikes and 3-point bucks. The result has been a decrease in antler size within age classes of older bucks. The combination of the 4-point law, high hunting pressure, and lower reproduction results in the over-harvest of bucks and a decrease in antler size. To prevent these problems, yearling bucks must be allowed to reach older age classes.

These current antler criteria will protect almost 100% of the 1½ year old bucks. This protection will prevent over-harvest of bucks and will improve antler size as bucks get older. These protected bucks will improve skewed buck:doe ratios, resulting in higher reproduction. Zone lines are based on soil regions using highways and interstates as dividing boundaries.

Hill Zone

Private and open public lands east of I-55 and north of I-20 plus areas south of I-20 and east of U.S. Highway 61, excluding areas south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of MS Highway 35.

Southeast Zone
Private and open public lands south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of MS Highway 35.

Delta Zone
Private and open public lands west of I-55 and north of I-20 plus areas south of I-20 and west of U.S. Highway 61.

Bag Limits
Antlered Buck Deer: The bag limit on antlered buck deer is one (1) buck per day, not to exceed three (3) per license year. Legal bucks must meet the antler criteria within the appropriate deer management zone. For youth hunters fifteen (15) years of age and younger, hunting on private land and authorized state and federal lands, all three (3) of the three (3) buck bag limit may be any antlered deer. Antlerless Deer: The bag limit on antlerless deer is one (1) per day, not to exceed five (5) per license year. Spotted fawns are not to be killed or molested at any time.

Spotted fawns are not to be killed or molested at any time.
 


LEGAL BUCKS

Hill and Southeast Zones
A legal buck is defined as having either a minimum inside spread of 10 inches or one main beam at least 13 inches long.


 Delta Zone
A legal buck is defined as having either a minimum inside spread of 12 inches or one main beam at least 15 inches long.





Special Deer Hunts
The Commission finds there is a surplus deer population in the State of Mississippi. Special primitive weapons and archery deer hunts are established pursuant to the authority granted the Commission in Sections 49-7-37(2), (3), & (4), Mississippi Code of 1972. All archery and primitive weapons hunters must wear hunter orange while these special hunts are in effect.

Special Primitive Weapons Hunt
This season is for Antlerless Deer Only on private lands and open public lands. Legal weapons are primitive weapons and crossbows. This hunt is not on MDWFP Wildlife Management Areas.

Special Archery Hunt
These hunts allow archery hunters the ability to legally use archery equipment during gun and primitive weapons seasons. For years, the MDWFP had the impression that it could allow the use of a “lesser weapon” like bow and arrow and/or primitive weapons during the regular gun seasons. An Attorney General’s opinion was issued in June 2010 that stated the Commission does not have the authority to allow the use of bow and arrows during any other deer hunting season, such as primitive weapons or regular gun season. However, the Commission does have the authority to have Special Hunts which gives archery hunters the ability to hunt during the gun seasons.

Legal Weapons
Archery: Longbows, recurves, and compound bows. There is no minimum or maximum draw weight. There is no minimum arrow length. Fixed or mechanical broadheads may be used.

Primitive Weapons
Weapons legal for use during the Primitive Weapons season are crossbows, by Special or General Permit, and primitive firearms. “Primitive firearms,” for the purpose of hunting deer, are defined as single or double barreled muzzle-loading rifles of at least .38 caliber; OR single shot, breech loading, metallic cartridge rifles (.35 caliber or larger) and replicas, reproductions, or reintroductions of those type rifles with an exposed hammer; OR single or double- barreled muzzle-loading shotguns, with single ball or slug. All muzzle-loading primitive firearms must use black powder or a black powder substitute with percussion caps, #209 shotgun primers, or flintlock ignition.

“Blackpowder substitute” is defined as a substance designed, manufactured, and specifically intended to be used as a propellant in muzzleloading or other black powder firearms, excluding modern smokeless powder. Metallic cartridges may be loaded with either black powder or modern smokeless powder (cartridges purchased at sporting goods stores).

Telescopic sights are allowed while hunting with any primitive firearm during the primitive weapon seasons.

Gun
There are no caliber or magazine capacity restrictions on firearms. Crossbows, by Special or General Permit, and primitive firearms may be used during Gun seasons.

Hunter Orange
When hunting deer during any primitive weapon or gun season on deer, all deer hunters must wear in full view at least five hundred (500) square inches of solid unbroken fluorescent orange. Note: Mesh-style or orange-camouflage is not considered unbroken and does not count toward the five hundred (500) square inch minimum. This requirement shall not apply to a hunter while the hunter is in a fully enclosed deer stand.

Federal Lands–Youth Hunts and Antlerless Harvest
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands which designate the youth deer season in their regulations and open U.S. Forest Service National Forest lands are authorized to provide youth hunting opportunities.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Army managed lands are authorized to harvest antlerless deer on days designated by Federal Regulations. Contact local National Wildlife Refuge, Corps of Engineers, or U.S. Army for details.

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