Wildlife & Hunting
Treestand Accidents Reported During Archery Season Opener
JACKSON - Deer season officially opened this past weekend across the majority of Mississippi, ushering in fall’s favorite pastime for many hunters. During opening weekend however, Conservation Officers responded to many treestand-related incidents including three reported treestand-related accidents.
Rabbit Season Opens October 15
JACKSON – Mississippi’s 2016 – 2017 rabbit hunting season opens October 15, 2016 and closes February 28, 2017. The bag limit is 8 per day. Rabbit hunting is a fun and exciting way to spend time with family and friends. Rabbit hunters are encouraged to take youth hunting, but be sure to provide supervision on safe firearms handling and shooting.
Mississippi Deer Archery Seasons Open October 1 & 15
JACKSON –The opening of deer archery season is October 1 for the Hill and Delta Zones and October 15 for the Southeast Zone. Longbows, recurves, compound bows, and crossbows are all considered legal archery equipment and can be used during all hunting seasons for deer. There is no minimum or maximum draw weight, no minimum arrow length, and fixed or mechanical broadheads may be used.
Squirrel Season Opens October 1
JACKSON – The 2016 – 2017 Mississippi fall squirrel season opens on October 1, 2016 and closes February 28, 2017. The special youth squirrel season is September 24 – September 30 on private lands and authorized state and federal lands only. The bag limit is eight squirrels per day.
US Forest Service Donates Gates and Cattle Guards to Pascagoula River WMA
JACKSON – The United States Forest Service (USFS) De Soto Ranger District recently donated surplus gates and cattle guards to the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in George and Jackson Counties.
Dove Hunting Permits Still Available in Kemper and Webster Counties
JACKSON – As part of its Private Lands Dove Field Program, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has worked with private landowners to offer dove fields in Kemper County and Webster County. A limited number of hunting permits are still available for purchase for these fields. The Kemper County field is a 57-acre browntop millet and goat weed field and is located east of Scooba. The Webster County field is a 45-acre browntop millet field and is located near the community of Alva.
New Rule Affects Transportation of Big Game Harvested in Other States
JACKSON – Mississippians traveling out of state to hunt big game this fall need to be aware of a new rule affecting the transport of their trophy. In May 2016, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks passed 40 Miss. Admin Code, Part 2, Rule 2.7 Prohibition on Cervid Carcass Importation, to Protect Mississippi from Chronic Wasting Disease. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects cervids and has been found in 24 states and 3 foreign countries. A cervid is a member of the deer family and includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, red deer, sika deer, and fallow deer.
Dove Season Opens September 3
JACKSON – Dove hunting seasons will open on September 3 statewide in Mississippi. For private lands on opening day, shooting hours will start 30 minutes before sunrise. Dove fields on Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Wildlife Management Areas may have various shooting times, depending on the specific area’s regulations. Fields operated under the MDWFP Private Land Dove Field Program will have a start time of 12 p.m. Shooting hours for all migratory game birds end at sunset.
Mississippi’s Early Canada Goose Season Opens September 1
JACKSON – Mississippi hunters will get their first wing-shooting opportunity of the fall when the early Canada goose season opens September 1. This season is open to help manage Mississippi’s population of resident Canada geese, which can become overpopulated and create nuisance problems in local areas. This year hunters will enjoy an expanded hunting season, which closes September 30, giving hunters the entire month to pursue these birds. Hunters should be sure their hunting license is current for the 2016-17 hunting season, complete with Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration for Mississippi, as well as state and federal waterfowl stamps.
Invasive Cogongrass Reduced on Southwest Mississippi WMAs
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) continues to battle cogongrass on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Cogongrass, an exotic plant species from Asia, has aggressively expanded its range across Mississippi. Unfortunately, it is present on most WMAs in South Mississippi.
Foundation to Host 4th Annual Super Hunt for Youth with Disabilities
JACKSON—The Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will host its annual Super Hunt event October 28-30 for youth ages 6-17 with disabilities. The weekend includes a variety of fun activities for participants and their families at Turcotte Education and Shooting Facility as well as two days of deer hunting.
Breeding Duck Populations Still High in 2016
JACKSON – The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service, along with other partner organizations, recently completed their annual waterfowl breeding population and habitat surveys on the breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canadian provinces. These surveys monitor waterfowl populations and critical wetland habitat conditions, which are directly related to the number of birds which will head south during the fall and winter.
Fish Kills Possible Following Tropical-Like Storm
JACKSON – Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) fisheries biologists in Southwest Mississippi anticipate potential fish kill reports following the tropical-like system that caused extensive flooding in the region.
Feeding Alligators is Illegal
JACKSON – Feeding alligators is illegal in Mississippi. Feeding alligators will condition wild alligators to associate humans and human activity with a source of food. The results can be very dangerous especially when unaware people are near a body of water where alligators have been fed.
Dove Hunting Opportunity Offered in Kemper, Pearl River, and Webster Counties
JACKSON -Through its Private Land Dove Field Program, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has partnered with private landowners to provide dove fields in Kemper, Pearl River, and Webster counties, and is offering a limited number of hunting permits for purchase on each field.
WMA Youth Dove Hunting Opportunities
JACKSON – Dove hunting is an excellent opportunity to introduce youth to hunting and shooting sports. The social atmosphere of dove hunting also introduces youth to the experience of the hunting camp tradition and creates special memories with family and friends. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is providing unique hunting opportunities for youth on our Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). This year there will be two youth dove hunts held on Black Prairie and Mahannah WMAs.
Deer and Early Teal Hunting Applications Available August 1
JACKSON – Beginning August 1, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will accept draw permit applications for deer and early season teal on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Applicants must apply online at www.mdwfp.com/draws. All hunters (including under 16, over 65, and handicap) applying for a WMA draw hunt must possess a current valid WMA Permit or a Lifetime Hunting License to apply for a WMA Draw Hunt. After purchasing or renewing your license you must wait 24 hours until you can apply.
Alligator Hunting Permits To Go On Sale July 19
JACKSON – Alligator hunting in Mississippi is by special permit only. For 2016, public water alligator hunting permits will be available only through an on-line first-come-first-serve purchase process. These special permits will go on sale beginning at 9 a.m. on July 19, 2016, via the MDWFP website and www.ms.gov/mdwfp/alligator and will remain on sale till all available permits are sold. Each permit costs $150 and requires the purchase of an Alligator Hunting License ($25). In addition, payment is required immediately and permits are not refundable, nor may they be transferred to another individual. A credit card or debit card and a valid email address are required to purchase the permit. Each person is limited to only one permit in a zone of their choice, as long as they are available.
Proposed Changes to Nuisance Animal Regulations May Not Affect You!
JACKSON – The proposed nuisance animal rule change only affects the hunting of nuisance animals on open U.S. Forest Service lands. Nuisance animals are defined in MISS. CODE ANN. §49-7-1 as wild hogs, nutria, beaver, fox, skunks, and coyotes.This rule change does not apply to private lands.“The proposed changes does not change deer hunting with dogs, permitted field trials, the summer raccoon season, or any other hunting season,” explained Chad Dacus, of Wildlife Bureau Director for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
VEC to Host Alligator Program
JACKSON - Ricky Flynt, Wildlife Biologist and Alligator Program Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will present a program about alligators at the Visitor Education Center (VEC) on Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m. Flynt will discuss the biology and population status of alligators. Participants will also learn about the nuisance alligator program and hunting opportunities in Mississippi.
Proposed Changes to Nuisance Animal Regulations
JACKSON –The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved proposed rule changes to the General Regulation for the Taking of Nuisance Animals on June 22. At the request of the U.S. Forest Service, to address safety, resource concerns, and reduce confusion by the public, proposed changes to regulations for hunting of nuisance animals on open national forest land are as follows: On U.S. Forest Service lands, nuisance animals may be killed during daylight hours only during any open hunting season with weapons and ammunition legal for that season. No bait or feed is allowed at any time. Trapping (including snaring) of hogs is prohibited. Transporting or releasing into the wild, or capture and removal of any live animal or plant is prohibited without Forest Service approval. Nuisance animal hunting with dogs is allowed during any deer hunting with dogs season during daylight hours only. Additionally, nuisance animal hunting with dogs is allowed following the close of the last primitive weapon deer season until last day of February with weapons and ammunition legal for small game during daylight hours only. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, will be enforced.
MDWFP Investigates Mysterious Turkey Deaths
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), in conjunction with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) recently released findings associated with the deaths of 15 wild turkey hens in Tallahatchie County. The birds were reported by a landowner to local Conservation Officer Dale Adams, who subsequently collected the specimens for testing.
Habitat Restoration Project Recently Completed at Indianola WMA
JACKSON – A habitat restoration project was recently completed at Indianola Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This project will not only restore areas to their native habitat, but will also provide visual cover for wintering waterfowl from public roads.
Pascagoula River and Ward Bayou WMAs Continue to be Impacted by Flooding
JACKSON – Pascagoula River and Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) encompass over 50,000 acres along the Pascagoula River in George and Jackson counties. The Pascagoula River basin is the largest drainage in the southeast region of the state. Over the past five months, the WMAs have experienced constant cycles of flooding which have lead to numerous road and hunting season closures. Roads and hunting seasons are closed during high water conditions to minimize road damage and keep visitors safe. Roads are highly susceptible to damage during periods of high water and often require costly repairs. Once flood waters recede, WMA personnel inspect roads and re-open when conditions are suitable. Visitors are encouraged to review Pascagoula River and Ward Bayou WMA regulations for more specific information regarding road and hunting season closures. These regulations can be found online at www.mdwfp.com/wma.
Treating Cogongrass on Wildlife Management Areas
JACKSON – With spring in full swing, trees are leafing out and flowers are blooming. This is a great time to identify different plant communities and locate any invasive plant species. Cogongrass is an aggressive, invasive species that will out-compete all native plant species and take over a landscape.
Spring Squirrel Season Opens May 14
JACKSON – Mississippi’s spring squirrel hunting season opens statewide May 14 – June 1. The bag limit is four squirrels per day during the spring season.
Alligator Hunting Seasons for 2016 Announced
JACKSON – The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, on April 20, approved the final rule changes for the 2016 alligator hunting season on public waters and private lands in Mississippi. The statewide public waters season will include opportunities in specific public waterways. A total of 920 permits will be available within seven hunting zones across the state for the ten-day season, August 26 – September 5, 2016.
Mississippi’s 2016-17 Early Migratory Bird Seasons Announced
JACKSON –The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved dates for the 2016 – 2017 early hunting seasons for migratory game birds during its monthly meeting on April 20, 2016. These early seasons include doves, resident Canada geese, early teal, snipe, woodcock, and rails.
Mississippi’s 2016-17 Waterfowl Seasons Announced
JACKSON –The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved dates for the 2016-2017 waterfowl hunting seasons during the April 20, 2016 meeting. Under a new season selection process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases all migratory game bird frameworks in early spring each year providing a “window” of dates from which states may select specific season dates. “This new selection process uses the previous year’s breeding population and breeding habitat data to provide frameworks for hunting seasons. This allows states to select migratory bird seasons when other hunting seasons are set, and to publish those seasons earlier in the year. Waterfowl breeding populations in 2015 were high, which will again result in a liberal season framework of 60 days with a six-duck daily bag limit,” said Houston Havens, Waterfowl Program Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
South Delta Wildlife Management Areas Closed Due to Flooding
JACKSON – Heavy rainfall during the month of March and April has resulted in extraordinary high water levels and backwater flooding in the Mississippi south Delta. On April 12, 2016, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) signed an Executive Order closing turkey season, including any permit-only turkey hunts, on Lake George, Sunflower, and Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) for the remainder of the season.
MDWFP and MSU to Host Pond Management Workshop in Pike County
JACKSON - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are hosting a pond management workshop in Pike County. The workshop will be held at Percy Quin State Park convention center on Tuesday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. An hour-long presentation will include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming, and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow. Those interested in attending the workshop are asked to register by calling the MDWFP South Region office at (601) 783-2911.
Persistent Flooding Causes Closure of South Delta Wildlife Management Areas
JACKSON – Heavy rainfall during the month of March has resulted in extraordinary high water levels and backwater flooding in the Mississippi south Delta. On March 28, 2016, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) signed an Executive Order closing the turkey season, including any youth turkey hunts and permit-only turkey hunts, on Lake George, Sunflower, and Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) until April 15, 2016.
Alligator Hunting Seasons for 2016 Proposed
JACKSON – The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved proposed rule changes for the 2016 alligator hunting season on public waters and private lands in Mississippi on March 16. The statewide public waters season will include opportunities in specific public waterways. As proposed, a total of 920 permits will be available within 7 hunting zones across the state for the 10-day season, August 26 – September 5, 2016. All public water permits will be available for purchase on a first-come-first-serve basis. Permits will only be available for purchase electronically through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website beginning July 19, 2016. To be eligible to purchase an alligator hunting permit you must be at least 16 years of age and possess one of the following valid resident licenses prior to July 19 to be eligible: Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or a Lifetime License. An Alligator Hunting Training Course will be provided to permit holders, however the course is no longer mandatory.
Voluntary Survey Allows Hunters to Aid Wild Turkey Management
JACKSON – Turkey hunters with an interest in helping the conservation and management of their favorite game bird can aid the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) by acting as their on-the-ground eyes and ears. Participation in the MDWFP annual Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey (SGHS) gives turkey hunters a chance to collect data that is used to track populations and evaluate regulatory and management decisions.
Youth Turkey Season Offers Excitement for Young Hunters
JACKSON – The 2016 youth turkey season will begin on private lands and authorized state and federal lands on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. This special season, which is available to hunters ages 15 and under, coincides with spring break for many of Mississippi’s schools. This opportunity is an excellent chance to introduce young hunters to the thrill of pursuing springtime gobblers.
Spring Turkey Season Opens March 15
JACKSON – It’s time for Mississippi turkey hunters to break out their calls and dust off their shotguns, because the 2016 spring gobbler season is just around the corner! Turkey season opens on Tuesday, March 15 and ends May 1. For hunters age 15 and under, the youth season begins a week earlier on March 8. Bag limits for the spring season are one adult gobbler or one gobbler with at least a six inch beard per day, not to exceed three per spring season. Youth hunters 15 years of age and under may harvest one gobbler of choice per day, not to exceed three per spring season. Spring turkey season is closed in the following counties or parts thereof: Coahoma, Quitman, and Sunflower.
Supplemental Feeding for Deer After a Winter Flood
JACKSON -Recent winter flooding along the Mississippi River caused thousands of deer to relocate to drier land in Mississippi. As flood waters start to recede, deer will begin to return to their normal home range. Research has proven that deer displaced by high water events will return to their normal home ranges soon after waters recede. As these deer return, many people will want to provide supplemental feed to help them through the stressful period. The significance of the flood event will be short lived, and natural food will be available to deer depending on pre-flood abundance and quality. Existing feeding regulations will adequately meet any supplemental needs if feeding is implemented in flood affected areas. Extraordinary measures are not needed for the wellbeing of the deer herd.
Small Game Hunting Reopens in Areas Affected by Mississippi River Flooding
JACKSON - On January 20, 2016, during its regularly scheduled January meeting, the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks voted to keep hunting seasons along the Mississippi River closed until January 31, 2016. The order also declares all areas inundated by floodwaters to be "no wake" zones.
Hunting Seasons Close in the South Delta until January 31
JACKSON - This morning, the Steel Bayou Landside gauge went over ninety (90) feet triggering the closure of hunting season in the south Delta. Pursuant to the order of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks earlier this month, once the Mississippi River reaches forty-three (43) feet on the Vicksburg gauge AND the Steele Bayou Landside gauge reaches ninety (90) feet in Zone 4.B, hunting season, except for waterfowl season, will close. Zone 4.B is defined as areas in Sharkey, Humphreys, Yazoo, Issaquena, Warren counties which lie south of Highway 14, west of Highway 149, south of Highway 16 / 149, west of Highway 3, and east of Highway 61. By action of the Commission on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, this area will be closed until January 31, 2016.
Hunting Seasons in Areas Affected by Mississippi River Flooding to Remain Closed Until January 31
JACKSON – On January 20, 2016, during its regularly scheduled January meeting, the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, voted to keep hunting seasons along the Mississippi River closed until January 31, 2016. The order also declares all areas inundated by floodwaters to be “no wake” zones.
Supplemental Feeding During and After a Flood Event
JACKSON – Recent flooding along the Mississippi River alluvial valley caused thousands of deer to relocate to drier land. Research has proven that deer displaced by high water events will return to their normal home ranges within weeks of the flood waters receding.
Wildlife Management Area Turkey Hunting Applications Available
JACKSON –The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is now accepting online applications for Wildlife Management Area (WMA) turkey draw hunts. Applications can be submitted at www.mdwfp.com/draws; the deadline to submit applications is February 15. All applicants must have a valid WMA user permit to apply. WMA user permits are available for purchase online at www.mdwfp.com or may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold.
Commission Closes Additional Hunting Area During Emergency Session
JACKSON – On January 14, 2016, the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, (“the Commission”) met in an emergency session to address the issue of rising waters of the Mississippi River forcing deer and other animals out of their natural habitat. The Commission voted unanimously to expand its order closing all open hunting seasons (except waterfowl) for the duration of the current high water event, along the Mississippi River.
Youth Waterfowl Camp Application Period Extended
JACKSON – The application period for the Youth Waterfowl Hunting and Education Camp to be hosted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. has been extended to January 11. The camp’s mission is to recruit and retain waterfowl hunters and increase support for wetland conservation and waterfowl hunting in Mississippi. Classroom discussions and hands-on exercises will be led by biologists and other wildlife professionals to help students gain a better understanding of wetlands, waterfowl, and ethical hunting practices. In addition, local field trips to publicly and privately managed wetlands will expose youth to the diversity of habitats that waterfowl use in Mississippi. Activities will include shooting instructions and safety training, as well as an optional adult-supervised waterfowl hunt.
Apply Now for the Trim Cane WMA Youth Waterfowl Hunt
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is now accepting applications for the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt on Trim Cane Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The special youth hunt will be held on February 6. The WMA is an 891-acre property located in Oktibbeha County, approximately four miles north of Starkville off of Highway 389. The area has been developed primarily for waterfowl hunting and offers an excellent opportunity for youth waterfowl hunters. Trim Cane is easily accessible and is a prime area to introduce youth to waterfowl hunting.
Additional Area Closed to Hunting Due to Rising Flood Waters
JACKSON – In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and private landowners, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) by order of the Executive Director added the following area to the hunting season closure order issued on December 30, 2015: