Deer season in Mississippi starts in less than three months and hunters are looking at two new changes for the 2014-15 season.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks says there will be no traditional primitive weapon seasons on private or leased land in the Southeast Zone, which includes the coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson. Instead, hunters can pursue deer of both sexes using any caliber rifle during gun seasons on private and leased land.
Hunters are still required to use a primitive weapon, like a 45x70 rifle, on state land, such as wildlife management areas, during the primitive weapon seasons.
"We will still have primitive weapon seasons, and hunters will be restricted to primitive weapons on the management areas," said Jim Walker, of the Department of Wildlife. "Read the regulations and it says that on land that's not private or leased, hunters are still required to use the definition of a primitive weapon."
In the Southeast Zone, archery season runs Oct. 21 to Nov. 21 and guns are not allowed. From that day forward through the end of the 2014-15 season, hunters will be allowed to use any caliber rifle on private or leased land in the Southeast Zone.
"When gun season opens on private and leased land, there will be no more restrictions on rifles," Walker said. "It will be that way from Nov. 22 through Feb. 15 in the Southeast Zone. Archery still has it all to themselves before the gun season starts. The bottom line is that hunters can use any caliber rifle now as long as gun season is open and they hunt private or leased land."
The second change deals directly with the bag limit for harvesting doe. Hunters can now harvest five antlerless deer without a daily bag limit during the season.
In terms of bucks, hunters are allowed to harvest one legal buck per day, but can't exceed three during the season.
"If you can take them (doe) all in a day or two, you can," Walker said. "Using any caliber rifle and the change to no daily limit on antlerless deer are the two new changes."
The first gun season with dogs in the Southeast Zone will be Nov. 22 to Dec. 1 for either sex on private land and legal bucks only on open public land.
Primitive weapon season is set to unfold on Dec. 2 through Dec. 15 for either sex on private land and open public land. During this part of the season, hunters on wildlife management areas are limited to primitive weapons only.
For a complete list of the 2014-15 deer hunting seasons and regulations, go to mdwfp.com.
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