It also makes for a short first gun season, too, but deer hunters should not despair. The 2013-14 hunting season, recently announced by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, will include as many gun days and gun days with dogs as always.
"It's not shorter, just later," said Chad Dacus, the longtime deer program coordinator recently named chief of wildlife by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
He explained that most Mississippi hunting seasons are set by state statute, with the only variance being how the days fall on the calendar. For instance, state law says the first gun season opens on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.
The official day set aside for the annual holiday is the fourth Thursday in November, which can be as early as Nov. 22 or as late as Nov. 28. This year it falls on Nov. 28.
The first gun season will be just nine days, Nov. 23-Dec. 1, since statute sets the opening of the primitive weapons season as Dec. 2 (unless it falls on a Sunday, which this year it does not).
As the season goes through its normal progression, days are made up at the end of the season. Law requires that a total of 39 days be open to hunting with gun and dog. This year, the final gun season will end Jan. 22, which as always is on a Wednesday.
Got it? Whew!
The state's Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks basically sets deer, turkey and small game seasons based on law - section 49-7-31 of the Mississippi Code - with few exceptions. Commissioners do have the power to set seasons on Wildlife Management Areas and special seasons to help manage the deer herd.
Two such special seasons will be held in the 2013-14 period, the early antlerless deer-only primitive weapon season Nov. 11-22 in the Hill and Delta Zones and the late primitive weapon season Jan.23-Jan. 31 in all three zones. The Feb. 1-15 primitive weapon/archery bucks-only season in the Southeast Zone is included in state statute.
The following is the list of 2013-14 hunting seasons proposed by the Commission for deer, turkey and small game. Migratory bird seasons will be set this summer when federal frameworks are established.
Archery: Hill and Delta Zones, Oct. 1-Nov. 22. Southeast Zone, Oct. 15-Nov. 22.
Early primitive weapon, antlerless deer only: Hill and Delta Zones only, Nov. 11-22.
Youth gun season: Hill and Delta Zones, Nov. 9-Jan. 31; Southeast Zone, Nov. 9-Feb. 15.
Gun, with dogs: Nov. 23-Dec. 1, statewide.
Primitive weapon: Dec. 2-Dec. 15, statewide.
Gun, without dogs (still season): Dec. 16-23, statewide.
Gun, with dogs: Dec. 24-Jan. 22.
Late primitive weapon, Hill and Delta Zones: Jan. 23-Jan. 31.
Late primitive weapon, Southeast Zone: Jan. 23-31, for either-sex deer; Feb. 1-Feb. 15 for legal bucks only.
Spring season: Statewide (except parts of Coahoma and Sunflower counties and all of Quitman County): March 15-May 1, 2014.
Youth spring: March 8-14, 2014.
Fall: Oct. 15-Nov. 15, 2013, limited to private lands in 24 counties (check MDWFP regulations for open areas).
July 1-Sept. 30, 2013, 1 per party per night.
Raccoon, opossum and bobcat
First season, Oct. 1-Oct. 31, 2013, sport hunting for food and sport, 5 per day, 8 per party.
Second season: Nov. 1 2013-Feb. 28, 2014, sport hunting for food, sport and pelt, no limit.
Zone 1, areas north of U.S. Highway 82, plus all of Sunflower and Washington counties: Sept. 28 2013-Feb. 28, 2014. Youth season Sept. 21-Sept. 27.
Zone 2, area between U.S. Highways 82 and 84, plus that area south of 84 that are west of I-55, Oct. 12 2013-Feb. 28, 2014. Youth season: Oct. 5-11.
Zone 3, area south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of I-55: Oct. 26, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014. Youth season Oct. 19-25.
Statewide season: Nov. 21, 2013-March 2, 2014.
Statewide season: Oct. 12, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014.
Statewide season: Nov. 1, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014.
2014 season: April 1-Sept. 30.