Applications are now available for the new permit-only archery deer hunts at Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, officials at the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District said.

“They are ready online at our website, TheRez.ms, or you can pick them up at our office on Madison Landing Circle at the reservoir,” said Craig Hunt, PRVWSD’s parks and recreation director. “We’ve already had a couple of applicants come by and sign up.”

Although the regulations regarding the drawing process indicate that the application period is Sept. 10 to Sept. 24, officials decided to begin allowing hunters to apply. There is no application fee.

The two areas available are the 400 acres below the dam on both sides of the spillway, and nearly 500 acres on the north shore of Pelahatchie Bay. Neither area has been open to legal hunting for decades.

A total of 13 weekends will be open for hunting, from noon on Thursday until noon on Sunday, from Oct. 31-Jan. 26. A total of 26 permits are available below the dam and 39 in Pelahatchie Bay. No other hunting will be allowed in either area.

According to Hunt, the area below the dam is being divided into two zones with the river serving as the boundary. Only two hunters, one per zone, will be drawn for each weekend.

Pelahatchie Bay is divided into three zones, and only three hunters will be drawn for each weekend. Hunters will be assigned to a specific zone.

“What we did was give hunters below the dam about 200 acres each, and hunters in the Bay about 140 to 150 acres,” Hunt said. “That assures them plenty of land to hunt, which is what the quality hunting experience is all about.”

Only Mississippi residents aged 21 or over can apply.

The deadline for applying is Sept. 24, and any applications sent by mail must be postmarked by midnight on that date. The drawing should take place around Sept. 27.

Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail at the address provided on each application. They will have one week to confirm their intent to hunt and purchase the permits. The cost is $300 for the area below the dam, and $200 for Pelahatchie Bay.

Any successful applicants who opt out of the opportunity will be replaced through a drawing from the original pool of applications. Permits that are not purchased by Oct. 10 will be filled through another drawing.

When applying, hunters are asked to rank weekends and areas and Hunt said those preferences would be followed when possible during the drawing process.

The permits allow the harvest of one legal buck and one antlerless deer (doe). Bucks must have either an 18-inch mainbeam or a 15-inch inside spread to be legal, which should protect all bucks under 3½ years of age.

Selected hunters will be allowed to bring one guest during the weekend hunt, but only one can carry a bow at any one time. Guests are allowed to take a deer, but it counts against the permit limit.

For more information, applications, maps and rules, visit TheRez.ms.