Tommy Wilson of Biloxi packed a few extra articles in his truck Friday afternoon before heading to his small hunting camp in Stone County for the weekend.

“I had to find room to stick my .17 caliber rifle and my boy’s little .410 shotgun,” said Wilson, an avid hunter who chases whatever the season allows. “We had our eyes on a nice block of hardwoods along a creek bottom where we’d been seeing a lot of squirrels when we’d been up there on deer camp work days.”

Saturday was opening day of the Zone 3 (Southeast Mississippi) squirrel season, which means the entire state is now open.

“We went in there Saturday morning, and planned to stalk,” said Wilson, whose favorite hunting buddy is his son Timmy, 11. “It didn’t take us long to change plans. We found that only a few of the oaks were producing acorns, at least a lot of acorns.

“I put Timmy on one of them and I moved down the way about 200 yards and got on another one. I heard him shoot first, and then I got my first one. Over the next three hours, we both got in a lot of shooting. I had five and he had six when I walked back to him at about 9:30 and then we stalked and nearly filled out our limit. He got eight; I got seven, so we were one short.”

The dad did get a bonus, shooting two rabbits during the trip out.

“We checked on some of our green plots and in two of them we spotted rabbits along the edge and I was able to pick two of them off with my .17 with head shots,” Tommy Wilson said. “It was a great morning in the woods and we ate squirrel for lunch and rabbit and dumplings for supper.”

The Wilsons’ great report is a perfect representation of the season in Mississippi, where small game takes center stage prior to the start of the gun season on deer. 

Squirrel and rabbit seasons are now in full swing throughout the state, and the main season raccoons will start on Friday (Nov. 1). That corresponds with the opening of trapping season and means there will be no limits imposed on raccoons again until Feb. 28. The second dove season remains open through Nov. 4.

Tommy Wilson enjoys this period but knows it will be short lived. On Nov. 9, the youth gun season on deer opens and his little boy will turn his attention on bigger game.

“Isn’t that a wonderful problem to have?” he said. “We love to hunt. Well, let me change that. He loves to hunt and I love to hunt with him.”