Mississippi’s hunting season will officially begin on Sept. 1, when dove and resident Canada geese seasons open, but Aug. 1 is also a key date for a lot of sportsmen.

It’s the date when the process begins for the many draw hunts on the state’s best public lands.

* State WMAs: With the exception of Canemount WMA, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will accept applications for the draw hunts available on several of its Wildlife Management Areas. The period to apply is Aug. 1-Aug. 31. The application period for Canemount will be Aug. 15 – Sept. 5. To participate in the draws, applicants must first possess a valid Mississippi hunting license and there must be at least 24 hours between time of license purchase to the time of applying to allow the system to be updated with current information. There is no cost to apply. Visit MDWFP.com for more information.

Here's the list of WMAs that will have deer draw hunts: 

Black Prairie


Charles Ray Nix

Hell Creek


Natchez State Park

Sardis Waterfowl

Sky Lake

Trim Cane

Twin Oaks


* National Wildlife Refuges: The Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex offers over 100,000 acres open to hunting on its seven refuges. A $15 (plus $5 handling fee added for online purchase) annual user permit is required. The 2014-15 permits will go on sale on Aug. 1, and will be necessary for hunters who wish to apply for the any of the draw opportunities, including the highly prized Panther Swamp NWR and Yazoo NWR deer hunts. Information on the draw hunts will be provided with purchase of the annual permit. Visit http://www.fws.gov/trcomplex/ for more information or to purchase (after Aug. 1) the 2014-15 permit.

* Barnett Reservoir: The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, which manages Barnett Reservoir and its surrounding property, has set the application period as Aug. 1-15 for the second year of archery deer hunts on two areas — the spillway below the dam and Sections M&N on the north shore of Pelahatchie Bay. It is free to apply, but permit fees if drawn are $300 for the spillway area and $200 in the Pelahatchie Bay. There are five zones open — two below the dam, separated by the river, plus three in Pelahatchie Bay — for archery season Oct. 1-Jan. 31. Each permit is good for a four-day hunt, Thursday through Sunday, with the exception of the final weekend when the hunt will be Wednesday through Saturday. Changes this year include raising the antlerless deer limit to two per permit — the buck limit remains one — and the permit holder can bring a guest, who can also carry a bow. To apply after Aug. 1 or to obtain more information, visit online at TheRez.ms