Deer hunters who participate in the draw for archery deer hunts at Barnett Reservoir, and are lucky enough to get drawn, will get more opportunities than the previous two years.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District board of directors OK’d a plan that will up the number of days of each hunt from four to six.

“What we’re doing is giving hunters nearly a week to fulfill their limit of one buck and two does,” said Craig Hunt, the parks and recreation director for the state agency that oversees Barnett Reservoir and its more than 10,000 acres of prime hunting lands. “The draw hunts in Pelahatchie Bay and below the dam along the spillway will start Tuesday mornings and end on Sunday evenings, except for the opening weekend, which will still be Thursday through Sunday because of the calendar.”

Hunt explained that because the statewide archery season opens on Oct. 1, which is a Thursday, that first hunt could only be four days.

“The upside is that hunters that weekend are the first to be in the woods,” he said.

The application period will open on July 31 and end on Aug. 13. It costs nothing to apply. Those selected for the three areas of Pelahatchie Bay will have to pay $200 for the permits and those in the two zones of the spillway will have to pay $300 for the permits.

Each permit allows one buck — either a minimum inside spread of 15 inches or a minimum main beam length of 18 inches — and two antlerless deer. Each permit holder will be allowed one guest each day and both may carry bows and take deer. Both hunters must remain in the designated zone and the permit holder must be present at all times.

In another move to help hunters, the board approved a measure that aligns PRVWSD’s open lands with the same limits as the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Park’s Hills Zone. The key change is that it will allow antlerless deer harvest in the final segment of the regular gun season.

Pearl River Valley Water Supply District oversees over 50,000 acres of state property, including 33,000 acres of water and about 7,000 of commercially developed land. The other 10,000 is open to hunting, but some is tightly restricted because of proximity either to land, roads or development.

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