Mississippi wildlife officials are apparently considering instituting a tagging or, at the very least, a harvest reporting system for turkey hunters in the Magnolia State.

On Wednesday (Aug. 12), the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks sent out emails to hunters announcing an online survey stating it “is related to turkey hunting in Mississippi and is intended to determine opinions regarding mandatory tagging and harvest reporting.”

The announcement follows on the heels of a recent survey conducted by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson that indicated there is overwhelming support for a tagging system.

Out of 309 responses:

- More than 53 percent supported a mandatory “harvest report and tagging system with a small fee that is earmarked specifically for turkey population improvement.”

- More than 27 percent supported a “required harvest report and tagging system that is free of charge.”

- The rest — 18.77 percent — preferred the status quo, which is “no required harvest report and tagging system.”

The MDWFP survey asks six questions about turkey hunting, beginning with the simple “are you a turkey hunter?”

That is followed by “did you turkey hunt in Mississippi in the past two years?” and then “what part of Mississippi do you conduct most of your spring turkey hunting?” with three possible answers: North, Central or South.

The fourth question takes the survey toward the tagging issue: “Do you support or oppose the mandatory tagging and reporting of harvested turkeys?”

The five answers provided range from strongly support to strongly oppose, with moderately support, neither support/oppose or moderately oppose in between.

Question No. 5 deals with methodology of a possible reporting system. Hunters are asked to choose between a website; smartphone app; telephone hotline; physical check station; none of these; don’t know; or other, with the chance to describe a different option.

The final question might give a clue to why the survey is being held: “What do you consider to be the major factor limiting turkey numbers in your area?”

The listed answers are weather; predators; disease; too many hunters; too liberal of a bag limit; season length; illegal harvest; declining habitat; or other, with a chance to include other opinions. 

Mississippi turkey hunters have complained in recent years about a real or perceived drop in the turkey population, apparently based somewhat on a declining harvest rate by hunter.

The survey is being conducted online only. Click here to participate.