Mississippi’s 2015-16 gun season on deer opens on Saturday (Nov. 21) statewide, and it will be the first one in which baiting will be legal at a minimum of 100 yards.

County Co-Ops and other sources reported record sales of corn in the last few weeks leading up to opening day.

“I went to the Co-Op in Madison County the other day to look at some boots and I sat out in my truck for 15 minutes just watching the pick-ups sitting there in line waiting to be loaded,” said Randy Thomas of Gluckstadt. “They were just filling the beds out of that big chute. I guess this was good for business; I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a disaster for the sport.”

While supplemental feeding has been allowed for many years, including during the season, no hunting was allowed within line of sight of the feeding device or within 100 yards.

This summer, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks dropped the “line of sight” language, kept the 100-yard minimum and basically legalized baiting during the gun season.

“I think it will make it so that people will see more deer, but I hope nobody thinks this will make killing big mature bucks possible,” Thomas said. “I don’t think you’ll be seeing any 4-, 5- or 6-year-old bucks going to a feeder during legal shooting hours.

“From a trophy standpoint, I doubt seriously that we will see that much impact. Maybe during the rut, when bucks are chasing does, some bucks might step out to look for does around a feeding area. Otherwise, no, it won’t make killing bucks any easier.”

Hunting with dogs is allowed where legal during this first segment of the deer season, which ends on Dec. 1. 

Legal deer include legal bucks and antlerless deer on private lands, and only legal bucks only on open public lands (unless otherwise posted). The antlered buck bag limit is one buck per day, not to exceed three per annual season. Legal bucks must meet the antler criteria within the appropriate deer management zone.

For youth hunters 15 years of age and younger hunting on private land and authorized state and federal lands, all three bucks bag may be any antlered deer. 

The antlerless deer bag limit in the Delta and Hill Deer Management Zones is five per annual season. The bag limit for antlerless deer in the Southeast Deer Management Zone and all U.S. Forest Service Lands is one per day not to exceed three per annual season. 

Hunters are urged to practice good hunter ethics and follow all safety rules to avoid hunting and firearm-related accidents. When hunting deer during any firearms season for deer, a hunter must wear in full view at least 500 square inches of solid unbroken fluorescent orange unless hunting in a stand at least twelve feet above ground or in a fully enclosed deer stand or blind. However, hunters must wear hunter orange while traveling to and from their stand.

On Dec. 2, the season will switch to the primitive weapon season, but on private lands hunters can still use regular firearms (weapon of choice).

Don’t forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways.

To share stories and photos of your deer hunts, contact Bobby Cleveland at bobbyc7754@yahoo.com. Only selected entries will be printed.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.