Oftentimes, deer hunters are not fully tuned into the details. Me included.

Perhaps you folks knew this one, but there is some fine print in the deer-hunting regulations about weapons choices during the “primitive weapons” seasons.

This rule might have been in place for years, but I sure missed it, and a bunch of my hunting buddies did, too.

Imagine that. 

In particular, I point this out for the archery/primitive weapon season held from Jan. 21-31 in the Delta and Hill zones or until Feb. 15 in the Southeast Zone.

Specifically noted in italics at the end of the legal deer statements in the MDWPF’s 2015-2016 Hunting Seasons guide for those hunting seasons, “Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.”

For more explanation, I referred to the full text of the issue in the annual Outdoor Digest circulated to the public by the state wildlife agency.

This paragraph says, “During any open season on deer with primitive weapons after Nov. 30, a person may use any legal weapon of choice on private lands only, if the person is the title owner of the land, the lessee of the hunting rights on the land, a member of a hunting club leasing the hunting rights on the land or a guest of a person specified above.”

It details further the hunting licenses required, as well. 

Private-land hunters should be aware, too, that bucks and does can be hunted during the Jan. 21-31 season in all zones, but that in the Southeast Zone during the February season only legal bucks can be harvested on private lands.

Got to watch those details. 

Well, private land owners and lessees, the barnyard gate is open now.

Sorry, public-land deer hunters, but I hope you understand this provision being only for private lands. But I guess the majority of deer-hunting hours generated in Mississippi are probably on private lands, anyway.

Private landowner/hunters tend to be more conscious of their hunting and deer management practices, so a choice of weapon is not theoretically going to impact their deer herd situation that much, anyway. These hunters mostly go for the older, more-mature, bigger rack bucks. But it is nice to have the weapon choice option, for sure. 

“Think what you want, but this permitted guideline seems to finally imply that the state wildlife boys are agreeing that it really does not matter what weapon we use to hunt deer especially on our own property,” said Dr. Brad Carr who owns hunting land in Holmes County. “I like the weapon choice option, though. I am a bowhunter, but I might have my dad up to hunt, and he might want to use a regular hunting rifle or a primitive-classification rifle. I could invite my brother as a guest or somebody else, and then we have the open selection of a weapon to use.” 

The rule really makes good sense for deer hunting on private land by landowners on their own place.

But hunting clubs leasing land like the rule, too.

“I have been a member of a hunting club out in the Bolton area in Hinds County for a number of years, but last year I also joined another club in Warren County,” Raymond’s Marvin Moak said. “This deer-hunting rule gives me and my boys more options on how we can hunt that final close-out season of the year. 

“Now we don’t have to be locked into one kind of weapon choice or the style of hunting we have to do. We can mix it up, for sure. If I choose to hunt in a ground blind, I can use my primitive-weapon rifle or even a real smokepole if I want to. I have two boys of hunting age, and they prefer traditional scoped deer rifles. I won’t have to supply them with special primitive guns or archery gear unless they learn to use those, too. Now we can go any way we want with the types of deer-hunting gear we want to use.” 

So sometimes the details really are in the fine print.

I can hear it now: “Dude, this rule has been in effect,” but just for the deer hunters like me who did not realize it, now you can’t say you did not know.

And I can tell all my hunting contacts, they should be subscribing to Mississippi Sportsman magazine.