Jim Harrison of Brandon is really looking forward to Mississippi’s 2016 spring turkey season, and he doesn’t have to wait long to begin chasing gobblers.
He can start Tuesday (March 8), because his young son wants to go, too. The youth season opens a full week ahead of the March 15 opening of the regular spring season.
“Little Jimmy finally turned 10, and I told him once he got that age, when he can understand the importance of sitting completely still and being absolutely quiet, we would go,” Harrison said. “That was how old I was when my father took me. Back then, we didn’t have a youth season so he took time out of his hunting to take me, and if you knew how much he liked hunting turkey you’d understand how big a deal that was.”
Fortunately for the Harrisons, this year’s spring break is earlier than normal.
“I’d already decided to take him out of school that Tuesday, but now I don’t have to,” the dad said. “I didn’t know it was spring break until a few weeks ago so this is a bonus.”
During the seven-day youth season, only hunters aged 15 and under are allowed to slap the trigger on shotguns. Adults can participate in all other phases of the hunt, and in most cases are required to be in the direct supervision of the youngster.
Children between the ages of 12 and 15 who have satisfactorily completed an approved hunter education course can hunt alone. All others under aged 15 must be in the presence of and under the direct supervision of a Mississippi licensed or exempt hunter that is at least 21 years of age.
Bag limits for youth during the spring season, including the youth and regular seasons, are one gobbler per day and three per spring. Youth 15 and under are allowed to take gobblers of any age and beard length (including jakes).
Phillip Banks of Vicksburg has no children but sought out friends at his hunting camps who needed a guide for a child.
“I dearly love to chase them birds,” said Banks, 22. “I am not married so I don’t have kids and my brothers are all over 16, so I volunteered just to get the opportunity to go hunting. I am fortunate that I have a lot of friends with kids who can’t get off work next week and their children are on spring break and want to hunt. I have the week off and I’m going to hunt as much as I can.
“I hope we kill a few birds, and I’m going to do my best. But if we don’t, I can at least use those days to pattern birds for the regular season. My fiancé is wanting to go and I want to put her on a bird, too.”
Banks has plenty of opportunities.
“I have access to four camps, two that I am a member of and two that I work for (timber management) and all four of them have always been good for turkey,” he said. “Two of the camps get very little pressure and the birds are already gobbling good. I’ve gone three mornings in the past week and located birds at three camps. I’m going again this weekend to the fourth and I should have them located there, too.”