Tommy White of Vicksburg was a busy man Thursday, scrambling to get ready for Saturday’s opening of the archery season in most areas of Mississippi.
Or, perhaps, maybe that should read get ready again.
“You won’t even believe this,” said White, who went out for his final backyard bow practice late Wednesday afternoon. “On my second shot, the top limb on my bow just snapped. The arrow flew but who knows where it went. I heard it banging through the trees behind my yard … glad nobody lives back there for about half a mile.
“I immediately called the guy at my archery shop and told him what happened, but he was closing for the day. He knows my bow and couldn’t believe it broke like that, but he thinks he can get it fixed or replaced.”
Cost is not a concern, even though White is a typical middle class Mississippi hunter. Timing is his priority.
“I haven’t missed an opening day hunt since the first time I picked up a bow and starting shooting,” he said. “This will be the 26th season in a row and I don’t care what it takes, even if it means a new bow, I will be out there.”
Only other hardcore archery hunters can relate to that passion for the sport.
Mississippi is divided into three zones for deer management, and the season opens Saturday (Oct. 1) in the Hill and Delta Zones. It will open in the Southeast Zone on Oct. 15.
“Looks like we’re going to be lucky on opening morning, at least as far as the weather goes,” said Jerry Williams of Southaven. “Temperatures are going to be in the low 50s up here where I hunt and in the high 50s down in Central Mississippi where my brother hunts. Aren’t many years we get that kind of blessing, that’s for sure.
“But, I went out (Thursday) morning to see what it was like and got bit by a mosquito in my backyard, so I can’t even imagine how tough it’s going to be in the woods. I got my ThermaCell out and checked it immediately after that and I am going to get some extra panels and gas charges today.”
Hunters are reporting a lot of ripe persimmons but also a lot of snakes.
“I have a plan, and it involves persimmons,” said Tommy Sutton, a former guide from Columbia who now lives in Slidell, La., but still hunts in the Delta in Leflore and Carroll counties. “I have never seen the amount of persimmons that we have this year, and the deer tracks are heavy around them. Our acorns aren’t falling, but I hear some sawtooth oaks are starting to drop in other areas.
“Another part of my plan is snake boots, and I’d tell anybody who bow hunts to wear them. We cleared some fields for food plots the other day in Carroll County and I killed three large rattlesnakes, I mean really big ones. Everybody I’ve told about that had stories to tell me about similar encounters with snakes. Seems the conditions this year are ideal for snakes.”
Hill Zone: Opens Saturday, Oct. 1, and ends Jan. 31. Limit is one legal buck per day, three per annual season including all weapons, and five antlerless deer per license season with no set daily limit. To be legal, bucks must have either a minimum inside spread of 10 inches OR main beams of at least 13 inches.
Delta Zones: Opens Saturday, Oct. 1, and ends Jan. 31. Limit is one legal buck per day, three per annual season including all weapons, and five antlerless deer per license season with no set daily limit. To be legal, bucks must have either a minimum inside spread of 12 inches OR main beams of at least 15 inches.
Southeast Zone: Opens Saturday, Oct. 15, and ends Feb. 15. The limit on legal bucks is one per day, three per annual season including all weapons, and one antlerless deer per day and three per annual season. To be legal, bucks must have either a minimum inside spread of 10 inches OR main beams of at least 13 inches. From Feb. 1-15, only legal bucks are allowed, except for hunters aged 15 and under.