Mississippi’s deer season ends one segment today and enters another on Friday, meaning some hunters will transition from primitive weapons back to regular firearms, while others won’t even notice.
Thursday is the final day of the primitive weapon season, and Friday is the first day of the gun season without dogs. It runs through Dec. 23.
The change will mostly impact hunters on public land. Regulations allow hunters on private properties to use weapon of choice during the December and late January primitive seasons.
Most private land hunters just continued hunting with their centerfire rifles and shotguns.
Friday, it will be weapon of choice for all hunters, with the exception of those hunting public lands that have different restrictions on weapons. The next eight days — Dec. 16-23 — are collectively known as the still season, or guns without dogs. That means most hunters can use whatever legal weapon they choose, but they have to leave their hounds at home.
The season will change again on Dec. 24, with the opening of the final gun season with dogs. From then through Jan. 18, hunters can use their favorite weapon and can run deer with dogs if desired.
For much of the state, the change is perfectly timed with the rut. That suits Tommy Jordan of Vicksburg just fine.
“I have two camps, one in the North Delta and the other in Southwest Mississippi along the (Mississippi River), and we’ve already passed the peak of the rut up there in Coahoma County,” he said. “They started chasing up there about two weeks ago and have really slowed down. That’s OK because they’re just getting cranked up in Claiborne County.
“Down there, the bucks are just breaking up their bachelor groups and it’s time for rattling and grunting. That’s how I intend to spend this weekend, but after that I will be watching for them to start chasing just about any day.”
Gary Thomas of Natchez, who hunts public land in Southwest Mississippi, said he’s happy having his rifle back.
“I hunted at a National Forest Wednesday and did some active calling with my grunt tubes and rattlin’ horns,” he said. “I called in a bunch of young bucks and one old, mature buck. He was beyond range of my muzzle-loader but if I had had my (7mm-magnum), I could have reached out and touched him. I know where he’s living now, at least.”