Deer hunters whose hunting is restricted to public lands have been dealt a bad hand for the 2017-18 season, as far as killing does to stock the freezer with venison or sausage is concerned.

Earlier this year, after conducting an email survey, Mississippi’s Commission of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks closed public lands to anterless deer harvest during every gun season this fall and winter. The exception is that youths 15 and under can take antlerless deer on public land during the youth-only gun season Nov. 4-17. Even archers can’t take does after Nov. 17 on public lands.

The five-man panel, appointed by the governor, also hit hunters with private land, reducing the season doe limit from five to three in most areas and to two in the Southeast Zone.

The bottom line is, hunters who only hunt with guns and only on public land have had their season bag limit cut from eight to three, and all three must be legal bucks. Meanwhile, across the fence on neighboring private land, hunters can take up to six — three bucks, three antlerless — or five (three and two) in the Southeast Zone.

That said, public-land hunters still have three bucks to harvest by gun. The goal of this article is to help hunters kill those three bucks once the early archery season is done.

Pick up the bow

First, options exist during the October archery season.

If you have already hunted a Wildlife Management Area, you are ahead of the game. You can embrace this as a new opportunity to take up archery hunting and kill a few does.

Crossbows are accurate and legal for archery season. While the initial