February is also a great time to own a pack of rabbit dogs.
“Yes, since all of a sudden we become the most-popular people around,” said Eric Peterson of Clinton. “You have a solid pack of beagle rabbit dogs, and the phone starts ringing around the last week of January with people wanting to know if I’d be interested in hunting at their place — if, of course, they can come along — in February.
“Overnight, rabbit dog owners go from having to hunt places to hunt, to having so many places offered. Once Jan. 31, is gone, and it’s Feb. 1, it’s like a whole new world.”
Obviously, it’s because deer season closes Jan. 31 in most of Mississippi. Only in the southeast corner are deer allowed through Feb. 15.
February is also a good time to be a raccoon hunter and to have a first-rate coon dog.
“Even though we only hunt at night, people are reluctant to let us run our coon dogs on their property during deer season,” said Phillip Jones of Brandon. “But, boy, let us get to February and then it’s like, ‘What you been waiting on? Get over here with that dog.’
“Who I hear most from are turkey hunters who have seen a lot of raccoons while deer hunting at their hunting camp. Raccoons love to steal turkey eggs from the nests in April and May, and that makes them the No. 1 predator of turkey in Mississippi and an enemy of turkey hunters.”
While there is an eight-rabbit per hunter per day limit, there is no limit on raccoon, opossum or bobcat in February while the trapping season is open. Like squirrel hunting, the season ends Feb. 28 for rabbits, raccoons and trapping.