Five hundred square inches of fluorescent orange is still in fashion in extreme southeast Mississippi, at least through Feb. 15. Deer are still legal in that corner of the state.
“I think it’s great that we get those extra days late, and it is a fair trade giving up the first 15 days of bow season in October for these February day,” said Robert Fuller of Hattiesburg. “It’s a no-brainer for us; I don’t think there’s a deer hunter down here that would argue that. There’s two big plusses: October is too miserable to sit in a stand, and February gives us a better chance at catching deer during the rut.
“Last year, I killed my biggest buck on Feb. 4, chasing a doe. I went to the stand at 1 o’clock, killed him at 2, and had him dressed and in the cooler in time to make it home for kickoff of the Super Bowl.”
Fuller is hoping to match last year’s 130-inch 8-pointer; he said that’s a relative giant for his area of Perry County.
“I’ve got another nice one on camera this year, but he has been totally nocturnal,” he said. “It’s just like last year. I only had pictures of that buck at night and never laid eyes on him until he started chasing. This year, the bucks were still bunched up in early January and, other than some rubs, only the young ones had started showing any signs of rutting behavior. I bet we’ll see them chasing somewhere between late January or early February. Last year, at least for me, it was Feb. 1.”
Deer hunters are limited to legal bucks only after Feb. 1 on all lands, but they can still use weapon of choice on private lands with proper licensing.
Southeast Zone deer hunting
Primitive weapon/archery: Feb. 1-15. Legal bucks only on private and open public land. Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.
Youth (aged 15 and under): Open through Feb. 15. Either sex on private and authorized state and federal lands, but legal bucks only on authorized state and federal lands.