Despite the CWD cases, Mississippi lawmakers sidestepped any contentious wildlife and fishery measures presented during the opening weeks of the 2019 Legislative Session, which is to be expected during an election year.
Of 15 bills assigned to the House Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee, only one survived committee deadline for action.
In the Senate Committee, only one of 17 survived.
Neither of the two surviving bills would have any major impact on hunting or fishing. However, among the bills that failed to garner any significant support were two that would have had major impact on future deer seasons. One was related to CWD and the other to property rights. Both created an uproar in Mississippi’s outdoor cyberspace.
H.B. 768 would have banned the practice of supplemental feeding, and thus prohibited “baiting” of deer. An interesting side note: technically, it remains illegal to hunt deer with the aid of bait in Mississippi; however, regulations involving supplemental feeding make it legal to do so.”
H.B. 1410 would have severely restricted hunting deer with dogs, creating in law a minimal acreage required to obtain a permit from the MDWFP to run dogs.
“There’s still a chance that we could see supplemental feeding curtailed,” said hunter Robert Hays of Brandon. “The MDWFP has authority to restrict it if it deems it imperative in response to CWD. They’ve already banned it in the two CWD management zones, and they’ve outlawed the use of deer-based scent products. They do not have authority to limit the use of dogs during deer season on public land. That would require the Legislature.”