Five wildlife bills left alive in Legislature

The Mississippi Legislature was still considering, as of mid-February, eight different bills involving outdoor recreation, including a Senate bill that would give the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks the power to establish special deer seasons for the purposes of collecting deer for chronic wasting disease testing and allow the use air guns, air bows and pre-charged pneumatic weapons during different seasons.

Senate Bill 2035 was passed by the full Senate and was headed to the House for consideration by representatives. The bill would allow the Commission to establish CWD seasons both inside and outside the regular deer-season framework.

It would also give the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks the power to establish regulations for the use of air guns for small-game hunting during small-game seasons. It would also allow the MDWFP to establish regulations for the use of air bows and pre-charged pneumatic weapons for big game, excluding turkey. They would not be legal for game birds and migratory birds and waterfowl.

SB 2035 was one of six bills to escape the Senate deadline for committee action and one two to have gained full Senate approval by mid-February.

State parks

The Senate also approved S.B. 2486 to establish a committee to study how the MDWFP’s state parks could be operated in the future, including the possibility of transferring ownership of some or all parks to other entities for operation.

Only two bills got out of the House Committee on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. One mirrors closely a bill in the Senate that would give the MDWFP the discretion to monitor/test for CWD in enclosures. The other is more interesting in that it would establish an Outdoor Stewardship Fund and a board to oversee the fund’s operation. H.B. 1231 would accrue funds to help state and local agencies and entities purchase lands and waters for conservation purposes.

These and other bills can be tracked online through the legislative session by visiting http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2021/pdf/mainmenu.htm.

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Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1344 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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