The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks was expected at its mid-May meeting to give final approval to a deer season plan that includes a bit of good news for hunters in Mississippi’s South Delta.
In the 2019-20 season, hunters saw both their season and bag limits reduced after the devastating backwater flooding that plagued the South Delta region for most of 2019. The season was shortened 15 days and the bag limit reduced to two legal bucks and two antlerless deer.
At its April meeting, the Commission voted to reinstate the full season — beginning with the Oct. 1 opening of archery hunting through Jan. 31 — but kept the bag limit at two legal bucks and two antlerless deer.
Deer populations in the South Delta were noticeably reduced by the flooding of 2019, and continuing high-water problems in 2020 have also hurt the herd. Russ Walsh, MDWFP’s wildlife bureau chief of staff, said the totality of the impact may not be known for years, but enough is known now to protect the herd
“This is a measure to reduce the harvest, because we know the population has been impacted,” Walsh told The Clarion-Ledger’s Brian Broom. “We know there was an impact from hunters and the camera survey we’re doing. We still don’t know the extent of the impact and won’t for several years.”
Totally eliminating hunting to allow both the habitat and the herd to heal has been suggested by some hunters. Jeff Terry of Eagle Lake Community is not one of them.
“That’s ludicrous,” Terry said. “If you take away the season entirely, what is the impetus for hunters and hunting clubs to provide food plots and supplemental feeding. Sure, a lot of us would feed anyway, but I doubt everyone would.
“Plus, there’s the economic impact that would be detrimental to landowners who depend on hunting-lease revenues and local small businesses that depend on hunters coming to their stores and restaurants in the season. That would be adding to the burdens they already face from the flooding.”
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