Here’s what’s new for deer in 2017-18

With a lot of carryover of bucks from a poor 2016-17 statewide harvest, many hunters could be as fortunate as Barrett Van Cleave of Woodville, who killed this buck two years ago.

According to MDWFP deer program coordinator William McKinley, the agency conducted a statewide hunter opinion survey via e-mail in April 2017. Hunters were asked numerous questions about topics including deer populations, hunting methods and season structure.

Of the total of 12,843 hunters who responded to the survey, almost 93 percent said they practiced still hunting and not dog hunting.

The results of the total survey led the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and parks to make the following changes in regulations and in deer management practices.

The Hill Zone was divided into 3 zones: Northeast, East Central, and Southwest. This will allow for more regionalized regulations in the future.

A change in bag limits on antlerless deer was the biggest change and the new doe limits will be enforced for the 2017-18 season. In the Delta, Northeast, East Central, and Southwest zones, the annual antlerless limit has been reduced from five to three (although the daily limit is unchanged — a hunter can harvest up to his or her season limit in one day).

The seasonal bag limit on antlerless deer in the Southeast Zone has been reduced from three to two, and only one is allowed per day.

On privately held lands that are participating clubs in the MDWFP’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), antlerless deer taken by DMAP permits do not apply to the season or daily limit.

Additionally, antlerless deer harvest has been suspended on all Open Public Land, unless otherwise posted, with the exception that antlerless deer may be harvested during the early archery season (Sept. 30–Nov. 17 for the Delta, Northeast, East Central, and Southwest zones; Oct. 14–Nov. 17 for the Southeast (Zone) and during the Youth Deer Hunt, which is the Saturday two weeks prior to opening day of Gun season through the Friday prior to Thanksgiving. Open Public Lands include National Forests, Corps of Engineers lands, etc., that have statewide seasons without special regulations. The MDWFP’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) have specific harvest limits per WMA.

About David Hawkins 195 Articles
David Hawkins is a freelance writer living in Forest. He can be reached at

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