No changes to deer-hunting season anticipated in wake of Mississippi River flooding

While the swollen Mississippi River certainly flooded important deer habitat in the Delta, MDWFP biologists anticipate no changes to hunting seasons in the fall.

The massive flooding of the Delta by the Mississippi River will not change the 2011-12 deer season, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks announced yesterday (June 7).

“While the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has the authority to close hunting seasons in emergency situations, closure of deer seasons in the Delta has not been recommended by (MDWFP) Deer Program biologists and is not currently under consideration,” the MDWFP news release read.

The agency readily admits the encroachment of water has displaced deer in the southern portion of the Mississippi Delta and behind the mainline Mississippi River levee, but wildlife managers do not believe the floods has harmed deer populations.

“We have been evaluating the situation along the (Mississippi) river and throughout the south Delta,” MDWFP Deer Program biologist Lann Wilf said. “Once the water recedes, we will be making site visits to properties along the River in order to determine the impacts of flooding on deer abundance.

“However, we expect minimal long-term impacts to deer abundance because flood waters rose slowly, which gave deer time to seek higher ground.”

Historical records have shown that deer escape to higher ground as waters rise, and then follow the receding water back to their home range.

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