Remember changes to deer bag limits

Mississippians in most areas will have more opportunities to take deer this season, thanks to some changes in regulations; however, in the flood-stricken South Delta Zone, hunters will have fewer opportunities as the herd and habitat recover from more than eight months of backwater flooding.

For antlered deer, the limit on bucks remains one per day, not to exceed three per season, except for South Delta Zone, where the limit is two per season.

The big change for bucks is that all hunters may now include one buck of any antler size in his or her three-buck limit on private land or on lands in the Holly Springs National Forest. All other bucks must meet the antler criteria established in the appropriate deer management zone. Hunters ages 15 and under face no antler restrictions on private land and on authorized state and federal lands.

Map showing the drop-off sites for CWD testing.

For antlerless deer, the only major change is that in the South Delta Zone, the annual season limit drops from five to two. On private lands in the Northeast, Delta, East Central, and Southwest Zones the limit on antlerless deer is five per season — there is no daily bag limit, meaning hunters can take as many as they choose any day as long as the season limit is not exceeded.

That is not the case in the Southeast Zone, where the season limit is two per season and the daily limit is one.

On U.S. Forest Service lands, the antlerless bag limit is one per day, not to exceed five per season, except in the Southeast Zone which is two per season/one per day.

Regardless of the area, Mississippi hunters have a lot of opportunity to fill their freezers with venison and, for the luckiest, put another rack or two on the wall.

Mississippi’s 2019-2020 Deer seasons

Delta, Northeast, East Central, South Delta and Southwest Zones:

  • Archery: Open through Nov. 22, but bowhunting is allowed during any open gun season through Jan. 31.
  • Youth: Nov. 9-Nov. 22.
  • Antleress primitive weapon: Nov. 11-Nov. 22, private lands only.
  • Gun, with dogs: Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
  • Primitive weapon: Dec. 2-Dec. 15 (weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license).
  • Gun, without dogs (still season): Dec. 16-Dec. 23.
  • Gun, with dogs: Dec. 24-Jan. 22.
  • Archery/Primitive weapon: Jan. 23-Jan. 31 (weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license).

Southeast Zone:

  • Archery: Open through Nov. 22, but bow hunting is allowed during any open gun season through Feb. 15.
  • Youth: Nov. 9-Nov. 22.
  • Gun, with dogs: Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
  • Primitive weapon: Dec. 2-Dec. 15 (weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license).
  • Gun, without dogs (still season): Dec. 16-Dec. 23.
  • Gun, with dogs: Dec. 24-Jan. 22.
  • Archery/Primitive weapon: Jan. 23-Jan. 31 for either-sex deer; Feb. 1-Feb. 15 legal bucks only (weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license).

Legal buck minimums

Delta, South Delta Zones: Either a 12-inch inside spread OR a 15-inch main beam.

East Central, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast Zones: Either a 10-inch inside spread OR a 13-inch main beam.

Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1222 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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