Youth season opens Nov. 9

The deer hunting emphasis will be on youngsters this weekend as the statewide youth season opens Saturday.
The deer hunting emphasis will be on youngsters this weekend as the statewide youth season opens Saturday.

Special doe-only primitive weapon season starts Monday

Mississippi deer hunters of all ages will soon have more opportunities opening, but it’s the youngsters who get the first shot, at least with a gun.

The youth season on deer, for children aged 15 and under, opens statewide on Saturday. Children can use a weapon of choice during this special season and can take either sex deer on private land and on authorized public lands.

All hunters, with the exceptions of private land in Southeast Zone and all public land, can begin using primitive weapons on Monday. However, during this special early season only anterless deer (does) are legal.

Archery season remains open statewide.

Both the youth and early primitive weapon seasons run through Nov. 22, and the first regular gun season opens the next day (Saturday, Nov. 23) statewide. By then, a lot of camps hope some big bucks go down.

All about the kids

“We’ve got a big weekend planned at our deer camp, with it being all about the children,” said Riley Townsend of Jackson. “We’ve been doing this ever since the youth season was created and it is has become more popular than our regular opening weekend. I’m serious. Our 20 members look forward to this every year to the point that those of us who don’t have young kids any more recruit some to hunt just so we can be a part of it and help youngster who otherwise wouldn’t hunt.

“We bring them in on Friday, cook venison burgers and hot dogs, have a big bonfire and play some games. The kids who get there early enough on Friday we’ll take them to our rifle range and let them shoot. On Saturday, we have a .22 shoot off, and this year we’re even going to have a skeet shoot with .410s.”

Townsend said no stands and no bucks are off limits.

“We’re a family camp and we’re committed to the youth,” he said. “We just want them to feel special and enjoy themselves. Our goal is to develop in them a positive thought about hunting. If it’s a spike and they want to shoot it, good. If it’s a trophy buck, that’s great. If it’s does, heck yeah.”

Primitive weapons

On Monday, the state’s only true primitive weapon season opens, and it appears there’s a 50/50 split among hunters as to participating.

“It’s ridiculous to put us out there with a firearm, any firearm and not give us the right to shoot bucks,” said Ron Jenkins of Brandon. “That’s absurd. I do not hunt during this season although I love to shoot my muzzle-loader, because I always have a doe with a bow by now — this year I have two — so I don’t need the meat and I don’t need the temptation to shoot a big buck if one appears. I’ll keep hunting with a bow and wait for the regular gun season.”

Billy Barnes of Ridgeland doesn’t agree and will be hunting.

“If I’m not working, I will be in the woods with my smoke pole,” he said. “It’s the only true primitive weapon season we have left, since they allow us to use regular guns on private property during other primitive seasons (all after Nov. 30). So, heck yeah, I’m going. I never got into archery because I don’t really have the time for that, so I appreciate the opportunity to take a doe or two.

“In my opinion, there’s no reason to be opposed to it, since you have the option not to participate if you don’t want to. It also provides us more opportunities to take does, and on our place, the recommendation is to kill two for every buck.”

Youth season regulations

  • Who: Children under the age of 16.
  • When: Nov. 9-Nov. 22.
  • Where: Statewide, but only on private lands and authorized public lands.
  • Rules: A child at least 12 years of age and under 16 years of age must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved by the department before hunting alone. Children of that same age may hunt without having the certificate of hunter education if the child is in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 years of age when hunting. All children under the age of 12 must be in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 years of age when the child is hunting.

Early primitive weapon season

  • Who: Hunters of all ages.
  • What: Antlerless deer only, with an approved primitive firearm.
  • When: Nov. 11-Nov. 22.
  • Where: On private lands statewide — this season is not open on public lands or anywhere within the Southeast Zone.

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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