Ready or not the 2022 spring turkey season is almost upon us — and ready or not a few changes have been made to Mississippi’s turkey hunting regulations. Most laws are the same as last season but new statutes regarding the hunting of public lands by out-of-state hunters will take effect.
Season and limit
The season framework remains the same with youth season being March 8 – 14, and the open Spring season is March 15 – May 1. The bag limit is one adult gobbler or one gobbler with a six-inch or longer beard per day, three per season. Hunters 15 years of age and younger may harvest one gobbler of choice that is any age per day and three for the season limit.
The latest regulation change is for public land hunting regarding non-residents. Between March 15 – 28, all non-resident turkey hunters must be drawn before they can hunt public lands. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) will limit the numbers allowed on public lands during this time. This regulation does not apply for private or leased lands, nor does it affect traditional WMA draw hunts.
Non-resident hunters must obtain a special, no-cost Public Land Endorsement in addition to regularly required licenses when hunting open public land during the first two weeks of the season (March 15 – 28). The endorsement will be allotted in limited quantities via a drawing conducted in mid-February and winners will be notified by email.
Non-resident hunters should visit the MDWFP website for the application and more information. The period to apply for the drawing is anytime between Jan. 15 – Feb. 15 via a link on the website under the turkey hunting program page.
Mississippi maintains a reputation as a blue-chip turkey hunting state, which is part of the reasoning behind these new regulations. With an increase in popularity in recent years, non-resident license sales have doubled since 2019. The new license endorsement was established to maintain hunting quality on Mississippi’s limited public lands. MDWFP’s goal is to ensure hunter numbers on public land are realigned closer to historic normal.
Mandatory Game Check was initiated in 2019 and remains the law. It is required for all turkey hunters and is an easy process.
Before you go hunting, obtain a hunting license and the means to report your harvest. There are two types of harvest records that are acceptable — a digital record or a printed form. Digital records may be done through the Game Check feature within the MDWFP app; register in the app and it will be your official harvest record. If you prefer a printed form, it can be found and printed from the MDWFP website under Game Check instructions page.
Hunters are required to start the reporting process whether digital or print before the turkey is moved from its harvest location. Under the app, click Report Turkey button and complete then submit the entry. Don’t worry if there is no cell service, the app will upload the harvest info when cell service resumes. The printed form must be started before moving the turkey and called in or reported online before 10 p.m. on the day of harvest.
Remember the three ways to report:
- MDWFP App
- Online at mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/game-check/
- Call 1-800-BE-SMART
Once the harvest reporting is complete, hunters will receive a confirmation number that should be documented on the harvest report and the app will automatically give the confirmation number on the app report.
Wrapping it up
Every Magnolia State hunter should know and review the latest regulations and pass the info to other hunters. Non-residents—it’s time to apply for the Public Land Endorsement.