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  • WMA antler criteria & penalties

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    Like any ethical hunter would do, I let a borderline shooter (a respectable bow kill / I estimated 16 in. wide 8 point w/ 18 in. mainbeams) walk on a WMA (Mahanna) this past January )NOT a shooter by Mahanna's rules. No big deal, but don't get me wrong, I would have loved to harvest the deer.

    Well, after studying the 'WMA report'(on the MDWFP website), It bothered me to see that several deer were taken that seemed to be too small according to the state's rule at Mahanna. Of course the report shows averages, but if you study the statistics, it's clear that several deer were taken that were too small.

    Does anyone know what the penalty is for taking a deer too small on a WMA, according to the state's regulations? A fine? A slap on the wrist? A suspeneded license?...
    Reply
    hmmm
    i don't know, ben but how much to small are you talking? was it just a quarter inch or WAY too small?

    i would think there would be some slack given to a hunter who just missed the cutoff, but like is said I don't know.
    Reply
    checking into it
    Ben, I've shot an email to Chad Dacus with the MDWFP, and will post his answer as soon as I hear back.

    Thanks, bud.
    Reply
    response
    Thanks Andy! I'm really interested to see what he says.

    Shoot em up, it was so close to legal I still question myself as to whether I was a complete idiot for not taking the shot. Like I said, the width of the rack was right at 16 inches, but the mainbeams were not quite 20 from what I could tell, but dang close. Not a lot of mass or tine length though (5-7 inch g2s). I passed on it on the 2nd morning of a 3 day hunt, and was really hoping for a hands down shooter. Of course I didn't get that opportunity and was mad at myself for not taking the shot. But, I sure didn't want to find out the hard way what kind of trouble I'd be in upon chekcing the deer in if it had been shy of the 16/20 rule.
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    Final word
    OK, finally heard back from MDWFP's Chad Dacus, and here's what he had to say:

    'The hunter can be cited for harvesting an illegal animal, violating the WMA regulation and possibly even possession of an illegal animal. All of these are Class 3 violations.'

    He said violation fines range from $25 to $100, plus court costs.
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    response
    Andy, thank you for following up with Chad. I'm glad to hear that MDWFP does penalize the folks who do not respect the antler criteria rules on the WMAs. Hopefully people will read this thread and respect the rules so we can all have better quality deer on our public lands in Ms.
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