With deer season over for most Mississippians — yeah, you guys down in the southeast boot heel can keep chasing whitetails through the middle of the month — and duck season done, too many hunters begin packing up their gear for the long off season.
But, whoa Nellie, wait a minute. It’s not quite time to put it all away, and that includes even the long guns.
Not even close.
“My camp is overrun with pigs, so I just keep on hunting every chance I get,” said Gary Rainer of Vicksburg. “We’ve got some work to do thinning those dang things out. I think we whacked about 20 or 25 during deer season, but honestly, we need to get three times that before we quit, maybe more.”
Ollie Thomas of Brandon has another animal on his mind.
“I’m still putting up squirrels for the year, filling my freezer with enough to get me through the summer,” said Thomas, an avid squirrel hunter who looks the part. He admits to being 6-foot-4, and to weighing all of 150 pounds — the man is thin.
“You walk as much as I do hunting the tree rats, and you don’t have to worry about being overweight,” he said. “I bet I started the season in October weighing 160. But now, I can get serious about it. With the deer hunters gone, there’s a lot more ground I can cover, a lot of ground I can get access to now those folks have call it quits.”
And, then there’s Paul Rivers of Meridian, who eagerly enters February with a pack of beagles in prime shape to run rabbits “three or four days a week.”
“We’ve been rabbit hunting about once, maybe twice a week since October, just enough to give the dogs a chance to get in tip-top shape,” he said. “Now that deer season is over, we’ll be turning them loose almost every day. Between me and my pals, we’ve got 25 good dogs we can alternate day-in and day-out, so we can go. We are completely booked up by hunting clubs who have invited us to come to their land and hunt. Yes sir, a team of rabbit men with good dogs get pretty popular come February.”
Wing shooters aren’t left out of the monthly equation either, with quail, snipe, and crow seasons hitting their peaks, and the conservation order season on light geese opening again.
That covers hunting, but let’s not overlook fishing. February can be a great month to put a variety of species in the boat, frying pan or freezer. The water may be cold, but the fish know what’s ahead — the spawn — and will take advantage of any opportunity to grab an easy meal.
February’s hunting seasons
- Deer: Limited to the Southeast Zone (south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of Mississippi Highway 35), archery and primitive weapon season open through Feb. 15 for legal bucks only. Weapon of choice allowed on private land.
- Squirrel: Open statewide through Feb. 28 (daily limit 8).
- Rabbit: Open statewide through Feb. 28 (daily limit 8).
- Raccoon, bobcat, and opossum: Open statewide through Feb. 28 (no limit).
- Bobwhite quail: Open statewide through March 6 (daily limit 8).
- Snipe: Open statewide through Feb. 28 (daily limit 8)
- Crow: Open statewide through Feb. 28 (no limit).
- Special duck: limited to youth (15 and under), veterans and active military only; Feb. 6-7 (regular season daily limits apply).
- Light goose conservation order: Feb. 1-5 statewide and Feb. 8-March 31 statewide (no limit; visit MDWFP.com for regulations).
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