Cool weather could mean big opening day for hunters

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 16, 2000

When local deer hunters take to the woods Saturday for the opening of the first gun season they should stand an improved chance of at least seeing a deer.

The season for hunting deer with guns and dogs opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 1. The bag limit for bucks is one legal buck per day but no more than three per license year. A legal buck is one with antlers with four points or more and a point is any antler protrusion on which any size ring may be hung. Antlerless deer may be taken on private land and the limit is one per day and no more than three per license year with the provision that two more antlerless deer may be taken with bow and arrow.

“I’m confident about this weekend,” said Bill Thomason, director of the Wildlife Division of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

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Prior to last week there had been little rain and the weather was abnormally warm, poor conditions for hunting. But, in the last week, rain and a cold front moved through Mississippi, giving the possibility of temperatures from the mid-30s to the low-40s for this weekend.

Thomason said the rain caused quite a bit of fresh, green grass to sprout up and the cooler weather should encourage the deer to move around and eat more.

And, Thomason said, Mississippi still has a large deer herd because the drought was not long enough to cause a reduction in the numbers of deer. The main effect of the lack of rain is a reduction in the weight of the deer.

Mississippi’s nearly 134,000 deer hunters normally harvest more than 198,000 deer annually.

Other regulations that must be observed by Mississippi’s hunters include the legal shooting hours of a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset and the law that requires all deer hunters during gun seasons to wear at least 500 inches of unbroken, continuous daylight fluorescent orange. Mesh vests are not allowed.

For many years the law has required all hunters who are between 16 and 64 to have a hunting license and all people born after Jan. 1, 1972 to have a valid hunter safety course certificate before buying a hunting license. The law changed a bit this year and now all young people between 12 years old and 16 must have a valid hunter safety course certificate before they can hunt and all youngsters who are under 12 must be accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter who is at least 21.

The MDWFP has issued an advisory for hunters in the Delta, especially near Rosedale, to watch for bears. There have been numerous sightings in the area, including a pack of 11.