MDWFP passes new rule for non-resident turkey hunters

Published 12:00 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

Turkey tourists in Mississippi will need to do a little more prep work this hunting season.

Non-resident hunters are now required to obtain a special public land endorsement in addition to other regularly required licenses, according to a new rule passed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Parks and Fisheries.

Turkey season opens March 15 and ends May 1. The new endorsement is required for all non-residents hunting on open public lands during the first two weeks of the season, from March 15-28.

The endorsement is not required for non-residents hunting on private lands, nor for those visiting Mississippi’s public lands after March 28.

The public lands endorsement is free, but will only be allotted via a special drawing. Registration for the lottery is open from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, online at mdwfp.com. All hunters must also purchase a spring turkey license that costs $50.

Once the application period closes, a drawing will be conducted and winners will be notified by email.
Open public lands include National Forests, Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), National Wildlife Refuges, Corps of Engineers lands, Department of Defense lands, and others that have statewide seasons without other special regulations.

Hunters at Wildlife Management Areas with an existing permit-only season from March 15-28 will still have to apply to those specific WMAs separately, through the traditional process shared by residents.

In a statement announcing the new regulations, the MDWFP said the lottery was instituted because of a spike in the number of out-of-state hunters visiting Mississippi for the spring turkey season.

According to the MDWFP, the number of non-resident licenses sold has doubled since 2019. Most of those were used near the beginning of the season.

“This increased demand, coupled with mounting concerns about the well-being of turkey populations, led Mississippi’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to set forth the new license endorsement as a way of managing pressure on a limited wildlife resource,” the MDWFP said in its statement.