Hunting in Mississippi offers an array of exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From turkeys and deer to alligators, the state boasts diverse game animals that attract hunters from near and far. However, before embarking on any hunting adventure, it is essential to be familiar with Mississippi’s hunting regulations, licenses, and permits to ensure a safe and legal hunting experience.
Mississippi offers an abundant and diverse range of hunting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The state’s lush landscapes, forests, and wetlands provide a natural habitat for various game animals, making it a favorite destination for hunters seeking a thrilling and rewarding experience.
Mississippi Hunting Regulations
Before heading out on any hunting excursion in Mississippi, it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the state’s hunting regulations, laws, and requirements. The Mississippi Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) defines hunting as the taking, trapping, pursuing, searching, shooting, stalking, killing, and snaring of wildlife, games, and fishes protected by the state.
It is essential to know and adhere to these regulations to ensure ethical and responsible hunting practices.
Reporting Hunting Accidents
Hunters must be aware of the rules surrounding hunting accidents. If a hunting accident involving a firearm results in personal injury or property damage exceeding $100, it must be reported within 12 hours. The accident should be reported to the local sheriff’s office, local conservation office, or the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources during office hours.
License and Permit Requirements
Hunters in Mississippi must carry a valid hunting license while on public or private hunting lands. They are required to show the license or any valid permit, tag, and stamp to peace officers or landowners upon request. The license can be in physical or electronic form for convenience.
Possession and Storage of Game Animals
Hunters must adhere to the bag limits set for each game animal they legally obtain with a valid license. For instance, for deer hunting in Mississippi, hunters are allowed to possess up to 25 pounds of deer meat, known as venison, as long as it was taken legally during the hunting season.
Use of Communication Devices
It is prohibited to use 2-way communication devices to direct hunters, stalk, or locate the movement and position of game animals. However, there are exceptions for coyote hunting and falconers with valid permits.
Hunters can possess games lawfully taken from other states and lawfully imported into Mississippi if they can provide proof of legal acquisition. There are certain exceptions for big games.
Retrieving and Wasting Games
Hunters are required to make an effort to retrieve game animals they injure while hunting. It is also prohibited to abandon any usable portion of game animals after taking them.
Transportation of Hunting Firearms
There are specific regulations regarding the possession and transportation of firearms on Mississippi public highways. Firearms must be carried in compliance with state laws to ensure safety and legal compliance.
Hunting Near Buildings
Hunting game animals within 200 yards of residential buildings or buildings containing feedlots and domestic livestock is prohibited unless permission is obtained from the landowner or tenant living in the building.
Open Carry and Conceal Carry
Hunters can open carry firearms while hunting in Mississippi, including during bow hunting. However, for concealed carry while hunting, a state permit is required.
Mississippi Hunter Harassment Laws
Mississippi has strict hunter harassment laws to protect hunting activities. Deliberately interfering with licensed hunting activities, disturbing animals in the wild, harassing hunters, or trespassing on private or state-owned property for hunting without permission is strictly prohibited.
Mississippi Hunting License, Permits, and Tags
Hunting licenses, permits, and tags in Mississippi are issued based on the residency and age of the applicant. Different licenses and permits cater to various hunting preferences and game animals.
Residents License and Permits
- Sportsman License: Includes turkey hunting in the fall and spring seasons, use of hunting weapons and archery, and freshwater fishing. Cost: $45.
- All Game Hunting and Fishing License: Includes access to turkey hunting in the spring season. Cost: $25.
- Archery, Crossbow, and Primitive Hunting Weapons Permits: Allows the use of archery, crossbows, and primitive weapons in various hunting seasons. Cost: $14.
- Wildlife Management Area Permits: Provide access for resident hunters to take games in Mississippi WMAs. Cost: $15.
- Small Game Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License: Allows resident hunters to take small game animals and harvest fish in freshwater. Cost: $10.
- Apprentice Sportsman License: For resident hunters without a hunter certification course completion, allowing them to hunt under supervision. Cost: $32.
- Apprentice All Games License: Similar to the regular All Games and Fishing License for apprentice hunters. Cost: $17.
- Apprentice Small Game License: Similar to the regular Residents Small Game License for apprentice hunters. Cost: $13.
- 3 Days Sportsman Apprentice License: For resident hunters without a hunter certification course completion, allowing them to hunt under supervision for three days. Cost: $32.
- Trapping License: Allows Mississippi residents to set traps on legal hunting lands in the state. Cost: $25.
Non-residents Hunting Licenses
Non-resident hunters can apply for licenses catering to their specific hunting preferences.
- Non-residents All Games Hunting License: Allows non-residents to hunt all games in Mississippi. Cost: $300.
- 7 Days Non-residents All Games Hunting License: Allows non-residents to hunt all games in Mississippi for seven days. Cost: $125.
- 3 Days Non-residents All Games Hunting License: Allows non-residents to hunt all games in Mississippi for three days. Cost: $125.
- Youth All-Game Hunting License: Allows non-resident youths to hunt all games in Mississippi. Cost: $110.
- 7-Day Youth All-Game Hunting License: Allows non-resident youths to hunt all games in Mississippi for seven days. Cost: $75.
- Wildlife Management Area Permits: Provide access for non-resident hunters to take games in Mississippi WMAs. Cost: $30.
Mississippi Hunting Seasons
Mississippi’s hunting seasons are carefully planned based on the game animals and the type of hunting weapon or firearm used. Here are some of the hunting seasons for various wildlife in Mississippi:
Alligator Hunting Season
- General Hunting Season (Hunting in Public Waters: August 28th to September 7th. Hunting in Private Lands: August 30th to September 21st)
Alligator hunting requires special permits issued by the state. A lottery system determines the selected hunters and mandatory alligator hunting training is required for those drawn. The minimum age for alligator hunting applications is 16 years old.
Deer Hunting Season
- Archery Hunting Season: October 1st to November 20th
- Youth Gun Hunting Season: November 7th to November 20th and November 21st to January 31st
- Firearms Hunting Season: November 21st to January 20th
- Primitive Weapon Hunting Season: (Antlerless: November 9th to November 20th, Others: January 21st to February 15th)
Deer hunting in Mississippi is divided into three zones – Western Mississippi, Middle Mississippi, and Southeast – each with specific dates and hunting regulations. Hunters are encouraged to check the state wildlife, fishery, and park website for zone-specific information.
Turkey Hunting Season
- Fall General Hunting Season: October 15th to November 15th
- Youth Spring Hunting Season: March 8th to March 14th
- General Spring Hunting Season: March 15th to May 1st
Fall turkey open season on private lands requires a special permit for legal hunting.
Small Games Hunting Season
- Rabbits Hunting Season: October 17th to February 28th
- Bobwhite Quail Hunting Season: November 26th to March 6th
- Raccoon Hunting Season: July 1st to September 30th
- Opossum Hunting Season: October 1st to October 31st and November 1st to February 28th
- Fall Squirrel Open Season: October 1st to February 28th
- Spring Squirrel Season: May 15th to June 1st
- Youth Squirrel Season: September 24th to September 30th
Specific hunting seasons, bag limits, and regulations vary based on game animals and their respective seasons. For detailed information, hunters are encouraged to visit the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website.
Mississippi Wildlife, Games, and Fishes
Mississippi’s abundant wildlife includes various game animals, making it a haven for hunters seeking diverse hunting experiences.
Deer hunting is a popular activity in counties close to the Mississippi River. The most fertile land areas, such as the delta and batture regions, provide abundant deer for hunting.
Alligators are well distributed throughout Mississippi, with significant populations in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and even in northern regions like Coahoma and Tunica counties.
The best duck hunting spots in Mississippi are wetland habitats far from human habitation. Wildlife refuge areas with lakes, rivers, and ponds provide ideal locations for duck hunting.
The eastern wild turkey is the most common turkey species found in Mississippi, particularly in the eastern part of the Mississippi River.
Hog hunting is prevalent across the state, with hotspots in the southeast, southwest, and delta regions.
Mississippi Shooting Ranges for Hunting
Mississippi offers several shooting ranges for hunters to hone their skills and practice responsible firearm use. Some of the shooting ranges accessible to the public include Bar 3 Ranges, Bullz-I Shooting Range, DeSoto District Ranges (US Forest Service), Gulfport Police Range, Hwy 583 Pistol & Rifle Range, Lake Gep Skeet Club, The Bullet Hole Indoor Range, Precision Shooting Center, Lloyd Eaton Firing Range, and more.
Mississippi Hunting Lands for Lease and Sale
For hunters looking to explore different territories, Mississippi offers various hunting lands for lease and sale. These lands present opportunities to experience new hunting environments and discover diverse game animals.
Some examples of hunting lands available in Mississippi for lease and sale include properties in Vicksburg, Natchez, Port Gibson, Louin, Soso, Falkner, Greenwood Springs, Bentonia, Itta Bena, Corinth, Raleigh, Fulton, Drew, and more. Each location offers unique hunting experiences and varying landscapes.
Mississippi’s diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife make it a sought-after destination for hunters. However, hunters must be well-informed about the state’s hunting regulations, licenses, and permits to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. By respecting these guidelines and practicing ethical hunting, hunters can embark on thrilling adventures in the heart of Mississippi’s wilderness.
Q1. Do I need a license to hunt in Mississippi?
Yes, hunters must obtain a valid hunting license before engaging in any hunting activities in Mississippi.
Q2. What are the most common game animals to hunt in Mississippi?
Mississippi offers hunting opportunities for a variety of game animals, including deer, alligators, turkeys, ducks, and hogs.
Q3. Are there special seasons for hunting different game animals?
Yes, Mississippi has specific hunting seasons for various game animals, and they vary depending on the species and hunting weapon used.
Q4. Can non-residents hunt in Mississippi?
Yes, non-residents can hunt in Mississippi by obtaining non-resident hunting licenses for their desired game animals.
Q5. What are some popular shooting ranges in Mississippi?
Popular shooting ranges in Mississippi include Bar 3 Ranges, Bullz-I Shooting Range, and DeSoto District Ranges, among others.