This year marks an end to the traditional deer season structure that has been in place for many seasons.
In the past deer archery season in Deer Management Zone 1 began October 1 and continued exclusively until the deer gun season opened on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. Primitive Weapon Season was then set to open on December 2 and run until December 15.
This year, in an effort to increase opportunities to harvest antlerless deer earlier in the season, the Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Commission established a Special Primitive Weapon/Crossbow hunt to begin November 8 and continue through November 19 on private land and open public land (does not include MDWFP managed WMA’s).
This will allow deer hunters to hunt with equipment that meets the current definition of a primitive weapon (the definition of primitive weapon was expanded this year to include crossbows on private land if a Special or General Crossbow Permit is purchased). A legal deer during this Special Primitive Weapon/Crossbow hunt is limited to antlerless deer only.
The MDWFP Commission also established a Youth Gun Season November 6–19, 2010. Youth (hunters 15 or less) may harvest antlerless deer and legal bucks during this youth season on private and authorized state and federal lands. A Special Archery Hunt was also established to coincide with the deer gun seasons to allow the use of archery equipment November 20, 2010 until January 31, 2011. Both antlerless deer and legal bucks are allowed during the special archery hunt on private land.
Archery hunters are reminded that they are required to wear 500 square inches of hunter orange material while hunting during any open gun season on deer.
The bag limit on deer remains the same as last year, one antlerless deer per day not to exceed five per license year and one legal buck per day not to exceed three per license year (a legal buck in Deer Management Zone 1 is defined as having EITHER a minimum inside spread of 10 inches OR one main beam at least 13 inches.
For youth hunters 15 years of age and younger one of their three buck limit may be any antlered buck while hunting on private land and authorized state and federal lands. If you have additional questions not answered here or need information about other seasons, etc… visit our award winning website www.mdwfp.com  or contact your Regional MDWFP Office.
The Northern Region MDWFP Office is located in Tupelo and may be reached at 662-840-5172. The Mississippi Outdoor Digest is also a great source of information and may be found at your local hunting license agent locations free of charge.
Rabbit season opens statewide
Rabbit Season opened statewide on private lands Saturday and continues until February 28, 2011.
The daily bag limit on rabbits is eight per day. Legal hours for rabbit hunting are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Rabbit hunters are reminded that is illegal to hunt or shoot in, on or across any street, public road, highway, railroad or right-of-ways of any of these.
Although it is not a requirement for rabbit hunters on private lands to wear hunter orange material while hunting I certainly recommend it. Rabbit hunters need to be especially aware of the trespass laws in Mississippi and only hunt on lands where they have been given permission to hunt.
Also, if you hunt with dogs please be considerate of neighboring landowners and attempt to keep them on the property you have permission to be on.
Check your license prior to hunting, especially since the expiration date of hunting licenses now is a year from the date of purchase. A small game hunting license is all that is required to hunt rabbits and if you were born after January 1, 1972, it is required that you complete a hunter education course approved by MDWFP to be able to purchase a license.
Hunter Education Classes are taught free of charge in all Mississippi Counties. For a schedule of classes contact your Regional MDWFP Office or www.mdwfp.com .
Looking forward to sharing thoughts
A big “Thank You” goes out to Brian Hawkins and Danny P. Smith for their commitment to bring this outdoor page into existence for the readers of the Starkville Daily News.
I am happy to be but a small part of this endeavor to inform local sportsmen of upcoming events, activities, pending legislation, regulation changes and educational opportunities related to hunting, fishing and boating in the Golden Triangle area.
Although I am not a journalist by profession, it is my hope to be able to effectively put onto paper for you timely, local interest weekly articles about the outdoor resources that mean so much to each of us.
I fell in love with the outdoors and our natural resources when I was very young and that passion was a source of enjoyment for many years as I grew up hunting and fishing with family and friends in the forest, fields, river bottoms and lakes of Oktibbeha County.
Later, I turned that love of the natural resources into my profession when I became a Conservation Officer with the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks in 1986. I look forward to sharing my passion with you in the upcoming weeks as a guest columnist for the Outdoor Page of the Starkville Daily News.
If you have a question or comment you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Captain Clark McMinn is the North Region Law Enforcement Administrator for the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and a guest columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.