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General Hunting Regulations and Requirements

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Landowner permission is required to hunt, fish, or trap on private lands. MDWFP Wildlife Management Areas are subject to special seasons and regulations which may vary from statewide seasons and regulations. Contact the MDWFP or area personnel (see General WMA Information) for information about these areas.

License and Hunter Education Requirements

For information on license requirements, license exemptions, and hunter education requirements, see General License Information.

Unlawful Purchase of License

Any person who obtains a license under an assumed name or makes a materially false statement to obtain a license is guilty of a felony and shall be subject to a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) and/or may be imprisoned for a term of one (1) year.

Shooting Hours

Legal shooting hours for resident game are one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise to one-half (1/2) hour after sunset. Legal shooting hours for migratory birds are one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise to sunset.

Legal Game

For description of legal bucks, see White-tailed Deer Management Zones. Raccoon, fox, opossum, beaver, nutria, coyotes, and bobcats may be legally hunted at night, with or without the use of a light and with dogs, except during the spring turkey season. Hunters may hunt raccoon with dogs during the spring turkey season with a permit issued from MDWFP. These permits may be obtained at any of the MDWFP Regional Offices.

Landowners, agricultural leaseholders, or their designated agents may take nuisance animals year-round on lands owned or leased by them. Beaver, coyotes, nutria, fox, skunk, and wild hogs are classified as nuisance species and can be taken year round by licensed hunters subject to applicable regulations (see Public Notice LE6-3779).

Weapons and Loads

Legal weapons for hunting from one-half (1/2) hour after sunset to one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise are restricted to handguns or rifles using no larger than .22 standard rimfire cartridges (no. 22 magnums) and shotguns with shot no larger than No. 6.

When hunting migratory birds, a shotgun must be “plugged” so that it can hold no more than three (3) shells at one loading.

The hunting of turkeys during the spring gobbler and fall either-sex seasons shall be restricted to shotguns with shot no larger than No. 2 and compound, recurve, and long bows. However, any quadriplegic may hunt turkey with a rifle; and persons with a Special Crossbow Permit may hunt turkeys with a crossbow.

Decoys and Bait

It is illegal to hunt any wild animal or wild bird with the aid of live decoys or bait. Liquid scents may be used. Electrically operated calling or sound-reproducing devices may be used for hunting crow and nuisance animals. See Public Notice LE6-3779 for information on baiting of nuisance animals. See supplemental feeding of wild animals regulations.

Hunting Dogs

Running of dogs during spring turkey season is allowed only by the exceptions designated in Public Notice LE 3792. Dogs are not allowed for hunting deer during archery season, primitive weapon seasons, or still hunting season. Application for dog field trials must be made to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at least 5 working days before the opening of the trial.

Meaning of “Unloaded”

“Unloaded” means that a cartridge or shell is not positioned in the barrel or magazine of the firearm or in a clip, magazine, or retainer attached to the firearm***; or in the case of a caplock muzzle-loading firearm,”unloaded” means that the cap has been removed; or in the case of a flintlock muzzle-loading firearm, “unloaded” means that all powder has been removed from the flashpan.

Hunting from Roads, Vehicles, and Boats

It is unlawful to hunt or shoot in, on, or across any street, public road, public highway, railroad, or the rights-of-way.

An unloaded muzzle-loading caplock firearm is one with the cap removed. An unloaded muzzleloading flintlock firearm is one with no powder in the flashpan.

It is unlawful to shoot at any wild animal or wild bird from any motorized land vehicle or motorized land conveyance unless the progress from such vehicle or conveyance has completely ceased and the vehicle is out of any public road and off of the right of way. It shall also be unlawful to hunt, chase, take, kill, or pursue any wild bird or wild animal from a motorboat or other watercraft having a motor, unless the motor has been shut off and its progress has ceased; provided that beaver and squirrels may be taken from a boat under power. Deer may not be taken from a boat at any time.

Animal Control Permits

Animal Control Permits may be issued to scare, harass, and/or kill deer that are destroying crops only after an MDWFP officer has inspected the damage and requested the issuance of such permits. To request an officer to inspect your damage, contact the appropriate regional office. Regional office phone numbers can be found in General WMA Information.

Killing Deer Out of Season

If a person is convicted of killing any deer out of season, he may be fined not less than $100 and his license may be revoked for a year by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Headlighting

It is unlawful to hunt deer at night with the aid of a light, lighting device, or light amplifying device. Headlighting deer is a Class I violation and a conviction is punishable by a minimum $2,000 fine and forfeiture of hunting, trapping and fishing privileges for one to three years.

Any equipment used to hunt or kill deer at night with a lighting device that is subject to seizure is considered contraband property and will be seized by the enforcement officer. This equipment is subject to forfeiture and may become property of the State of Mississippi.

A person may be charged for headlighting if he is caught shining lands on either side of a public road with a firearm in the vehicle. An individual who shines the lands on either side of a public road with no firearm in the vehicle may be charged with harassing wildlife. This provision does not apply to normal use of lights while driving, emergency vehicles, landowners, or agricultural leaseholders searching for livestock or lawfully hunting, trapping, or fishing.

Transporting Game

Any game animal, bird, or fish lawfully taken may be possessed at any time. A permit number is required prior to transporting live wild hogs, wild boar, or feral hogs. To obtain a permit number, contact 601-432-2170 (24-hour dispatcher) prior to transporting any live wild hog.

Littering

It is unlawful to throw, dump or otherwise dispose of, any dead wildlife, wildlife parts or waste on roads, rights-of-way of such roads, highways, or upon any private property without the permission of the owner of such property.

Selling of Animals Native to Mississippi

It is unlawful to buy, sell, offer for sale, or exchange for merchandise or other consideration, any game animal, game bird, or game fish (regardless of whether it was taken in or out of Mississippi), except as follows: the skins and sinew of legally taken deer may be bought or sold at any time, products crafted or made from deer bone or antlers not in velvet may be sold, any part of a wild turkey, except the meat may be bought or sold, and any parts of nuisance animals may be bought or sold. The carcasses of raccoons, opossums, and muskrats may be sold for food during the open trapping season, and for 10 days after the close of trapping season. It also is illegal to buy or sell any non-game wildlife native to Mississippi, or any mounted game animals, game birds, or game fish.

Protected Wildlife

All birds of prey (eagles, hawks, osprey, owls, kites, and vultures) and other nongame birds are protected and may not be hunted, molested, bought, or sold. English sparrows, starlings, and blackbirds may be taken according to regulations.

The following endangered species are also protected: black bear, Florida panther, gray bat, Indiana bat, all sea turtles, gopher tortoise, sawback turtles (black-knobbed, ringed, yellow-blotched), black pine snake, eastern indigo snake, rainbow snake, and the southern hognose snake.

Migratory Game Birds

Seasons, limits, and regulations for dove, crow, rail, gallinule, coot, woodcock, snipe, and waterfowl (ducks and geese) will be announced following release of guidelines by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Any person 16 years of age and older must have both a federal waterfowl stamp and a state waterfowl stamp (or proof of electronic purchase of the state stamp) in order to hunt migratory waterfowl (ducks and geese). Exempt landowners and hunters over the age of 65 also must have these stamps when hunting waterfowl. Dove, rail, gallinule, coot, woodcock, crows, and snipe are not classified as waterfowl and may be hunted without such stamps.

All licensed hunters hunting migratory game birds (dove, rail, gallinule, coot, woodcock, snipe, crows, and waterfowl (ducks and geese) must be H.I.P. (Harvest Information Program) certified. H.I.P. certified means taking the Migratory Bird Survey at time of license purchase or separately.

Public Waterways

Public waterways are defined in Miss. Code Ann. §51-1-4, and set forth on a map of public waterways prepared and maintained by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. All citizens of the state of Mississippi and other states, have the right to use the public waterways for free transport, fishing, and water sports. Any person using the public waters of the state does so at his or her own risk. The use of the public waters of the state does not entitle any person to trespass upon any lands adjacent to the stream or waterway. No person using the public waterways may harm or disturb the banks or bed of the stream, nor may any person hunt, fish, or go across any adjacent lands under floodwaters outside the natural banks of the waterway. The right of the public to use the public waterways does not include the use of motorized vehicles (ATV’s, trucks, etc.) on the streambed. Exceptions to this prohibition are set forth in Miss. Code Ann. §51-1-4.

Non-Resident Regulations

It is unlawful for a non-resident to kill an antlerless deer except: on lands that the title is vested in the non-resident, or on lands that the non-resident has leased the hunting and fishing rights. A non-resident who has a native son or daughter non-resident lifetime sportsman license or a resident lifetime sportsman license may take antlerless deer on private lands, wildlife management areas, or national wildlife refuges.

Trapping

Trappers must have permission to trap on any land other than their own. A trapping license is required for anyone 16 years of age or older who traps furbearing and nuisance animals on property other than their own. A trapping license is also required of each assistant 16 years of age or older employed and used by a trapper.

Trappers are required to have an identification number, which is registered with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, attached to ALL traps by a metal tag or permanently inscribed, etched, or stamped on the trap. This identification number is required to purchase a trapping license. Trappers may secure their identification number by contacting the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), 1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS 39211-6374, phone: (601) 432-2170. Any trap found without registered identification will be in violation and subject to removal by a conservation officer.

All traps must be attended at least once during every 36-hour period. No traps may be placed on or set within 100 feet of any street or public road. It shall be unlawful for any person to disturb the traps of another or take animals from them unless authorized by the owner.

The carcasses of raccoons, opossums, and muskrats may be sold for food during the open trapping season and for ten (10) days after the close of trapping season. Only a holder of a valid trapping license is allowed to sell the skins of fur-bearing animals during the open trapping season and ten (10) days after the close of trapping season. Any part of a nuisance animal may be bought or sold year round by licensed hunters or trappers.

It is illegal to trap with the aid of recordings of bird or animal calls, or electrically amplified imitations of calls of any kind. Lure is allowed for trapping furbearers, beaver, nutria, coyote and fox, provided that no more than two and one-half (2.5) cubic inches of such lure may be placed or located within twenty (20) feet of any trap. (The lure amount of 2.5 cubic inches is approximately the volume equivalent of a regulation-sized golf ball.) All lure within twenty (20) feet of any trap must be covered and not visible from above. However, there are no lure restrictions when used inside live-cage type traps that do not exceed forty-two (42) inches in length, fifteen (15) inches in width, and twenty (20) inches in height.

Liquid scents may be used for trapping. Wild hogs may be trapped with the aid of bait subject to Public Notice LE6-3779.

Tagging of Otter and Bobcat

Federal regulations require tagging to account for harvest of bobcat and river otter are in effect. The Commission requires the tagging of bobcat and river otter to account for harvest of these species, which are subject to federal export regulations. Such species, harvested in Mississippi, must be tagged prior to shipping or transporting out of Mississippi. To obtain information on how to purchase and receive federal export CITES tags, you may call (601) 432-2199 or visit the furbearer section of the MDWFP website at www.mdwfp.com.

Note: For pelts or carcasses that will be frozen prior to tagging, it is recommended that an object, such as a wooden dowel or plastic tube of sufficient size, be placed through the eye-hole of pelts or eye-hole and upper lip of carcasses before freezing. When the frozen pelts or carcasses are tagged, removal of the object will provide an opening through which to apply the tag. Frozen pelts should be rolled in a manner which allows easy access to the head area.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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