The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) and the National Forests in Mississippi are committed to providing safe recreational experiences for all users. Growing demands for recreational trails, places to hunt, and other outdoor activities have resulted in increased use of wildlife management areas and National Forests. Interactions between recreational visitors are occurring more frequently. In response, the MDWFP and National Forests in Mississippi are increasing efforts to raise individual awareness by providing tips to our visitors. Please follow these tips to ensure a safe visit for yourself and others and “Live to Play Another Day”.
Tips for Trail Users
Trail Users: Know local hunting seasons—Specific dates for hunting seasons vary year-to-year and also by type of game hunted and weapon used. Small-game seasons (dove, squirrel, rabbit, etc.) stretch from September through February. Deer seasons generally occur from October through January or mid-February. Turkey seasons usually run from mid-March through the beginning of May. Learn the regulations and hunting seasons for the areas where you will be recreating before you go. See www.mdwfp.com for specific information.
Trail Users: Wear hunter orange—Wear a hunter orange hat and vest (and pack cover if backpacking), or hooded outerwear when out in fall, winter, and spring. Horse riders should make or buy brightly colored rump sheets for their horses.
Trail Users: Other clothing tips—Avoid wearing colors that could be mistaken for game animals—white or brown during deer seasons; red or blue during turkey seasons.
Trail Users: Be heard—Make sure you are heard before you are seen by whistling, singing, talking, etc., while on a trail. Tie small bells to your stirrups.
Trail Users: Communicate—Conflicts between hunters and trail riders seem to be relatively rare. If you meet hunters tell them your planned route. Try to keep the communication open.
Trail Users: Avoid peak hunting times—Avoid riding at peak times such as the opening day of a particular hunting season or early mornings/late afternoons.
Trail Users: Try to avoid known hunting areas—If possible, use trails located outside of state WMAs during peak hunting periods.
Tips for Hunters
Hunters: ID your Target––Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond it. Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars!
Hunters: Don’t Shoot––Across roads, trails or waterways. These areas may be occupied by people.
Hunters: Avoid––Avoid alcohol and medications that may impair judgment before or while handling firearms.
Hunters: Educate yourself––Obey all the rules of firearm safety and insist that those around you do the same.
Hunters: Know where trails are—National Forest trail maps can be obtained at U.S. Forest Service ranger district offices. WMA maps located at WMA visitor permit stations include maps showing trails on the areas.
Hunters: Be alert for trail users and make your presence known to them—Trail users may be unfamiliar with hunting. Trail users may not be aware of hunting seasons or that they are in or near areas open to hunting. Trail users may not be wearing hunter orange. Please use appropriate caution and communicate openly.
The websites below contain additional related information that visitors might find useful.
Leave No Trace:
International Hunter Education
National Forests in Mississippi
100 West Capitol Street, Suite 1141
Jackson, MS 39269
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks
1505 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
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