Wildlife Management Areas
The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system is expansive and diverse. It includes 53 areas encompassing over a thousand square miles. WMAs are located from the upper edge of the coastal marshes in Jackson County to the lower reaches of the Appalachians in Tishomingo County. They range from the rolling hardwood hills of southwestern Mississippi to the deep, rich soils of the Delta. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks owns some WMAs and manages many others under memoranda of understanding with the U.S. Forest Service or private corporations. Others are operated through long-term license agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
When most Mississippians think of our WMAs, they think of them primarily as public hunting areas. Public hunting does, indeed, constitute the largest single use of WMAs. While deer hunting is the leading use, at over half of the annual total, there are many other resident and migratory game species available to pursue. Wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, quail, raccoon, opossum, fox, and bobcat are among the resident species traditionally hunted on our WMAs. Ducks, geese, and doves are the most commonly hunted migratory species, but several other migratory game birds may be taken too. Wild hogs are classified as nuisance animals and hunters are encouraged to kill them at any lawful opportunity. Wild hogs may be killed during any open WMA hunting season with weapons and ammunition legal for that season.
Today’s WMAs serve many other roles in addition to public hunting – fishing, primitive camping, wildlife viewing, photography, wildlife research, and nature study, to name a few. The common link among all WMAs is that they provide habitat for wildlife, game and nongame species alike. In certain locations they even lend themselves to management for threatened and endangered species such as the gopher tortoise, yellow-blotched sawback turtle, and red-cockaded woodpecker. The ability to enhance habitats and regulate public use makes WMAs vitally important for maintaining species of special concern.
While our WMAs have something for almost everyone, they cannot be all things to all people. We are ultimately responsible for protecting the public’s wildlife resources, so there must be limits on recreational opportunities we can offer. The ability to formulate regulations for specific areas allows us to offer controlled public use within the limits of these resources. Individual WMA brochures are available from the MDWFP at 1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS 39211-6374, or online at www.mdwfp.com/wma, or the WMA.
NOTE: The MDWFP will assist handicapped users in locating easily accessible areas for hunting on all WMAs.
Wildlife Management Area Permitted Draw Hunts
Permitted draw hunts are used for a variety of species on WMAs to distribute hunting opportunity and pressure while providing higher quality, safer hunting experiences for the public.
To see a list of hunts that are currently open and to submit applications, please visit the WMA permitted draw hunt page at www.mdwfp.com/draws.
Annual application deadline targets are: Early Teal - August 15; Deer - August 31 and Turkey - February 15; Waterfowl - October 15. Typically, applications will be opened online approximately one month prior to the application deadlines.
Permitted hunt drawings are conducted within one week of the close of the application period. Selected hunters are notified by email or may check their status online at the WMA permitted draw hunt page link listed above.
North Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee NWR/North Mississippi Refuges Complex (Coldwater, Dahomey and Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuges) are open from sunrise to sunset. During hunting season, hunters may enter the refuge at 4:00 am and must exit the refuge no later than one hour after sunset.
Hunting and Fishing on the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee NWR/North Mississippi Refuges Complex (NMRC) requires a $15 North Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge Permit (Hunting/Fishing) if you are between the ages of 16-64. The permit can be purchased from any state license vendor or MDWFP website at http://www.mdwfp.com/license/hunting-license.aspx
All hunters and anglers should read and follow the current Hunting and Fishing Regulations. Hunters are required to fill out/display on dash of vehicle a Harvest Data Card. Harvest Data Cards are available at all refuge kiosks.
The following activities are some of the prohibited activities please check the Hunting and Fishing brochure for a complete list:
- Use or possession of alcoholic beverages
- Use or possession of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) or Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs)
- Fires, camping, littering
- Collecting, removing, or damaging any animal or plant, except for those authorized in the Hunting and Fishing Regulations
- All commercial activities including guiding hunts or participating in guided hunts on the Refuge
The current NMRC 2023-2024 hunt brochure can be found on-line at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/pubs/NMissHunt.pdf. The current Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee 2023-2024 brochure can be found on-line at: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/noxubee.