Laws governing hunting in the State of Mississippi are not as complex as they are in other States. Thus a hunter can get out on the field, take game and go home to legally enjoy it a lot more expeditiously than in other parts of America. This article is designed to make the process even easier by summarizing most of the important information pertaining to hunting in the Magnolia State into an easy-to-read document, complete with numerous links to official Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (MDWFP) documentation that will give hunters required supplementary information. Furthermore, we have featured a number of hunting guides, outfitters and lodges in the State of Mississippi who are also there to assist gamesmen in achieving a fruitful excursion.
How to Apply for a Mississippi Hunting License
Mississippi hunting licenses can be purchased online at the MDWFP’s Purchase Hunting and Fishing Licenses webpage. Basic requirements include a valid driver’s license, as well as completion of hunter education for those upon whom such is mandatory. Accepted forms of payment are all major credit and debit cards.
Who Is Eligible for a Mississippi Hunting License
Residents hunters within the age range of 16 to 64 are required to be licensed. So are all nonresident hunters aged 16 and above. Hunters who happen to be below the age of 16, both resident and nonresident, are not required to be licensed. However, the State does recommend that resident hunters within this age group purchase the voluntary Youth Exempt Hunting License.
Where to Hunt in Mississippi
Land in Mississippi is primarily privately-owned. Despite this, there are still a number of public venues that the MDWFP recommends to hunters. Foremost amongst these are one of their numerous Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). There are over 50 WMAs in Mississippi which collectively comprise almost 700,000 acres of land.
The federal government also has public lands available to hunters, including national forests and national wildlife refuges. Recommended areas amongst these include Delta National Forest and Saint Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Then there is the US Army Corps of Engineers, who open their lands in the State up to selective public hunting.
However, since such a high percentage of Mississippi’s lands are indeed private, a hunter may be feel the need to utilize such instead of public areas. Under such circumstances, the MDWFP recommends that sportsmen get the official, written consent of the landowner by having him or her fill out a Mississippi Courtesy Card. Hunters must carry this document with them when they are utilizing private lands, and the proprietor is advised to possess a copy also. Sportsmen should also note that there can be variations between hunting seasons on public lands and those of their private counterparts.
General Hunting Regulations
Below are a few of the general rules and regulations which govern hunting in the State of Mississippi. For a more-complete list of Mississippi hunting laws, hunters are advised to visit the MDWFP’s official website.
- Headlights cannot be used to hunt deer at night.
- Migratory game birds can be legally hunted from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. For all other species (except those listed below) it is 30 before sunrise ’til 30 minutes after sunset.
- The hunting of certain species (beavers, bobcats, foxes, opossums and raccoons) is permissible at night, including with the use of headlights. However, this rule is not in effect during Spring turkey season.
- Dogs cannot be used to hunt turkey. However, they can be utilized during certain seasons in the pursuit of deer.
- Firearms cannot be used within the vicinity of public roads, railroads, etc.
- Deer hunters must wear solid fluorescent orange during firearm deer seasons.
- Unlike many other States, the immediate family members of landowners are not exempt from acquiring a license to hunt on the land of their relatives. Landowners themselves must be residents in addition to holding the title to the land in order to be free from having to purchase a license to hunt thereupon.
- Live animals cannot be used as bait or decoys.
- Any hunter intending to pursue migratory game birds is by law required to participate in the in the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey.
Mississippi Hunting Seasons
Below is a summation of the hunting seasons for major game species in the State of Mississippi.
Deer may be the most-popular game species in Mississippi, and the whole latter third of the year can be dedicated to their legal pursuit. They also have seasons during the very-early part of year. On the other hand, turkey can be hunted in both Spring and Fall yet for relatively-brief periods shortly before the middle of the year and just prior to Thanksgiving, respectively.
Squirrels can be hunted almost year-round, with the exception of Summer. Rabbits and bobwhite quail seasons overlap and collectively encompass the Fall and Winter. Frogs can be hunted during the middle half of the year, and raccoon season ranges from Summer to early Fall. Bobcats, opossums and raccoons share common seasons, one brief period in Fall and another that encompasses most of Fall and Winter.
Migratory Game Birds & Waterfowl
Those who like hunting migratory birds or waterfowl will find that Mississippi has a lot to offer. These are brant, coots, crows, doves, gallinules, mergansers, moorhens, raccoons, snipe, teal, woodcocks and different types of geese and of course ducks, which are very popular in this part of the country. Their respective seasons vary but generally occur during Fall and the earlier parts of Winter.
There is no closed hunting season on private property for species classified as nuisance animals. This group includes beavers, coyotes, feral hogs, foxes, nutrias and skunks. Furthermore, these nuisance animals can be hunted during any time of the day and using any means of take.
Mississippi Hunting Guides & Outfitters
Hunting guides and outfitters are some of the few people who have dedicated their lives to pursuing animals. We have featured a brief list of such professionals below. Hunters who may need their services are advised to visit the respective hyperlinks or conduct their own search for someone to direct and assist during expeditions.
- Black Creek Outfitters
- Cattail Lodge
- Circle M Plantation
- Delta Ducks
- Ducks Unlimited (directory)
- Guidefitter (directory)
- Mossy Island Outfitters
- Quail Ridge Lodge
- Tallahatchie Ducks
- White Oak Hunting Services
Hunting Lodges in Mississippi
Mississippi is fortunate to have many of the popular game species which encourage sportsmen to get out of the home and out into the field. However, a hunter is going to need a place to lodge while there, ideally at a habitation dedicated to his/her craft. Below you will find a short list of institutions in Mississippi that are dedicated to providing such services.
Reporting Hunting Harvests in Mississippi
Unlike most other States, Mississippi does not require hunters to tag and register the harvest of big game. However, during the year, any licensed hunter can be contacted by telephone and asked to participate in random surveys that allow the State to mine hunting data.
Anyone familiar with hunting laws in other States will notice while doing research on Mississippi’s that they are relatively-lax when it comes to such statutes. As such it is a very hunter-friendly State. Thus anyone who is interested in hunting and may find themselves in the southern United States should strongly consider Mississippi as the destination of their next excursion, especially if they desire a hassle-free big game or duck hunting experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is the validity period of a hunting license in Mississippi?
A. Unlike other States whose licenses tend to expire on a specific day regardless of when it was purchased, Mississippi hunting licenses are valid for one year from the exact date they were purchased on.
Q. What is the price difference between hunting licenses for residents and nonresident of Mississippi?
A. MDWFP-issued hunting licenses are moderately priced for residents of their home state. However, for nonresidents, the same can cost exponentially higher.
Q. What qualifies a hunting license applicant as a resident of Mississippi?
A. A resident of Mississippi is a person who is permanently domiciled in the State of Mississippi. Students with a valid ID from a college or university as well as active military personnel stationed in the State are also considered as residents. Note that a person cannot be a permanent resident of two States simultaneously.
Q. Does Mississippi allow the use of electronic-calling devices for hunting?
A. Yes. However, they can only be used to hunt crows and nuisance animals.
Q. I noticed that bears are not on the list of big game. Are they not present in Mississippi?
A. There are actually two types of black bear that call the State of Mississippi their home. However, they are both legally endangered, meaning that it is unlawful to hunt them.
Q. I also heard that there are alligators in Mississippi. Are they legal quarry?
A: Yes. However, a special permit is needed to take them, and their seasons also fluctuate from year-to-year.
Q. Is falconry permissible in Mississippi?
A. Yes. If you are interested in practicing this sport in the Magnolia State, please visit the MDWFP’s Falconry Program webpage.
Q. When applying for a hunting license, who is required to first complete recognized Hunter Education?
A. All applicants who were born after 31 December 1971 are required to have successfully completed Hunter Education in order to be licensed.