2005 Regular Session
To: Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
By: Representative Robinson (84th), Peranich
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-7-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE NUTRIA FROM THE FUR BEARING ANIMAL CLASS; TO AMEND SECTION 49-7-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW NUTRIA TO BE TRAPPED AT ANYTIME; TO AMEND SECTION 49-7-59, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW THE TAKING OF NUTRIA AT NIGHT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-7-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-1. For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions and interpretations shall govern unless otherwise provided:
(a) The following wild animals are classed as game: bear, white-tailed deer, rabbits and squirrels.
(b) The following wild animals are classed as fur-bearing animals: muskrats, opossums, otters, skunks, weasels, minks, raccoons * * * and bobcats; all others shall be deemed predatory animals.
(c) All freshwater fishes in the following families are classed as game fish: Sunfish family (Centrarchidae) - including largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus), white crappie (Pomoxis annularis), black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), bluegill (Lepomis macrochiris), warmouth (Lepomis gulosus), green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis), redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) and shadow bass (Ambloplites ariommus); Perch family (Percidae) - including walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), sauger (Stizostedion canadense) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens); Pike family (Esocidae) - including redfin pickerel (Esox americanus americanus), grass pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus), chain pickerel (Esox niger); Temperate bass family (Moronidae) including - white bass (Morone chrysops), yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis), striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and hybrid striped bass (Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis and/or Morone saxatilis x Morone chrysops).
The following fishes are classed as nongame gross fish: in the Herring family (Clupeidae) - gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense); in the Catfish family (Ictaluridae) - channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus), flathead catfish (Pylodictus olivaris), yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis), black bullhead (Ameiurus melas), brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus); in the Gar family - spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus), shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus), alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula); in the Eel family (Anguillidae) - American eel (Anguilla rostrata); in the Bowfin family (Amiidae) - bowfin (Amia calva); in the Paddlefish family (Polyodontidae) - paddlefish (Polyodon spathula); in the Minnow family (Cyprinidae) - common carp (Cyprinus carpio); in the Sucker family (Catostomidae) - river carpsucker (Carpoides carpio), quillback (Carpoides cyprinus), highfin carpsucker (Carpoides velifer), spotted sucker (Minytrema melanops), blacktail redhorse (Moxostoma poecilurum), smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus), bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus), black buffalo (Ictiobus niger); in the Drum family (Sciaenidae) - freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens).
All fishes native to Mississippi that are not classed as game fish or nongame gross fish are classed as nongame fishes.
All fishes native to foreign countries and all fishes native to the United States but not native to Mississippi are classed as nonnative fishes.
(d) The following are classed as game birds: geese, brant and river and sea ducks, rails, coots, sora, snipe, woodcock, sandpipers, tattlers, plovers, wild turkey, quail and doves.
All other species of wild resident or migratory birds are classed as nongame birds.
(e) Closed season: the time during which birds, animals or fish may not be taken.
(f) Open season: the time during which birds, animals or fish may be lawfully taken.
(g) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
(h) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
(i) "Executive director" means the Executive Director of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
SECTION 2. Section 49-7-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-31. (1) The open season for game birds and game animals shall be as follows:
(a) On bobwhite quail: The season shall open on Thanksgiving Day and run through the first Saturday in March next following.
(b) On pheasant: There shall be no open season on pheasant.
(c) On wild turkey: The commission may fix the spring season between March 1 and May 15. In addition, the commission may fix special fall either-sex seasons.
(d) On squirrel:
(i) Zone 1: For areas north of Highway 82 plus those portions of Sunflower County and Washington County south of Highway 82 the season shall open on the Saturday nearest October 1 and run through February 28.
(ii) Zone 2: For areas between Highway 82 and Highway 84, plus such portions of the state south of Highway 84 and west of Interstate 55, the season shall open on the Saturday nearest October 15 and run through February 28.
(iii) Zone 3: For areas south of Highway 84 and east of Interstate 55 the season shall open on the last Saturday in October and run through February 28.
(e) On deer:
(i) With bow and arrow: October 1 through the Friday prior to Thanksgiving.
(ii) With guns and with dogs: From the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving through December 1.
(iii) With primitive weapons and without dogs: December 2 through December 15.
(iv) With guns and without dogs: December 16 through December 23. However, the commission may allow hunting statewide or in specific areas with any legal weapon which it may designate without dogs after the end of the last season for hunting deer with guns and with dogs, but the season with legal designated weapons and without dogs shall not extend beyond January 31.
(v) With guns and with dogs: December 24 through a date fixed by the commission that will provide a total of thirty-nine (39) days of hunting deer with guns and with dogs when added to the number of days provided for hunting deer with guns and with dogs in paragraph (e)(ii).
(vi) When hunting deer during any gun season on deer, a hunter must wear in full view five hundred (500) square inches of solid unbroken fluorescent orange.
(vii) In order to set and regulate the deer seasons, the commission may:
A. Set and regulate the deer seasons on wildlife management areas which it administers;
B. Allow the harvesting of antlerless deer in the districts or zones upon the recommendation of the executive director based upon good and substantial quantitative data and research evaluations that demonstrate that the harvesting is necessary to properly manage the herd. The commission, only upon the recommendation of the executive director, may allow the harvesting of antlerless deer during the deer season with guns and with dogs by a majority vote of the commission. Nothing in this section prohibits the harvesting of either-sex deer by landowners or leaseholders on private lands under a deer management program prescribed or approved by the executive director.
C. Provide a special permit for the harvesting of deer when they are depredating and destroying crops. The department shall supervise the harvesting and provide for the salvaging of the meat of the animals. The commission may authorize the department to assist any farmer in this state, who sustains crop damage by wildlife, in eradication of the problem wildlife.
(viii) The commission shall establish a special hunting season for youth under the age of sixteen (16) and for handicapped persons in the Natchez State Park. The commission shall also establish a primitive weapon season in the Natchez State Park. The selection of participants in the primitive weapon season shall be by public drawing from all qualified applications. The commission shall set the number of permits to be issued and the length of the special seasons. The commission may also establish a special hunting season for youth and handicapped persons or a primitive weapon season as provided in this subparagraph in any other state park under the jurisdiction of the department but shall only do so upon the recommendation of the staff of the department as approved by the commission. The commission shall select participants and set the number of permits to be issued and the length of the special seasons in the manner provided in this subparagraph.
(ix) The commission may establish and regulate special youth hunts for all nonmigratory game birds and animals outside of the open season on wildlife management areas and on private lands.
(f) On fur-bearing animals: The commission may fix the open season on fur-bearing animals between November 1 and March 1 next following and fix the open season for hunting opossums, raccoons and bobcats with dogs and guns by licensed hunters from October 1 to February 28 next following; but raccoons and bobcats may be run, hunted, chased or pursued throughout the year with dogs by licensed hunters. The commission may establish an additional open season on raccoon from July 1 through October 1, and the bag limit on raccoon during the additional open season shall be one (1) per party, per night.
(g) On rabbits: The season shall open on the Saturday nearest October 15 and run through February 28 next following, and when rabbits are depredating or destroying crops, the owner of the crops or his tenants may shoot the rabbits with guns.
(h) On predatory animals: The hunting of predatory animals shall be restricted to the open seasons for hunting any game animal or game bird, using only the firearms, ammunition, primitive weapons or archery equipment legal for use during that open season. Landowners, agricultural leaseholders or their designated agents may take predatory animals year-round on lands owned or leased by them. The taking of any animal or animals other than beavers, nutria or coyote by the use of a trap or traps is unlawful except during the time the season is open for the taking of fur-bearing animals. Fox and coyote may be run, chased or pursued with dogs except as provided in Section 49-7-32 year-round by licensed hunters.
(i) On migratory birds: The open season for migratory birds shall be the season prescribed by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty regulations.
(j) It is unlawful to trap fox after the closed season for trapping of other fur-bearing animals, except on property owned or leased by the person trapping.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the open season for game birds and game animals shall be stabilized unless some unforeseen calamity affecting the resource necessitates earlier change.
SECTION 3. Section 49-7-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-59. (1) It is unlawful for any person to hunt any wild animal or wild bird during the night from one-half (1/2) hour after sunset to one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise, either with or without the use of a light, except:
(a) Beavers, bobcats, fox, opossums, nutria and raccoons; and
(b) Coyotes by a landowner, agricultural leaseholder or his designated agent on lands owned or leased by the owner or leaseholder.
(2) The commission shall prescribe the weapons that may be used to hunt game under this section.
(3) A violation of this section is a Class II violation and is punishable as provided in Section 49-7-143.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.