2007 Regular Session
To: Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
By: Senator(s) Posey
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-7-31 AND 49-7-41, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE MINIMUM ANTLER SIZE RESTRICTIONS FOR HUNTING DEER; TO FURTHER AMEND SECTION 49-7-41, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY ANNUAL BAG LIMIT ON ANTLERLESS DEER; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-7-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-31. (1) The open season on deer shall be as follows:
(a) With bow and arrow: October 1 through the Friday prior to Thanksgiving.
(b) With guns and with dogs: From the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving through December 1.
(c) With primitive weapons and without dogs: December 2 through December 15.
(d) 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.
(e) The commission shall establish an extended season with primitive weapons and bow and arrow without dogs from February 1 through February 15 for the area south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of Mississippi Highway 35 only for legal bucks. Any antlered deer taken in this area during any open season under this section must be a legal buck as defined in this paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "legal buck" means a deer * * * with a minimum inside spread of ten (10) inches or a minimum main beam length of thirteen (13) inches. The commission may delay the opening date and change the length of bow and arrow season in paragraph (1)(a) in this area.
(f) 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 (b).
(2) The commission may set and regulate the deer seasons on wildlife management areas which it administers.
(3) (a) The commission may 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.
(b) 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.
(c) Nothing in this subsection 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.
(4) The commission may 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.
SECTION 2. Section 49-7-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-41. (1) The commission may set the bag limits for game animals, birds and fish, unless the bag limits are established by the Legislature by statute.
(2) (a) The bag limit on antlered deer is one (1) per day, not to exceed three (3) per license year. An antlered deer must have antlers as prescribed by the commission. The commission shall have plenary authority to establish deer management zones, and adopt bag limit, antler restriction and enforcement regulations to manage deer populations within the deer management zones.
(b) Any antlered deer may be taken by permit when it is necessary to manage deer on lands under the deer management assistance program or wildlife management areas. A written management justification issued by the department * * * must accompany any request for such a permit. Any antlered deer harvested under this permit must be identified with a tag immediately upon possession. Antlered deer taken by permit shall not be subject to the daily bag limit or the annual bag limit on antlered deer. The department shall include a report on permits issued, to whom issued and deer harvested in the department's annual deer program report.
(3) (a) The bag limit on antlerless deer is one (1) per day, not to exceed five (5) per license year. * * * Antlerless deer may be taken only in the areas prescribed by order of the commission. It is illegal to take a spotted fawn in any season.
(b) It is unlawful for a nonresident to kill an antlerless deer except: (i) a nonresident may take antlerless deer on lands that the title is vested in the nonresident or on lands that the nonresident has leased the hunting and fishing rights; or (ii) a nonresident who has a native son or daughter nonresident lifetime sportsman license or a resident lifetime sportsman license may take antlerless deer on private lands, wildlife management areas or national wildlife refuges.
(4) The bag limit on antlerless deer set by this section shall not apply to private lands under the deer management assistance program or the fee-based antlerless program as approved by the department.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.