2013 Regular Session
To: Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
By: Representatives Bounds, Morgan
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-7-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE TAKING OF DEER DURING ANY REGULAR OR SPECIAL SEASON FOR TAKING DEER WITH GUNS BY A HUNTER WITH ANY FIREARM OF CHOICE UPON PRIVATE LANDS VESTED IN THE HUNTER OR UPON WHICH HUNTING RIGHTS HAVE BEEN LEASED TO THE HUNTER; TO PROVIDE THAT IF A LICENSE IS REQUIRED FOR THE TAKING OF DEER UPON PRIVATE LANDS, THE HUNTER SHALL PURCHASE AND HAVE IN HIS OR HER POSSESSION A VALID PRIMITIVE WEAPON PERMIT OR SPORTSMAN'S LICENSE; 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 antlers of four (4) points or more with a minimum inside spread of ten (10) inches or a minimum main beam length of thirteen (13) inches. The commission may regulate the taking of deer with antlers of four (4) points or less under this paragraph for the proper management of antlered deer. The commission may delay the opening date and change the length of bow and arrow season in subsection (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 the deer management assistance 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.
(5) During any regular or special season for taking deer by means of a primitive weapon, as provided in subsections (1) (c), (d) and (e) above, it shall be lawful for a hunter to use a weapon of his or her choice, upon private lands, title to which is vested in the hunter, and/or upon private lands upon which the hunting rights have been leased by the hunter, or a hunting club, of which the hunter is a member. Provided, however that the hunter, if required by law to purchase and possess a hunting license, has purchased either a valid primitive weapon permit or Sportsman's license.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2013.