Early velvet buck season set Sept. 16-18

by Sean Dunlap

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has formally set regulations for a newly enacted early velvet buck season set for Friday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Mississippi Legislature, during its 2022 regular session, passed the deer hunting addendum with Gov. Tate Reeves signing the measure into law in April.

House Bill 1035, sponsored by District 44 Rep. Scott Bounds, R-Philadelphia, sets the special hunting cycle to last for at least three days, but not more than five (with specific dates varying each year).

Only archery-related equipment will be permitted for those taking part in the new seasonal hunting addition.

Permitted archery gear includes longbows, recurves, compound bows and crossbows.

There is no minimum or maximum draw weights and no minimum length arrows.

Fixed and mechanical broadheads can also be utilized.

Additionally, a special permit will be required to take part in the hunt, and only bucks that meet antler criteria can be harvested.

MDWFP’s specific rules for the first-of-its-kind velvet buck hunting season in Mississippi, will include:

• Bucks harvested must be reported by 10 p.m. on the day of the kill (via smartphone application or the MDWFP web portal) with hunters submitting a chronic wasting disease sampling.

Hunters will have up to five days to submit the CWD sampling after harvest.

• The hunt will be permitted on private lands only. Officials said bucks are the only deer that can be harvested.

• A special permit will be required for participating in the hunt — $10 for residents (unless exempt or in possession of a lifetime license).

• The special velvet season has a one-buck limit, and animals must meet the minimum antler requirements for the deer management unit.

MDWFP rules state a harvested buck during the early velvet season counts toward the annual antlered deer bag limit.

• Bucks, however, do not have to be in velvet to be legal.

Officials remind the public that the MDWFP app, available in IOS and Android platforms, provides easy access to information and services provided by the agency and features a digital license display, rules and regulations, season dates, game check, bag limits and feeding times.

The state agency’s website is www.mdwfp.com.