If you're a senior deer hunter in Mississippi and want to hunt some of the state's prime wildlife management areas for big bucks, you're odds of doing that just got better.
The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in its September meeting approved a new draw hunt in the South Delta for hunters 65 years and older and more senior-only opportunities are expected in the future..
"The hunts are January 19th and 20th," said Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Wildlife Bureau director Amy Blaylock. "You're going to have the opportunity to hunt Mahannah or any unit of Phil Bryant.
"I think they are the two most popular WMAs in the state as far as deer draw hunts go. We're going to draw 125 (hunters)."
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What senior hunters need to know
Applicants who are drawn can choose to hunt either of the WMAs, which are connected. The total combined acreage of the two is roughly 30,000 acres. With 125 applicants being drawn, that breaks down to 240 acres per hunter.
Hunters 65 and older may apply in pairs or as individuals. Hunters who apply as individuals may take a guest of any age, but the guest is not permitted to hunt.
Hunters who are drawn are not limited to any particular type of weapon.
"It's weapon of choice," Blaylock said. "It's whatever they want to use; rifle, muzzleloader or archery equipment."
The area is known for big deer and the minimum antler size reflects it. Bucks must have at least a 16-inch inside spread or 20-inch main beams. Hunters may harvest one buck and one doe.
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How to enter the drawing
The application period is scheduled for Nov. 1-15 and interested hunters should apply online at www.mdwfp.com. To enter the drawing, resident hunters must have either a WMA user permit or a senior adult exempt license.
"It gives us a customer ID number to enter into the draw," Blaylock said.
Blaylock said the hunt is limited to two days on two WMAs due to timing. The hunt came at the request of senior hunters attending the August commission meeting. By then, dates for draw hunts had been set and the application process was underway.
In the 2023 season, she said senior hunters can expect expanded opportunities.
"We'll reevaluate it all when we do the regulations in April and May and add a few more, I'm sure," Blaylock said. "We plan on adding a few and having them more spread out across the state."
Contact Brian Broom at 601-961-7225 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Senior-only draw hunt for deer coming to prime Mississippi WMAs