New turkey regulations to be proposed at commission meeting this week

Published 4:30 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

OAKLAND — Turkeys will be the biggest topic of concern at Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commission April meeting. The commission meets once a month and will meet this Thursday at 10 a.m. 

Ron Seiss will present public comments to the board on turkey regulations under the public comment period. His comments will preface turkey program coordinator Adam Butler presenting a series of recommendations for the 2024 turkey season. 

Butler’s recommendations include eliminating the fall season, requiring mandatory physical tagging, potentially adding a turkey stamp and pushing turkey season dates back a few days to line up with gobbling activity. Mississippi currently has the longest turkey season going from March 15 to May 1 and would continue to have the longest turkey season with Butler’s recommendations.

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Brad Pierce of Smithville will present public comment on deer hunting with dogs on private property. Aaron Barton of Barton Outfitters in Oxford is scheduled to present  public comment on fees for fishing guides Thursday. 

Jason Thompson, Director of Administrative Services, will present the license sales report following the public comment period. License sales are crucial to the operation of the MDWFP as 90 percent of the budget is funded through license sales. 

Thompson reported in March that non-resident license sales brought in  $16,687,000 and $7 million of the license sales came from Louisiana hunters. Tennessee was the next state with $1 million in license sales. 

Waterfowl program coordinator Houston Havens will present the 2023-2024 Migratory Bird Season Framework to the commission. Mississippi was recommended to keep the liberal framework of 60 days of hunting and a bag limit of 6 ducks. 

Other proposed rules to watch out for are Rules 1.1 to 1.47 on WMAs. Rules for Deer Seasons and Bag Limits will also be proposed Thursday but deer program coordinator William McKinley said the only thing changing are the shifting of season dates. 

Jerry Brown, director of fisheries, will propose two rules regarding sport fishing regulations and statewide creel limits. He will also present regulations for state fishing lakes. 

Col. Jerry Carter, chief of law enforcement, will present a report on the number of violations in the past month and what the top 5 violations were. At the March meeting, Carter said the top five violations are 130 with no license, 36 trespassing violations, 22 unlawful possession violations, 13 tickets for no boat registration and 11 no personal flotation device violations. He added there were seven boating fatalities recorded in 2022. 

Commission meetings end with people asking for their license to be reinstated. James Smith of Brookhaven is scheduled to appear before the commission and ask for his license to be reinstated.