Fall ushers in deer, squirrel hunting seasons

Published 1:08 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Saturday was the first official day of fall. The leaves are starting to change color and drop and a cool breeze has returned. Fall brings more hunting opportunities to Mississippi. 

September Teal season ended Sunday and September Canada Goose season will end Saturday but don’t fret. Archery season for deer and squirrel season will open Saturday due to a state statute which requires season openers on Sunday to be pushed back to Saturday. 

Archery season is open from September 30 to November 17 on private and open public lands like Copiah WMA, Sandy Creek WMA and the Homochitto National Forest. Be sure to check local regulations before hunting public lands. 

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Hunters are encouraged by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to take more deer this year due to the drought and forecasted stress conditions. People can donate deer meat to Hunters Harvest to help feed hungry Mississippians through participating deer processors. The donations would take care of those in need and help manage the resource. 

Archery season is one of the busiest times for Team Brakedown Trailing. If you shoot a deer but have trouble finding a blood trail or have difficulty recovering it quickly contact Team Brakedown on Facebook to help in the process. The service is free although they do appreciate tips. Their dogs are able to detect if the deer has been hit or not and can trail a deer without blood. 

The bag limit for deer is three antlered deer per season and five antlerless deer per season. Hunters are encouraged to report deer harvests to aid biologists in managing on a county by county basis but more data is needed to do so. Deer hunters can also help the MDWFP fight Chronic Wasting Disease by submitting samples for testing through local MSU extension offices or participating taxidermists.  

Chasing ole bushy tail

Squirrel season opens Saturday which provides another fun opportunity for hunters to put meat on the table while improving woodmanship. Hunters can use dogs to hunt squirrels, spot and stalk or sit and wait for squirrels. Youth season for squirrels opened Saturday. 

Shotguns and .22 rifles are the most common weapon of choice in hunting ole bushy tail. Shot sizes for squirrels range from No. 6, No. 7 ½ and No. 8. Check regulations for WMAs, National Forest land and National Wildlife Refuge to see if you need to use lead free shot. Squirrel season runs until February 28 with a bag limit of 8 squirrels per day. 

Drought conditions could make the season a challenge but the only way to harvest game is to spend time in the woods. Leaves falling off the trees early this year due to the dry conditions may make it easier to find squirrels in the early season. 

Share your hunting story by emailing pictures to hunter.cloud@dailyleader.com. We encourage you to share any of your favorite recipes and habitat management work as well.