‘Put the gun up at night,’ commission reminds people to hunt legally

Published 8:40 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

JACKSON — Game Wardens are busy with hunting season in full swing in Mississippi. Chief of Law Enforcement Jerry Carter said officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks issued 378 citations in October. 

Carter shared the top five violations to MDWFP commissioners during the November Commission meeting last Thursday. No-license led the violation category with 76 citations, 21 citations were issued for supplemental feeding, 19 for trespassing, 12 for no WMA permit and 10 for headlighting. 

Six young men stood before the commission to be reinstated for their license after being charged with headlighting deer. People who spotlight lose their gun, are fined thousands of dollars and lose their hunting and fishing license privileges for several years and it doesn’t matter who fired a shot. All November reinstatements were approved but commission chairman Bill Cossar had a special message for the young men. 

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“Put the gun up at night,” Cossar said. “As many deer as we have in this state you should be able to get one during the day time.” 

People shooting from a road at night is not only illegal but also dangerous. Cossar has mentioned several times in the past that spotlighters don’t know what is beyond their target and other dangers associated with shooting in the dark. 

Carter said the cases of spotlighting or headlighting often start by a citizen hearing a gunshot or noticing suspicious activity and reporting it to the MDWFP by calling 1-800-BE-SMART. 

“It wouldn’t happen without the phone calls,” Carter said. “Our guys and girls will come out and enforce the law. We won’t tolerate any illegal activity in our state. We appreciate the help.” 


Out of season

MDWFP commissioners voted to close fall turkey hunting in May at the bequest of the turkey program to enhance winter hen survival. Adam Butler, turkey program manager, pointed to research which showed improved winter hen survival rates could have a positive impact on the turkey population. 

Mississippi’s fall season allowed the legal harvest of hens so closing it was the program’s recommendation last Spring. Someone must have missed out on the memo as Carter read a report on a recent case. 

“Our officers are out in full force. Business is going pretty good,” Carter said. “We received a complaint of someone harvesting turkeys illegally. A gentleman killed them with a .22 rifle. He killed a hen and a jake out of season. He was issued a citation for hunting out of season, no license and using illegal methods of harvest.” 


Slab outlaws sentenced

MDWFP Game Warden Brian Tallent and his partner Martin Evans were recognized by the MDWFP commission for their efforts to catch two men illegally harvesting crappie on Lake Enid. On January 1, 2023, Jian Wu Huang, 50, and Qiu M Huang, 44, both of Lakeland, Tennessee, caught a total of 171 crappie, 141 over the limit of 15 crappie each, while fishing the spillway at Lake Enid. Tallent and Evans arrived on scene and conducted an investigation which led to the two men being sentenced to a total of $10,550 in fines and restitutions after pleading guilty on October 30. 

Jian Wu and Qiu M are not able to fish anywhere in the world or on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Properties. Carter said the men were using oversized hooks and were in excess of the legal number of hooks per line. 

Tallent said the investigation started at 9 p.m. and ended by 3 a.m. 

“There were three individuals snagging fish. I called backup. I watched them catch the fish and they had a large quantity in their possession,” Tallent said. “Evans came out and helped me. They didn’t all leave at the same time. It turned out to be a good case. They had priors and I had written them priors before. We made a similar case the previous year. It was an ongoing issue but hopefully we can control it.” 

He said the men told them they were catching the fish to clean and eat at home. Evans said they made a similar case on a gentleman from Brookhaven who had more than the limit in a deep freezer in his truck in 2022.