Velvet Bucks on the Docket for Mississippi Bowhunters

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

  • Earlier this year, HB 1035, authored by Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Scott Bounds, was passed and paved the way for Mississippi’s first velvet buck bowhunting season.
  • This year’s velvet season will start on Friday, September 16 and run until Sunday, September 18 on private lands and specified Wildlife Management Areas as approved by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP).
  • All hunters, unless exempt or those holding a lifetime license, must possess a valid $10.00 velvet season permit.
  • Additionally, hunters must submit Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) samples taken from harvested bucks to the MDWFP within 5 days of the buck being taken.

Why It Matters: While Mississippi hunters get to hit the deer woods a few weeks earlier than usual, the establishment of this new hunting season benefits the “user pays — public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF) through the creation of the $10.00 permit. Having hunters submit CWD samples to the MDWFP will also help tremendously in the MDWFP’s efforts to fight this always fatal, neurological disease plaguing deer in some areas of Mississippi and across the country.

While it will be called a velvet season, any legal buck may be taken regardless of whether it still has velvet or not. Mississippi has experienced a spike in CWD cases over the past year. There is hope that this new deer season, with mandatory CWD sample submissions on harvested bucks, will provide the MDWFP with additional data on the health of Mississippi’s deer herd and help determine if the disease is spreading to new parts of the state.

Hunters must report their harvested bucks to the MDWFP by 10:00 p.m. the day the buck was taken. Hunters can report via the MDWFP app on their smartphone or through MDWFP’s website. CWD samples from harvested bucks must be submitted to a MDWFP CWD drop-off freezer or to an MDWFP participating taxidermist.

In 2021 alone, Mississippi sportsmen and women generated over $32.60 million through the ASCF while engaged in their pursuits. The $10.00 permits will be an additive revenue stream for the MDWFP that will aid in funding for conservation efforts in the state.

As a lifelong Mississippian, I’m excited to see this new season take place, and I expect there to be many good bucks taken as they should still be on summer feeding patterns. However, I’m sure that I speak for most of Mississippi’s bowhunters when I say that battling the brutal heat and mosquitos that, at times, seem to be the size of small birds will be a tall task.

Thanks to the leadership of the Mississippi Caucus and the MDWFP, Mississippians can take this challenge on with a chance for a velvet buck of a lifetime.

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