Deer Archery season starts Thursday

 Deer Archery season begins on Thursday.
SUN HERALD FILE Deer Archery season begins on Thursday.

Deer archery season in the Southeast part of Mississippi begins on Thursday. The Southeast zone includes all six Coastal counties: Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, George, Stone and Pearl River. Archery season concludes Nov. 20 for antlerless deer and legal bucks on private and open public land.

Longbows, recurves, compound bows, and crossbows are all legal archery equipment and used during the entire deer season. The weapons don't have a minimum or maximum draw weight, no minimum arrow length, and fixed or mechanical broadheads.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved the use of crossbows last year. Until 2013, the state allowed seniors and hunters with health limitations to use crossbows.

MDWFP officials anticipate a strong deer season. According to the MDWFP, Mississippi's deer population is an estimated 1.75 million, with hunters harvesting approximately 280,000 deer annually.

"Deer numbers are high statewide, and this year's crop of two year old bucks should be outstanding," MDWFP Deer Program Biologist David Graves said. "Also, the mast crop is looking good, which is a recipe for abundant bowhunting opportunities.''

Wildlife Management Area hunters are required to wear a full-body harness (fall-arrest system) while climbing a tree, installing a tree stand that uses climbing aids, or while hunting from a tree stand on a WMA. Hunters should also wear and know how to properly use a full-body harness while hunting from an elevated position.

"Hunters should place stands in prime feeding areas, hopefully weather conditions during the season will be conducive to improved deer movement," Graves said.