Est. Whitetail Population
No. Licenses Sold Annually
$25 and Up
All game hunting license is $25. A $14 permit is required for archery, primitive weapon or crossbow during certain special seasons. A WMA permit is $15.
Resident hunting license and deer permit
$380 and Up
A non-resident deer hunting package is $380. A WMA permit is $30. There are three-day and seven-day licenses available, but check regulations for applicable use.
Non-resident hunting license and deer permit
Taken by James L. Saunders in Adams County in 2011.
Record B&C Typical Stat
Total B&C Typical Entries
Taken in Winston County by Tony Fulton in 1995. It's ranked No. 9 all-time.
Record B&C Non-Typical Stat
Record B&C Non-Typical Entries
Check out the latest info for Mississippi. Image by Tom Tietz
Season Dates (2023):
Mississippi is divided into five hunting zones, which have greatly varying season date structures. Please check the MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND PARKS (MDFWP) WEBSITE to confirm season dates.
The Grade: B
Unlike many other states, Mississippi has a lot of deer compared to the number of hunters. The ratio of deer to hunters is extremely favorable. Plus, there are many older-age-class deer roaming the Magnolia State. According to the MDWFP, a recent report indicated Mississippi ranks No. 1 in the nation for the percentage of 3-1/2-year-old and older bucks in the deer harvest. That’s stunning.
“Mississippi has a very high percentage of mature bucks in the harvest; 69% of the bucks harvest is 3.5 years old or older,” said William T. McKinley, deer program coordinator for the state. “The total deer population is at or near an all-time high, so there are a lot of opportunities for harvest.”
It isn’t all good, though. Major flooding for consecutive years has affected herd health and overall deer density in Mississippi’s South Delta. That’s roughly 750,000 acres affected. The discovery of chronic wasting disease doesn’t help its grade, either. This disease is established in several northern counties. As a result, CWD zones with special restrictions are in place. Supplemental feeding and carcass transport rules are in play. This year, there will even be mandatory CWD sampling for certain weekends and counties.
Further, antler sizes might be lower this season. “We experienced an extreme prolonged cold snap last winter, and our spring deer herd health evaluations revealed below-average body condition across the state,” McKinley said. “This is expected to impact antler size for the upcoming season.”
All factors weighed, Mississippi gets a B.
Antler Nation Knowledge:
Want a big Mississippi buck? The state has logged about 200 Boone and Crockett animals, and there have been plenty of other quality bucks taken that fell a little short or simply didn’t get measured and entered. Focus on the western third of the state, especially counties closest to or bordering the Mississippi River. Of course, the more fertile regions tend to produce quality deer at a higher rate. The best soils in the state are in the Batture and Delta regions, followed by Loess and Blackland Prairie.
Fortunately for DIYers, the state also has about 2 million acres of public land available. Most of that is under the U.S. Forest Service. About 700,000 acres are in WMAs. There are also national wildlife refuges and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands. There are excellent opportunities for quality bucks through the WMA draw hunts on properties such as Black Prairie, Canemount, Charles Ray Nix, Great River Road, Mahannah, Natchez State Park, and Twin Oaks. Others to consider include Copiah County, Lake George, O’Keefe, and Sunflower. FIND A TRACT OF PUBLIC LAND that checks your boxes.
And don’t forget about velvet opportunities here. “We created a velvet buck season in 2022, which is three days, private land only, antlered buck only, archery only, and the dates are Sept. 15 through 17 in 2023,” McKinley said.
Finally, the rut varies throughout the state. There are regional differences. In early December, it’s in the northwestern counties. In late December and early January, it shifts to central counties. And in late January and early February, it finishes in southeastern counties.
Watch all the latest video episodes