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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone explain to me why MS' deer seasons are structured like they are? The state's I learned to deer hunt in deer season started Oct 1 with archery, then depending on where the 2nd Sat fell gun season started around Nov 11th +- a day or 2 and ran 2 weeks/3 weekends, then primitive aka back then muzzle loader season had a 2 week season at the end. You could hunt with a bow from start to finish through all seasons if that is what you chose, you could hunt modern firearm or muzzle loader through the entire gun season if you chose. There was no zones the whole state started and stopped on the same day. A deemed legal buck was a deemed legal buck no matter what part of the state you were in or whether you were hunting private or public land. It seemed so simple and the state always has a great deer population and turns out a lot of really big bucks every season. This is not a put down on MS just that I am assuming there is a good reason for MS's some what complex deer season format and was just wondering why the season is formatted the way it is? And by the way Colorado is 1000 times more complicated then any other state to understand.
 

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I don't have 3 hrs to tell u bout it,but u gonna get get some very exciting answers i'm sure,but it all has to do with" the people'"""politics" $$$$$$$ we pay to set the guide lines
 

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Well I can speak to the zones they created. I was just at a MS State-hosted seminar on deer management, and they covered this topic extensively.

First, the zones have different hunting dates that reflect the fact that the rut ends at different times around the state.

Secondly, the zones are a good approximation of horn sizes around the state. Zone 3 is biggest for horns, zone 1 is next, and zone 2 is the smallest. The goal is to protect the 1.5 year old bucks from being harvested, so they set the horn size limits accordingly.

It's actually kind of a coincidence that the correct zones for meeting these two goals fall on the same lines. And actually the lines they drew are not exact, but they wanted to use highways because it's easy for people to visualize the zones when they use highways for boundaries.
 

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it not really complicated at all.
First, Hunt with bow only.
Second, Hunt from Oct.1st- Jan.31st.
Third, Harvest only mature (4yrs+) bucks w/2 Does during Oct. only.
Fourth, repeat every year.

There, That makes it simple and you won't break any laws in process unless you don't get your license or trepass or go to a WMA.

Seriously though, Politics plays a major role and who has the power wins.
 

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By the way, SJ, you mentioned those other states always had a good deer population, and that they didn't have multiple zones. It's easy to think that deer management in MS is screwed up because (a) the deer size and horns don't compete well with many other states, and (b) because we have all these weird zones and different seasons that most other states don't have. But the multi-zone multi-season system is the product of decades of research. MDWFP is using very sophisticated, proven methods to monitor and manage the deer herd for better quality deer. But they can only do so much to improve deer quality.

We are always going to have smallish deer down here, mainly because the nutrition is just not there in most parts of the state to produce the giants. Also, in zone 2, the breeding is late and so the deer are just behind the growth curve from the day they're born. The zone and multi-season system helps address these issues by protecting young bucks, and also does with very young fawns.

But if you're reading that other thread about deer seasons, you know that MS has a huge problem with hunting out of season, taking too many does in some places, not enough does in others, shooting non-legal bucks in others. Basically all that stuff goes against sound management practices and makes it hard to manage the deer herd across the state. I wish our deer were bigger/better, but MDWFP, while not perfect, is doing what they can to improve the quality down here, and the program is actually quite advanced.

But yes, it's sure a pain in the neck to keep track of it .... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #8
smoffett I don't want it to sound like I think MS' deer management is a screwed up because that wasn't the reason for my post. I just wanted to try to understand the basis for why the seasons are set up like they are.
 

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SJ said:
smoffett I don't want it to sound like I think MS' deer management is a screwed up because that wasn't the reason for my post. I just wanted to try to understand the basis for why the seasons are set up like they are.
No prob SJ -- I didn't take it that way. When I moved back to MS a few years ago, it was certainly a question on my mind though -- why are the deer so small down here? I thought it was probably a combination of poor management (at the state level) and lack of harvesting. But after looking into it I was glad to find that the management aspect is good. The real answer to the question is simple: nutrition, nutrition, and nutrition. Like TomBomb says, pine cones just ain't good deer food! ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Genetics probably has something to do with it as well. Deer in Florida are small bodied as well as antlers and that is just how Florida whitetail are. You could feed them protein until you are blue in the face and unless you change the genetics over a period of time they will continue to be a smaller deer. Almost like a sub species. I was just wondering if all the different zones and the different definitions of what constitutes a legal buck in the different zones and the different seasonal dates for the different zones were actually necessary for better deer and better deer hunting in general since there are some states that don't do all that that have exceptional deer hunting (not counting nutrition as a reason).
 
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