New program tracks deer in Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2001

Hunters have had trouble finding information on where the biggest and healthiest deer roam. Until now.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service have launched the Magnolia White-Tailed Deer Records Program.

The program will allow the Mississippi DWFP to accurately record each deer’s antler size, where it was harvested and on what type of soil it grazed.

Mississippi officials believe it’s the first record-keeping program of its kind in the nation.

&uot;It’s the first in the nation that’s going into the detail that we’re going into,&uot; said Rick Dillard, an U.S. Forest Service officer.

After a deer is harvested, hunters can take the deer into any district office to be scored at no cost.

The scorer will take down information such as the season in which the deer was killed, the county it was killed in, the soil type and with what weapon.

The scorer will then measure the deer and record the score and log it into a database. A digital photo of the deer will also be taken.

Any person can access the information. Hunters will be able to compare their trophy deer against others taken in the state or in their home county. Biologists will be able to gather information about how large the deer are in the area, where the deer was harvested and what types of ecological conditions are affecting the deer’s growth and diet.

The scoring system for the program is identical to the one used by the North American Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club. Minimum scores for the program are 125 typical and 155 non-typical.

By including the soil information, hunters and biologists won’t compare deer across the state. For example, Adams County has some good soil in the state, which produces some hefty-sized deer. Coastal counties don’t have good soil.

With the program in place, a coastal-county hunter can compare his deer to another deer in the county. So, the hunter may have a deer ranked No. 400 in the state, but No. 3 in his county.

Spencer has high hopes for the program, hoping one day in the next couple of years all the information will be on the Internet.

Several scoring sessions will be held in the next month. Scorers will be in Brookhaven next weekend. The big event is the Wildlife Extravaganza in Jackson on Aug. 3-5.