Deer season not as successful as previous years

Published 12:53 am Sunday, January 27, 2008

NATCHEZ — Deer season is almost over in Mississippi and the deer biologist for the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said the season was not quite as successful as in previous years.

Gun season has already concluded in this area with primitive weapon season concluding on Jan. 31.

Chris McDonald, a deer biologist for Districts Five and Six, said wildlife officials estimated about 300,000 deer were killed this hunting season, which is less than estimates in previous years.

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“The harvest appeared to be somewhat down, but the quality of bucks that were taken was good,” McDonald said. “We had one that scored a 203 in Amite County while one scored 198 in Lincoln County. Those are very good scores for bucks.”

The amount of deer taken is only an estimate, based on a mail survey to hunters across the state.

McDonald said the reason for the smaller harvest was warm weather and a good food supply for the deer.

“The weather played a large part of it,” McDonald said. “It wasn’t real cold until very late in the season and the warm weather hampered the deer movement. There was also a good acorn crop, which allowed the deer to stay in the woods instead of utilizing food plots.

“The biggest reasons were the deer movement was down and the deer were not concentrated because of the warm weather and good food supply.”

While this season may not have been the most productive one, it was still important because hunting is the only way to control the deer population.

“Without hunting, the deer population would spiral out of control,” McDonald said.

And that could have dire consequences for not only humans, but also the deer.

“If they overpopulate, they would then have a limited food supply which could lead to starvation and malnutrition across the state,” McDonald said. “From a human standpoint, vehicle collisions with deer would go up as well as agricultural damage to crops and the potential for disease in deer would increase.”