Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks legislation for organ donors, velvet hunting season amended by committees, move to senate, house

Published 7:30 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

JACKSON — Legislation pertaining to the State Legislator’s committee for Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks advanced Wednesday. One bill authored by District 52  Representative Bill Kinkade would allow online applicants of hunting and fishing licenses to elect to be an organ donor.

Another bill, authored by District 44 Representative Scott Bounds, would authorize the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to create a Velvet Hunting Season in September. The Senate’s Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks committees made amendments to these bills and they will now go before the house and senate. 

House Bill 1035, which would authorize the establishment of a Velvet Hunting season, had two amendments made by the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks committee. 

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The first amendment changed the language of the bill to allow for the use of crossbows and bows during the Velvet hunting season and to change the date of the season to begin no earlier than September 10 and no later than September 20. 

It also states the commission shall establish a special hunting permit for the velvet season. The permits would be valid in the time period between September 10 to September 20 for no less than three consecutive days or longer than five consecutive days. The commission would set the cost of the permits. The amendment passed the house and has moved to the senate for approval. 

House Bill 1035’s second amendment inserts a few lines of language stating the velvet season shall be open on private lands and any Wildlife Management Areas deemed appropriate by the MDWFP. Only bucks who meet the antler criteria for respective deer management units may be harvested. This second amendment has yet to pass the house or the senate. 

House Bill 942 would authorize the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to allow an online applicant of a hunting or fishing license to indicate if they wish to be an organ donor. The first amendment to the house bill would require a special symbol to indicate if the license holder is an organ donor, it defines a hunting and fishing license under the Anatomical Gift Act to include online applicants over the age of 18 eligible to make an anatomical gift. 

The amendment would require the department to provide relevant information regarding a donor’s anatomical gift to a donor registry. It would require any online renewals of hunting and fishing licenses to include a question asking the applicant if they wish to be an organ donor. This amendment to the bill has not been passed by the senate yet.