RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s deer population is bigger than ever before, prompting state officials to encourage hunters to catch an extra target total this year.
Mississippi is home to more than 1.5 million deer, a state record, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. In an effort to keep the deer population under control, the department gave hunters the green light Wednesday to grow their harvests during the current and upcoming hunting seasons.
“Since there are more deer out there than there has been, there is less food for each individual to get to. That’s why we’re encouraging hunters to take an extra deer this season on their bag limit,” William McKinley, the wildlife department’s deer program coordinator, told WAPTV-TV. “Licensed hunters last season took 270,000 deer, but that still wasn’t quite enough to keep that herd from regrowing this year.”
Deer hunting is a $1 billion industry in Mississippi, McKinley told the news station. The dates for hunting seasons around the state vary based on location, weaponry and the types of deer.