Bills Important to #MississippiSportsmen
February 6, 2013 2 Comments
Yesterday was the deadline for bills originating in the Mississippi House or Senate to pass out of Committee. There were several bills of interest to sportsmen this year. Like every year, bills to allow crossbows, baiting and expanded hunting with rifles were proposed.
As of yesterday’s deadline, the following bills of interest made it out of Committee:
- HB1319 – Appears to allow weapon of choice (rifle, crossbow, bow and arrow, etc.) on private land during what has been traditionally the primitive weapon season.
- HB102 – Allows the MDWF&P to designate areas within wildlife management areas for Wounded Warrior hunts.
- SB2048 – Allows use of crossbows during archery and primitive weapon season.
- HB1032 – Required the MDWF&P to allowing baiting deer with corn.
- HB77 – Removed the exemption from the purchase of a hunting and fishing license for those over 65.
- HB424 – Required that retailers of ammunition maintain records of all sales to individuals.
- HB162 – Required the MDWFP to allow use of golf cars on wildlife management areas subject to rules promulgated by the MDWF&P.
- HB174 – Reduced the penalty for killing alligators out of season.
- HB658 – Prohibited hunting within the city limits of cities exceeding 170k in population.
- SB2036 – Would have required identification tags on all hunting tree stands.
- SB2037 – Would have required boaters to wear a PFD while a boat under 26 feet was underway.
These bills still have hurdles to go. The bills originating in the House must be approved by the entire House and then submitted to the Senate. The bills originating in the Senate must be approved by the entire Senate and then submitted to the House. All of the bills that make it that far must then be signed by the Governor.
My take on it……All of the bills that died should have died. In fact, a couple of them were so ridiculous that they never should have been proposed. Documenting legal ammunition sales? ID tags of tree stands? Force the MDWF&P to allow baiting deer? All really bad ideas.
On the flip side, I am happy to see the Wounded Warrior bill pass. These gentlemen and their families have survived far more than most of us can even imagine and deserve every possible opportunity at happiness. Setting aside a little bit of public land to allow them to hunt is the least we can do. As for using weapon of choice during primitive season, I really couldn’t care less. Mississippi’s primitive weapon season is laughable. There is nothing primitive about a .35 Whelen with a 3-12×50 scope on top that is capable of shooting 2 inch groups at 300 yards. I kind of miss the old days when a primitive weapon was a traditional muzzleloader. Back then it was really a crapshoot when you pulled the trigger. The gun might go off just fine, the cap might pop and then a delay fire would occur a few seconds later or the gun might not fire at all. It was exciting.
The bill likely to cause the most disagreement is no doubt SB2048 allowing crossbows in archery season. I really don’t care about crossbows or think that inclusion of them for archery season will ruin the season. Likewise I doubt their approval will increase or decrease license sales or hunter participation one way or the other. What I am worried about is that legalization of crossbows is the next step toward a four month weapon of choice hunting season from October through January.
Mississippi has an abundance of whitetail deer due to successful management by the MDWF&P and private land owners. While abundant on a statewide basis, there are areas within the state that deer are scarce or at a minimum, there are significantly fewer deer than there were just 20 years ago. These areas need a reduced harvest rather than expanded opportunity for an even larger harvest.
Currently, deer harvest numbers are not accurately recorded and with the exception of the 3 zone antler restrictions there is no management of deer tailored to specific areas. Needless to say, there is a significant difference between deer density in Port Gibson and Poplarville and they should be managed differently. However, that isn’t about to happen any time soon because while the idea of telecheck has been floated in Mississippi for a number of years, it has yet to gain traction. Maybe one day. Until then, hopefully private landowners will do their part to protect and conserve the resource.