Legislation of Interest to Mississippi Hunters – Part 2 – Reporting of Deer and Turkey

Friday, I started a multi-part post about legislation of interest to Mississippi Hunters.  Part 1 discussed proposed legislation related to wildlife enclosures.  Next up is mandatory harvest reporting of deer and/or turkey.

The Committee substitute for Senate Bill 2922 provides in relevant part:

14 SECTION 1. Section 49-7-26, Mississippi Code of 1972, is
15 amended as follows:
16 49-7-26. (1) * * * The * * * commission * * * shall
17 develop, implement and regulate a * * * mandatory harvest
18 reporting program for white-tailed deer and/or turkey to collect
19 and compile harvest data * * * of such quality and quantity as to
20 be able to assist the Legislature and the commission in
21 formulating the wildlife resource conservation policy for the
22 State of Mississippi. The harvest reporting program authorized by
23 this section shall be a system that will be simple and usable by
24 all hunters so as to promote compliance and accurate reporting and
25 may include, but not be limited to, such means as a mobile smart
26 phone application, online web-based reporting, or such other
27 electronic or digital methods that promote ease of use by hunters.
28 (2) Hunters shall report deer and turkey that they harvest
29 within seventy-two (72) hours after the harvest. This subsection
30 shall not apply to deer harvested on private lands that are under
31 the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).

32 ( * * *3) The department shall provide an annual report
33 regarding the harvest reporting program to the Wildlife, Fisheries
34 and Parks Committees of the Senate and the House of
35 Representatives.
36 * * *
37 ( * * *4) Each * * * violation of this section or of any
38 rule or regulation promulgated under this section is a separate
39 offense. A violation of this section is a Class III violation and
40 shall be punished as provided for in Section 49-7-101(1).
41 SECTION 2. No funds appropriated to the Mississippi
42 Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall be expended on a
43 tagging program to report the harvesting of wildlife.

Similar legislation is pending in the House as HB1390 and states:

8 SECTION 1. Section 49-7-26, Mississippi Code of 1972, is
9 amended as follows:
10 49-7-26. (1) (a) The Mississippi Department of Wildlife,
11 Fisheries and Parks * * * shall develop, implement and regulate
12 a * * * mandatory harvest reporting program for white-tailed deer
13 or wild turkey or both. The purpose of this program is to collect
14 and compile harvest data * * * of such quality and quantity as to
15 be able to assist the Legislature and the commission in
16 formulating the wildlife resource conservation policy for the
17 State of Mississippi.
18 (b) * * * The harvest reporting program shall be simple
19 to use by sportsmen so as to promote compliance and accurate
20 reporting. The program may include, but is not limited to, such
21 means as a mobile smartphone application, online web-based
22 reporting, or such other electronic or digital method(s) as will
23 promote ease of use.
24 (c) The department shall provide an annual report for
25 the harvest reporting program to the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
26 Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
27 * * *
28 ( * * *2) Each deer or turkey taken or possessed in
29 violation of the * * * harvest reporting program is a separate
30 offense.
31 SECTION 2. Funds appropriated to the Mississippi Department
32 of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall not be expended on a
33 tagging program.

Both bills require the MDWFP to start a mandatory harvest reporting system for deer and/or turkey.  Neither bill requires tagging.  Both bills require the system to be simple to use and outline permissible methods, but leave the method of data collection to the MDWFP.  Both bills prohibit funds appropriated to the MDWFP from being used on a tagging program.

According to a 2016-2017 survey from the MDWFP  released in April of 2017, over 57% of those responding favored a mandatory harvest reporting system.

harvest reporting

The multi question survey was sent to over 300,000 individuals and over 13,000 responses were received. I am told that Mississippi had a tagging requirement many moons ago.  The reasons for its demise are as varied as the reasons I currently hear from people that do not support harvest reporting.

For the last several years I kept hearing rumors that “this will be the year” for harvest reporting or tagging to get passed.  Once again, it will be interesting to see how this legislation turns out.  If the survey is accurate and roughly 57% of Mississippi hunters wish to have a mandatory reporting program, they had best speak up and let their senators and representatives know.  While the hunters that oppose reporting appear to be in the minority, they are a very vocal minority.

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About randywallace
I am a husband, father, attorney, outdoorsman and cook.

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