Wildlife & Hunting

MDWFP Deer Program

Hunter with a deer

A hunter posing with her first deer, Sharkey County, MS 

The MDWFP White-tailed Deer Program's goal is to provide a quality white-tailed deer population statewide and offer maximum outdoor recreational opportunity to the public without negatively affecting the resource.  Mississippi's deer population is estimated to be 1.75 million, with hunters harvesting approximately 280,000 deer annually.  Biologists provide deer related technical guidance to managers on private and public lands, conduct seminars, speak publicly, write articles for professional publications, conduct statewide disease surveillance, and assist Mississippi State University with deer research projects. 

As the center stone of the Deer Program, the Deer Management Assistance Program(DMAP) is a comprehensive deer management program, consisting of data collection and cooperator education with which the MDWFP tries to put the landowner/cooperator in a better position to manage their lands for a healthy deer herd, while maintaining habitat integrity.  Data from the program are used to develop site specific harvest recommendations, and have prompted numerous research projects to help better understand deer biology.  Annually, there are 600+ DMAP cooperators covering over 2.5 million acres in Mississippi.

In addition to working with private landowners, biologists also provide technical assistance on various local, state, and federal public lands across the state.  Some of the assistance provided to the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program includes habitat modification recommendations, deer harvest analysis, spring herd health evaluations, population surveys, deer disease surveillance, and regulation recommendations. 

MDWFP is also required by the MS Legislature to regulate all commercial and noncommercial wild animal enclosures in order to conserve and protect native wildlife for all citizens to enjoy and to protect our recreational economy dependent on native wildlife resources.  The objective of the Enclosure Program is to regulate enclosures containing white-tailed deer by conducting annual inspections and issuing permits as defined in 40 MS Admin Code Part 2, Chap 8 - Rule 8.2.  

For more information about deer management, contact a Private Lands Biologist

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