JACKSON – The opening of the 2011 – 2012 squirrel hunting seasons in Mississippi are quickly approaching. Now is the time to check equipment and prepare for a safe and enjoyable hunting season. Squirrel hunting is a great way to spend time with family or get new hunters started by taking friends and youth hunting. Hunters should be sure their hunting licenses are not expired before hunting. Visit the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) website at www.mdwfp.com or call 601-432-2400 for information on hunting regulations.
Squirrel season dates are divided into three zones with youth seasons opening one week prior to the regular seasons (youth 15 years of age and younger are eligible to participate in youth hunts). The bag limit on squirrels is 8 per day. Zone 1 includes areas north of US Highway 82 plus those portions of Sunflower County and Washington County south of Highway 82. The season opens October 1, 2011 (youth season opens September 24). Zone 2 includes areas between US Highway 82 and US Highway 84 plus portions of the state south of Highway 84 and west of Interstate 55. The season opens October 15, 2011 (youth season opens October 8). Zone 3 includes areas south of US Highway 84 and east of Interstate 55. The season opens October 29, 2011 (youth season opens October 22). The season closes February 28, 2012 in all zones.
“Squirrel populations are expected to be generally abundant in most regions again this year,” said Rick Hamrick, MDWFP Small Game Biologist. “The effects of severe spring flooding in portions of the Delta are still uncertain, but squirrel populations have likely coped with flooding better than many other wildlife species. Flooding may have displaced some individuals but should not have had significant, negative effects on squirrel populations.”
There are a number of public land hunting opportunities for hunters pursuing squirrels. Dave Godwin, MDWFP Small Game Program Coordinator states, “Although areas with larger amounts of mature, hardwood forest cover offer the best squirrel hunting opportunities, almost all of Mississippi’s open public lands offer some squirrel hunting opportunities. Most areas allow small game hunters to hunt with dogs during those seasons. Regulations can differ from one area to another, and hunters should always read and understand area regulations before they go hunting.”
For more information on squirrels and small game hunting opportunities, visit home.mdwfp.com/squirrel or call (601)432-2199. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.