This week, many of Mississippi’s turkey hunters are planning opportunities to introduce youth to the joys of hunting in the spring woods. A common question for many hunters is whether the public lands they frequent during the regular season are also open during the youth season. Specifically, there is some confusion due to the wording in the Mississippi Outdoor Digest that states that the youth turkey season occurs on private lands and “authorized state and federal public lands”.  Many hunters wonder which state and federal lands are “authorized,” and some hunters fear that taking young hunters for an outing on their favorite National Forest may place them on the wrong side of the law.

To clarify this, MDWFP’s recently reformatted rules state that youth turkey season is available on, “Authorized state and federal lands include Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U. S. Corps of Engineers managed lands which designate the youth turkey season in their regulations and open U.S. Forest Service National Forest lands.” Simply put, the same statewide season framework that applies to private lands also applies to open U.S. Forest Service National Forest lands, which includes the youth turkey season. As a result, youth turkey season is available on all open National Forest lands within Mississippi.

MDWFP encourages hunters to consult hunting regulations for other public lands in Mississippi, as regulations on these lands must specifically state that those lands are open for the youth turkey season. These lands include National Wildlife Refuges owned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, lands owned and managed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or military bases and other Department of Defense lands.

Logo courtesy Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks

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