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As fall weather is finally arriving in Mississippi, so are the 2010 — 2011 squirrel and rabbit hunting seasons. Now is the time to check equipment and prepare for a safe and enjoyable hunting season. Hunters should be sure their hunting licenses are current before hunting. Visit the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) website at www.mdwfp.com for information on seasons, hunting licenses, and more, or call 601-432-2400.
“Small game hunting is a great way to get new hunters started. The youth squirrel seasons that are open to youth 15 years of age and younger are good opportunities to take young people hunting before the regular season starts,” said Rick Hamrick, Small Game Biologist with the MDWFP. Youth squirrel seasons are open one week prior to the opening of the regular season in each zone on private and authorized state and federal lands.
The bag limit on squirrels is 8 per day (regardless of species). The bag limit on rabbits is also 8 per day (regardless of species). Rabbit season is open October 16, 2010 — February 28, 2011. Squirrel season dates are divided into three zones.
Zone 1 includes areas north of US Highway 82 plus those portions of Sunflower County and Washington County south of Highway 82. The regular season is October 2, 2010 — February 28, 2011. Youth season is September 25, 2010— October 1, 2010 (youth 15 years of age and younger are eligible to participate).
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 regular season is October 16, 2010 — February 28, 2011. Youth season is October 9, 2010 — October 15, 2010 (youth 15 years of age and younger are eligible to participate).
Zone 3 includes areas south of US Highway 84 and east of Interstate 55. The regular season is October 30, 2010 — February 28, 2011. Youth season is October 23, 2010 — October 29, 2010 (youth 15 years of age and younger are eligible to participate).
Squirrel numbers should be abundant in most areas of the state as the result of several good years of acorn and other mast crops. Rabbit populations may have been negatively affected by early spring floods in some part of the state, but in general rabbits should be abundant where habitat is suitable. Rabbit populations can rebound quickly if all of their habitat needs are met. Dave Godwin, MDWFP Turkey and Small Game Program Coordinator states, “Whether you prefer to still hunt or hunt with dogs, there are many opportunities for hunters to bag squirrels around the state. Practically all of our open public lands have good squirrel hunting opportunities. Rabbit hunters should look for areas that have an abundance of grassy cover and shrubby thickets when scouting for new hunting sites. Hunters should always read and understand area regulations before they go hunting.” For more information on squirrels, visit home.mdwfb.com/squirrel. For more information on rabbits, visithome.mdwfp.com/rabbit.