Some attribute a low 2016 Mississippi Deer Harvest to last year's abnormally warm winter and surplus of food, while others think rising hog harvest numbers could show deer are being pushed out of their homes. In 2000, hunters harvested 30,000 wild hogs. Last year, that number grew to 235,000 hogs harvested.
"They're seeing them always under their feeders or they're rooting up the food plots and stuff," hunter and employee at Van's Sporting Goods, Todd Sarotte said. "(They're) kind of messing up the deer habitat a lot. Hogs are very invasive. They breed three times a year and up to 11 or 13 pigs in a litter, so they populate extremely quick."
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks says hunters have also become more selective on what bucks they kill, opting to shoot older bucks while giving the younger more time to mature.
In the last year, state leaders have become concerned on the trending low harvest and in return voted to lower the bag limit on most public hunting grounds from 5 to 3.
"I'm okay with the lowered bag limits," Sarotte said. "I wish the state could put in place some age structure on buck harvest."
Wildlife managers say while the past two years have been trending down for deer harvest, they don't expect future bad hunting. They claim Mississippi still has one of the densest deer populations in the nation.
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