Corps of Engineers puts crimp in Mississippi hunters' permanent stands and blinds
Lake Arkabutla among sites banned, except for handicapped
By William C. Bayne (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Corps of Engineers will ban permanent deer stands and duck blinds at the four Engineers lakes in Mississippi beginning March 1.
The order, which was distributed last week, applies to Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada lakes, but Bill Fly, resources manager for Arkabutla, said the order does not affect the stands and blinds set up for handicapped hunters.
"Our stands and blinds for our handicapped hunters pretty much stay up throughout the season. This will not affect them," he said.
But the order will prohibit anyone from erecting a stand or a blind and keeping it overnight.
Stands and blinds left overnight will be taken down and impounded under the Engineers' order.
Under the order, all stands and blinds must be occupied at all times. Fixed tower stands and shooting houses are prohibited.
"The purpose of the orders is to keep people from tying up particular areas for entire seasons," Fly said. "The exclusive use for some people was never the intent for federal property."
Ranger Kevin Kramer said Arkabutla drew about 6,500 hunters a month in the 2007-08 hunting seasons, but he had no breakdown on the numbers of deer hunters, duck hunters or small game hunters.
In addition to the bans on deer stands and duck blinds beginning next March, the Engineers also issued new orders concerning firearms and dogs.
"All firearms in boats under way or ATVs in transit must be unloaded and cased," the order reads.
"You cannot be moving with a loaded gun and the gun must be in a case," Fly said. "This is simply a safety requirement. We are doing everything we can to improve safety for hunters and other visitors to the park."
The Engineers are barring the running or training of dogs on park property from March 7 through May 31.
At the same time, Kramer said, "We are tilting in favor of more youth hunting."
For example, he said three youth deer hunting periods have been set up -- Nov. 15-21; Dec. 2-15 and Jan 22-31.
During those periods, hunters under the age of 16 would be allowed to shoot deer of either sex.
Young hunters will have a special period for turkey hunting, March 7-13, and a special period for small game hunting -- squirrel, rabbit, Bobwhite quail -- Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
The hunting seasons and limits:
Whitetail deer -- Archery, Oct. 1-Nov. 21, either sex; gun with dogs, Nov. 22-Dec. 1, and Dec. 24-Jan. 21, legal bucks only, 4 points or greater; gun without dogs, Dec. 16-Dec. 23, either sex; primitive weapon, Jan. 22-Jan. 31, either sex.
Turkey -- March 14-May 3, one adult gobbler or one gobbler with a six-inch beard or longer, three per season.
Squirrel -- Oct. 4-Feb. 28, daily limit 8.
Rabbit -- Oct. 18-Feb. 28, daily limit 8.
Bobwhite quail -- Nov. 27-March 7, daily limit 8.
Frog -- April 1-Sept. 30, nightly limit 25.
Raccoon -- July 1-Sept. 30, 1 per party per night.
Opossum, raccoon and bobcat -- Nov. 1-Feb. 28, no limit.
Fly said any questions relating to seasons or bag limits should be referred to Barry Moss (662) 578-3873 or Sam Marter (662) 226-6090, the two biologists at the Mississippi Project Management Office.
"They are the experts on the hunting seasons and bag limits on all four Mississippi lakes," he said.
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