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  • Youth Hunting in Mississippi

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    Mississippi Game Warden Detrimental to the YOUTH of our Sport of HUNTING!

    Thanksgiving weekend for our family has been a family tradition for over the past fifteen years. We load up the truck and head to our hunting camp in Mississippi to hunt for the holidays. This past Thanksgiving was definitely one to remember.
    My middle son, who is eighteen, decided, after harvesting a nice seven point on Wednesday, that he would take his 13 yr. old sister on Thanksgiving morning. They set up in a box stand on our private lease near Brookhaven, Mississippi and settled in for what was going to be an awesome morning hunt. My son was going to film the hunt and was armed with only the video camera and my daughter had her youth model .243 with about an inch cut off of the stock.
    Well, everything was in place and perfect, Except, at around 6:45 a Mississippi game warden came walking down the food plot and told them to exit the stand. My two children began packing up the camera and unloading the gun to exit the stand when they heard someone pulling on the door of the stand. Well, evidently, they werenít exiting FAST enough for this game warden. My son unlatched the door and when he opened it, the warden began his interrogation of my two children. He first wanted to know how many guns were in the stand and my son explained to him that there was only one and that he had a camera. The warden then assumed that my thirteen yr. old daughter was my sonís girlfriend, as he demanded for my son and his ďgirlfriendĒ to exit the stand immediately. My daughter, not knowing what was going on, was extremely afraid and upset with this wardenís accusations and tone.
    He then asked my son if he had put corn out on the plot. He said No, but the game warden insisted that he did. The warden then made my two children wait while he searched the entire area around the plot and found an area where someone had put some corn out previously and started kicking the dirt up and uncovering the old corn that had began to sprout. Keep in mind that we hunt a lease with 30 members and the food plots are first come, first served. There was no way for my son to know if someone else had placed corn on the food plot. All he knew was that he didnít do it!
    The warden then became even harsher and started accusing them of feeding, baiting and starting spouting off about all types of fines and laws. My daughter at this time is starting to get extremely upset and nervous not knowing why or how they are getting in trouble. My son tried to explain to him that he was in from college for the holidays and hadnít put out any corn, but the warden insisted that he had.
    My son then phoned me, as I was hunting in a separate part of our lease, to let me know that the game warden was there and I instructed him to tell the warden I was on my way. The warden then wrote him two tickets. One for ďsupplemental feedingĒ which, when calling in to the office in Jackson, found out that itís a fine of $611.00. He also wrote him a ticket for not having his hunting license on his person. My son tried to explain to him that he didnít think he needed it due to the fact that he was not hunting, but that it was at our camp not only five minutes away. The officer refused to listen or follow him to the camp to verify the license, but told him to just call the license number in, and they would delete one of the tickets.
    Before I could get to my children, the warden, along with his counterpart that drove up when my children reached the truck, now making it seem that they were in even BIGGER Trouble, both departed before I could even talk to him or his partner to see what the situation was.
    Both of my children were very upset and distraught when they returned to the camp. My 13 yr. old daughter was in tears because of the horrible treatment they received from this so-called ďlaw enforcementĒ officer. She told me that she NEVER wants to hunt again because of this. She had a problem with trying to understand why they received tickets and they didnít do anything wrong!
    The state of Mississippi needs to be very careful who they hand out badges to because when they are in the hands of a person like this officer, they can be very detrimental to the very sport that we are trying to promote and protect.
    In this day and time when our sport is dying rapidly, trying to get children involved should be our FIRST priority! We need, as responsible adults, parents, AND law officers, understand that children, especially thirteen year old girls, are the FUTURE of our sport and handle them with RESPECT and TACT and neither of these were used in this incident.
    Iím not sure if this game warden has a daughter, but I wonder what he would have thought if his daughter would have been treated like this!
    Not to mention the fact that my son, a financially struggling college student visiting for the holidays, is now faced with paying a fine of$611.00 for doing something that he didnít do! He had no idea that this plot was fed or had been fed. He was merely taking his baby sister out for a hunt on Thanksgiving morning!
    I feel personally, that the state of Mississippi needs to revisit their laws and the enforcement of the feeding/baiting issues. These laws are full of loopholes and grey areas that can only lead to confusion, but Iím quite sure, they generate a large amount of funds for the state, based on the amount of the ticket my son is faced with. Not to mention, the state of Mississippi allows a licensed hunter to kill 7 deer per year, three legal bucks and four doe, if you hunt with the muzzle loader or bow.
    This evidently means that there is a pretty big surplus of deer in the state. What difference does it make if those seven deer are killed on a food plot, eating acorns under an oak tree, or under a feeder full of corn? You can still only kill your allotted limit! Maybe we need to enforce more strictly the number of deer killed with some type of tagging system instead of if they are killed on a food plot or under a corn feeder.
    My family and I have been hunting in the state of Mississippi for seventeen years now and have NEVER had any issues with the game wardens till now. We have even solicited their help when we had poachers on our lease and assisted with the capture of these folks. I hope that this is an isolated incident, but from what Iím hearing from the hunting community, itís been rampant across the state since the new feeding laws are being enforced.
    I understand that this is a time in our country of tight budgets and financial shortfalls, but Letís Not sacrifice the Youth and Future of our sport merely to write a ticket to boost the economy of the state of Mississippi! It also seems pretty funny that the fact that my truck, being used by my son, had a LOUISIANA license plate on it and there were other hunters along the same road with Mississippi tags and didnít even get checked for a license! Sounds like Non-Resident Profiling maybe???
    Being an out of state hunter, Iíve been buying these outrageous licenses year after year, along with paying extremely high lease fees, buying seeds, fertilizer, tractor parts, groceries, fuel, dine in the local restaurants, and all the other things that we add to the economy of Mississippi during the hunting season, and I feel that we do our part and donít need to be targeted by the game wardens and having my children humiliated for the sake of a dollar.
    We need to come together as a hunting Community and realize that if we donít stick together and see that our children are the future of this sport, then we may not have this opportunity in the future.

    A Concerned and Extremely Upset Louisiana Non-Resident Hunter in Mississippi
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    So sorry to hear about this. Something like this should never happen. I wouldn't be paying that fine either. Your son wasn't even hunting so they should throw it out just on that alone.

    Should have turned that camera on! Do you have any footage taken that day which shows that the daughter was the one hunting. A video shot that shows the gun?

    Should be able to prove that the ticket should have gone to the daughter and those charges would have to be dropped. Fight it!
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    I FEEL REALLY BAD FOR YOUR DAGUGHTER,SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE TOO EXPERIENCE THIS,THEY HAVE A JOB TO DO
    AND WE NEED THEM,BUT THEY DONT HAVE TO BE JERKS, I THINK IT MAKES THEM FEEL TUFF TO TREAT SMALLER FOLK LIKE THIS
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       rancher
    Wonder how much WLF would suffer if non-res. stopped hunting in MS. I pay over $800 a year between my wife and I. You think they would stop profiling our LA plates. We out of state hunters dump thousands of dollars in MS every year but yet we still get treated like that. Sorry to hear that about your childrens experience. I understand they have a job to do but do it with dignity and a little respect.
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    I recieved a ticket for the same thing but when I called it in it was for $135 so something is wrong here!!!! But I was in the wrong I knew the rules and broke it so I'm guilty for the corn as far as the game warden he was fair with no attuide as my licence was back at the camp but he followed me to look at it.But the differnce in ticket cost is strange!!!!
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