Mississippi’s 2016 deer harvest was the lowest in 31 years with an estimate of 244,795 deer.
This is a result of a declining deer population due to an increased risk of disease and high hog populations. Six strains of the hemorrhagic disease were found in Mississippi, but because of constant exposure, the deer became immune to it. In the past 10 years, foreign strains have been found. Mississippi’s 2016 report of sick deer was six times higher than the 2015 report.
“This is the lowest total harvest since 1985,” said William McKinley, Deer Program coordinator with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. “The primary drop over the last five years is buck harvests. Pig harvests are rising exponentially. As biologists, we think the pig population is negatively impacting the deer population, but we don’t know how.”
In 2000, hunters harvested an estimated 30,000 wild hogs. That number has rocketed in the last decade and a half, as hunters harvested more than 235,000 hogs in 2016.
“It may all sound like doom and gloom, but it’s not,” McKinley said. “We still have one of the densest deer populations in the country.”