What hunters need to know about the start of the season

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Mississippi’s first start of the archery season for money is September 16-18 and for many hunters this will be their first chance to harvest a velvet suede.

But, there are special regulations for hunters, and a Mississippi taxidermist said special care should be taken when handling velvet antlers if they intended to mount the deer.

Ellis Salomon of Ellis Solomon Taxidermy in Brandon said he had seen mistakes made over the years when it came to velvet antlers and offered advice on how to avoid them.

“I think the biggest mistake is that they grab it by the rack,” Solomon said. “Velvet is skin, but it’s much more delicate.

“It will rip if you stress it enough. Don’t pull it through the antlers. When you handle it, you rip and twist that velvet. Don’t pull it through the antlers or drag it on anything. Try just handle it gently.”

Solomon said another enemy of velvet shelves is humidity and advises keeping them dry if possible.

“Try not to get it wet,” Solomon said. “Water actually accelerates microbial damage.

“Something cannot rot without water. Bacteria cannot grow without water.”

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Handle Deer Cloaks Properly

While the focus of the season is more on velvet antlers to place on a wall, Solomon said hunters shouldn’t overlook a deer’s summer coat.

“The cape is just as valuable as the antlers,” Solomon said. “They are not shaggy, long-haired deer at this time.

“The summer coat looks smooth and clean. They have reddish guard hairs that give off heat. Make sure they clip it properly and handle it properly.”

When skinning capes for a shoulder mount, Solomon said the most common areas where he sees damage are the front leg and chest areas, so be careful when cutting there.

The way the skin is handled can also lead to damage. Solomon said hunters should place the cape and head in a freezer as quickly as possible, but leave it spread out and cool after removing it from a hot carcass. He said he received heads where the cape was rolled up while still warm and it and the head were placed in a cooler or freezer. The outside got cold, but the inside part took so long to cool that it became a smelly mess.

“He isolated himself and spoiled himself in the freezer,” Solomon said.

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The start of the archery season for money at a glance

∙ Season dates are September 16-18.

∙ Hunting is only permitted on private land.

• Only archery equipment may be used. Longbows, recurve bows, compound bows and crossbows can be used. There is no minimum or maximum draw weight. There is no minimum boom length. Fixed or mechanical flush heads can be used.

• Only bucks legal for the respective deer management unit may be harvested. There is no choice option during this season.

∙ Hunters can harvest legal bucks with velvet or hardened antlers.

• The bag limit is one legal buck and counts towards the annual antlered deer bag limit.

• Hunters, including license-exempt hunters, must report their harvest before 10:00 p.m. on harvest day. Hunters can report via the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks smartphone app Where MDWFP Web Portal.

• All hunters, unless exempt or have a lifetime license, must have a valid Velvet season license. The cost of the permit is $10 for residents. For non-residents, the fee is included in the $50 deer permit.

• All harvested males must be submitted for CWD sampling to an MDWFP CWD delivery freezer or MDWFP participating taxidermist within five days of harvest.

Contact Brian Broom at 601-961-7225 or [email protected]

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