100 Best Public-Land Hunts: Mississippi

Mahannah Wildlife Management Area
Location
: east central Mississippi
Size: 12,675 acres
ZIP: 39156

Starting this year Mahannah boasts the toughest antler restrictions in the state-a minimum 18-inch inside spread or 20-inch main beam. Those requirements set the public ground on equal footing with its neighbors, 32,000 acres of private hunting clubs that surround Mahannah. Like Sunflower, only ten miles away, Mahannah has fertile soil and abundant food. But here the hunting is archery-only, and if you're not lucky enough to snag a permit in the lottery you'll have to wait until January, when Mahannah opens to all. The wait is worth it: A few years back this WMA produced a nontypical that weighed 280 pounds and grossed 191 Boone and Crockett. High water can be a late-season factor in these flat, low-lying open hardwoods, but it bothers hunters more than deer. "Deer go right to the water," Fleeman says, "and lay up on a pile of vines and eat."