Regional Reports-South

Now that Mississippi has started its own whitetail deer records program, biologists and wildlife managers are urging the state's hunters to participate. The Magnolia Records Program was created earlier this year to recognize and honor deer that don't quite qualify for the Boone and Crockett Club listings. "Mississippi has its share of record-book deer, but there are a lot of great deer in this state that get overlooked because they don't quite measure up to B&C; minimums," says Rick Dillard, a biologist for the National Forest Service who helped design the program. "I was looking on the Internet one day and saw most states have some system in place that tracks deer records. As big as deer hunting is in Mississippi, I couldn't figure out why we didn't have one." To qualify for listing in the Magnolia Records Program, antlers need score only 125 typical or 155 non-typical by the Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young scoring systems. "One thing that we're excited about is having a system that will give hunters in every county a chance to see how their bucks rank against other deer in the county," says biologist Randy Spencer of the state's wildlife agency. "Not every county in Mississippi can produce a Boone and Crockett deer, but each one can, and does, produce 125s."The program is administered by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, but is managed by biologists. Any deer taken in the state in any year can be scored free of charge. Contact: Mississippi Wildlife Federation (601-206-5703).