The warm breeze flowing through my truck feels incredibly nice. I welcome the sunshine beaming through my windshield that slowly tans my skin and forces me to squint in order to see the road. With my boat in tow, I sing along with Ronnie Van Zant as he proclaims, “a southern man don’t need him around anyhow” regarding Neil Young. I’ve got the windows down with my elbow hanging out in true redneck fashion. It’s a perfect summer day in South Mississippi. The river awaits my arrival. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the most gosh awful sound fills my head.
I roll over and hit the snooze button, disgusted that my alarm ruined my moment. I awake to realize it’s still February and it’s way too dang cold to go fishing. Oh well, summer will be here soon enough and I’ll be griping about how hot it is. For now, we will just have to settle for the fact that during the day it will be seventy degrees and that night it may, or may not, snow. With deer season now officially over for the entire state, I’ll allow our southern portion of the state to join me in mourning. There is good news, though! Even though February is rife with feminine undertones, there are still some masculine things you can get out and do.
Rabbit and squirrel seasons are still in full swing until the end of the month. If you’re like me, it’s hard to get excited about hunting for either of these tasty critters during deer season. I’m an opportunist, and deer are larger and taste better to me. However, since you can’t shoot a deer anymore, you might as well go limit out on the next best thing. With the hard freezes that we’ve recently had, now is probably the best time to get in your small game hunting. Those pesky little warbles (known more frequently around these parts as wolves) should be gone from the hides of squirrels and rabbits. Not that they really pose any harm to humans, but it always makes me feel better when they aren’t there. That being said, err on the side of caution if you feel the meat is potentially infected.
If you fancy raccoon meat, or want to look like Daniel Boone, you’ve still got time to hunt them, as well as opossum and bobcat. Before I go any further, I’ve never eaten any of the three aforementioned. It’s not that I’m totally opposed, or turned off from them, I’ve just never had anyone cook it for me. I’d do it myself if I didn’t think I’d mess it up. I probably wouldn’t eat a bobcat or an opossum, but I think I’d try a raccoon. We had a neighbor that would cook raccoon each year for the Super Bowl and he swore it was the best thing he ate. If I remember correctly, he described it as similar to a roast and would serve it with sweet potatoes. As for eating opossum, I saw one climb out of the innards of a dead deer once, so there’s no way I’m venturing down that road. And yes, I will judge you as a disgusting human being if you do.
Trapping is also in full swing this time of the year. If you’d like to partake in this, you’ve got until March 15th to do it. To me, that works perfectly because that’s about the time that turkey season begins. That’s the great thing about Mississippi, if you’re willing to do it, there’s always some type of hunting season going on. There are, however, some regs you’ll need to be aware of if you decide to run traps. First, you’ll need a trapping license. For residents, this will set you back 25 bucks. You’ll need an identification number that is registered with the MDWFP and permanently attached to each trap that you set. If you want to sell the fur, you’ll need a fur dealer’s license, which will cost you an additional $50 for residents. If you do not have the identification number on your traps, your traps can be removed by an officer. There are some other rules and regulations that you will need to be up to date with, and you can find them at mdwfp.com. As always, don’t put traps on land that you do not have permission to trap on, or you might find yourself as the “Idiot of the Week” on the “Pinstripes to Camo Podcast.”
Speaking of the podcast, we’ve got some great guests coming up soon. The show is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify for those of you that would like to check it out. I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy it, but I can promise that we are very real. The show is centered around hunting and fishing in Mississippi, and we do our best to showcase the great things our state has to offer. If you, or someone you know, has a great story that you’d want told on the show, or would like to be a guest, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, don’t suffer from deerpression and get out and enjoy our Mississippi woods and waters!