UPDATE: Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks officials met with Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson Thursday in Jackson. The meeting, held at the request of Mayor Patterson, discussed the current concerns of the deer population in Oxford.
During the meeting a mutual decision was made to temporarily suspend the deer depredation permit issued to the city.
“A future meeting with Oxford city officials will be held before Oct. 1 to discuss current deer management challenges,” MDWFP Chief of Wildlife Larry Castle said. “This will be a cooperative effort to provide decision makers with the best information from which to arrive at sound biological decisions.”
By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks officials released a press release late Wednesday afternoon denying that Oxford is authorized to kill deer in residential areas.
“No ‘hunting permit’ has been issued by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to the city of Oxford,” the statement said. “The city of Oxford has received a depredation permit valid only on the University golf course and the airport. No other city-owned properties or any private properties within the Oxford city limits are included in the permit.”
“MDWFP Conservation Officers and city employees under the direct supervision of the MDWFP are the only personnel authorized to depopulate deer under the depredation permit.”
MDWFP referred Oxford to USDA Wildlife Services for other means of controlling the deer population in other parts of the city, the statement said.
“Neither the city of Oxford, nor the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, has the authority to open the deer hunting season prior to October 1. Anyone hunting prior to October 1 is in violation of state law and may be cited for hunting out of season,” the statement concluded.
Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson denied the assertions Wednesday night, reaffirming that MDWFP had authorized the city to kill deer on city land and the Grand Oaks subdivision.
“I talked with the head of enforcement and told him what we were doing, and he said, ‘Fine, go ahead; just be careful,’ Patterson said. “I guess they changed their minds. We’ll do whatever they tell us to do. I’ll call (Oxford emergency management coordinator) Jimmy Allgood and have him pull all the hunters (Thursday) morning.”
Patterson and selected bow hunters had met with MDWFP officers on Sept. 10. One of them was quoted in the Oxford Eagle as saying, “This ain’t a trophy hunt. Shoot whatever comes by — babies, mamas. The hunt is on a permit issued by the state, so we are not here to hunt horn; we are just here to kill deer and that’s it.”
NEMS Daily Journal