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August 19, 2013

Land not hunted for 50 years opening for lucky few

JACKSON —

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — .

Hardwood bottomland that hasn't been hunted for half a century will open this year to about 65 lucky bowhunters.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District plans a series of 13 special-permit hunts in two areas around Ross Barnett Reservoir. They'll include about 500 acres near Pelahatchie Bay and the first legal hunting on about 400 acres below the dam since its construction five decades ago, The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/14rpG8x) reported.

Draw hunt guidelines will be published by Sept. 1 on its website, www.therez.ms, according to a notice on the website.

Applications will be taken from Sept. 10-24. They're free. The permits cost $300 below the dam and $200 near Pelahatchie Bay.

Hunters must be 21 and over, possess a valid Mississippi hunting license for deer or be exempt. Each permit holder may bring a guest who is at least 12 years old, but only one at a time may carry a bow.

The 400 acres below the dam will be split into two sections, with the Pearl River as the dividing line, giving each hunter about 200 acres. The area near Pelahatchie bay, that also hasn't been available for hunting, will be divided into three sections for the special-permit hunts.

Each hunt will run from Thursday at noon until Sunday at noon from Oct. 31 through Jan. 26, with one permit per section each weekend.

Each permit will allow legal buck to be harvested, along with one antler-less deer. Legal bucks for the permit hunts must have either a 15-inch inside antler spread or an 18-inch main beam.

Another 10,400 acres of Pearl River Valley Water Supply District land around the reservoir already is open for hunting without charge. Most of that land is upriver and accessible only by boat, said Bobby Cleveland, a consultant for the district. Because of that, hunters must retrieve deer without an ATV and get the carcasses to their vehicle by boat.

"This is not hunting for the faint of heart," Cleveland said. "This is hunting for the true hunter."

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