If you’re looking for a hidden deer hunting hotspot that offers good odds of bagging a trophy whitetail, then you might want to give the state of Mississippi a try.

Yes, I said Mississippi.

With about 1.8 million deer, ample forage and good cover, the Magnolia State is growing some sweet bucks.

“Last year we had five confirmed Boone and Crockett [B&C] bucks taken, and there are four more potential B&C deer to be scored,” said Lann Wilf, deer program biologist for the Miss. Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

That may not sound like a lot, but that’s more trophies than hunters bagged in Alabama, the Dakotas, and Wyoming combined.

Wilf believes that last year’s epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak may have helped improve herd health in some areas that were overpopulated.

“Last summer and fall’s EHD activity may have brought some herds into balance with what the habitat can support,” said Wilf. “Slightly lower deer numbers will improve antler production in the southwest part of the state.”

Because of abundant rainfall, deer should go into the fall in good shape in most areas, with those in the Delta experiencing drier conditions. Acorn production will be down, meaning deer may have to trek farther looking for mast.

Regulation Changes
This year crossbows are now legal for use as archery gear. Crossbow hunters now only need an archery/primitive weapon license to legally hunt in 2013.

Public Land
The two areas that have the best potential for producing good public land hunting bucks are the Mahannah and Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Areas. Hunters must draw a permit and can only harvest a buck if it has at least a 16-inch minimum inside spread, or a 20-inch minimum main beam length.