Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

By Brodie SwisherSeptember 18, 2023

The opportunity to hunt velvet bucks in the state of Mississippi was a big hit with bowhunters in its 2022 inaugural season. This unique opportunity continued for 2023 with the hunt taking place September 15-17 on private lands for hunters using archery gear. 

Once again, there have been several of our friends that found Mississippi velvet buck success on the weekend that is quickly becoming known as the kick-off to the fall big game hunting season. Here’s a few stories from the weekend’s hunt.

Matthew McKinley

My dad and I found this deer a week before velvet season opened in Mississippi. He was coming in like clockwork on a daily basis, so we decided to go after him and see if I could get my first velvet buck. My dad went in the Tuesday before season opener to hang some sticks and my saddle hunting platform, doing his best not to run the deer out of the area.

I studied trail camera photos to know the direction the buck would likely come from, and the bachelor group he was traveling with. I checked out of school early on Friday to go hunting for the first afternoon of the 3-day hunt. I got in the stand about 4:50pm and patiently awaited the buck’s arrival.  

Around 6:45, I heard something walking. I quickly saw that it was one of the other bucks in the bachelor group my buck had been hanging with. About 10 minutes later, the buck seemed to spook and run off. Then, out stepped out my deer. I had a short opportunity to shoot, so I drew my bow and pulled off the 27 yard shot. The arrow hit perfectly, and the buck ran just 50 yards. He scored 139 inches and weighed 205 pounds.

Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

Mack Mardis

The story on Big T started in late August when he passed a cell cam I had set up on a trail right off a standing corn field. Several days later, he showed up on another camera I had nearby on a creek crossing. I knew this was the deer I would pursue for this year’s velvet hunt. As the weeks progressed, I made many adjustments with my cameras and began getting a clearer picture of what he was doing. With the drought we’ve had, he was hanging tight to the only available water nearby. 

Two days before the opener, he disappeared. Some deer were shedding velvet, and I feared he had moved away from his summer routine. With limited hopes, I settled into my stand on the first afternoon to see if the buck would step out. Sure enough, right at dark, I saw him and the other buck he’d been hanging out with step into the field. He didn’t make it in range before the end of shooting light, but my hope was immediately renewed. 

Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

The next afternoon, I biked in and settled into my stand with high hopes of what was to come. Around 6:40pm, two nice 8-points made their way past me and into the cut corn. Then, I heard another deer coming down the same trail. It was Big T! I immediately grabbed my bow and drew back on him as he entered the field. I had him ranged at 45 yards and felt that was my best opportunity. I settled my pin and released the arrow. 

The post hunt celebration with my family soon began! Big T is my best deer to date. It was a special day and a deer that I am extremely proud of, with a score of 158 5/8”.

Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

Jordan Blissett

We put some cameras out about a month ago, and a big 6-point was one of the first mature bucks we had show up. However, we only got one photo of him before he disappeared.

The last couple weeks, I’ve been moving cameras around in different travel and feed areas trying to find him. I put one camera out at an oak tree that was dropping early and the buck showed up 4 or 5 times over the course of a week, including a few daytime visits. 

Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

With a steady north wind, I went in and hung a set close to a bedding area. The buck had showed up on camera just a couple days earlier, so I had  high hopes he’d do the same thing on the first afternoon of the 3-day hunt. I saw a nice 8-pointer and a young buck with a doe, but the 6-pointer never showed up that first evening.

The buck showed back up on the trail camera the following morning, so I knew he was still in the area close by. I eased back into the area about 3:30 on Saturday afternoon to give the stand another try. 

Mississippi Velvet Buck Success

About 5:00, I spotted a deer coming out front. It was the spike buck I had been seeing hanging out with the big 6-pointer. Sure enough, a few minutes later the 6-pointer came walking in like he owned the place. With the buck at 18 yards, I drew back and made the shot. Fun times! 

A big congrats to Matthew, Mack, Jordan and all the bowhunters that found success on velvet bucks this past weekend in Mississippi! 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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