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Mississippi Whitetail Deer Hunts

Mississippi Whitetail Deer Hunts

At McKenna Ranch, we can use black powder and center fire rifle to hunt for whitetail deer. We follow the Mississippi Wildlife guidelines for harvesting game. The minimum antler restriction for buck harvesting is ten inches of inside spread. This generally means taking a basket 8 point at least. We also harvest doe, but hunters are restricted to taking doe in the morning hunts.

Mississippi Deer Hunting

Mississippi Deer Hunting

Two important actions to harvesting deer are: practice shooting and leave your cell phone in your pocket. That's right, you read that right: leave the cell phone in your pocket. When we first started offering hunts, there were no cell phones. Back then, we told the hunters the most important thing to take a deer was to practice with your rifle. We know bullets may cost $1.00 a round, but please practice before you arrive. Even the best marksman gets out of practice. We have a target range to site your rifle in, but please practice before you come. We know about "buck fever," how the rifle shakes more upon seeing antlers. The bigger the antlers, the more shaking. But we want to be respectful of the deer. We are good about trailing shot deer and we have blood trail dogs, but we need the hunters to do their part. If we find blood, even if we don't find the deer, it's your deer. Therefore, please take time to practice shooting. Shot placement is everything. We prefer calibers .243 and up, but don't assume if you shoot a cannon and hit a deer in a toe that the deer will drop. A good, clean, well-placed shot and the deer may still run 50 - 60 yards. But if the trail is past 100 yards, that is not a good sign. It means a poor shot. I know a hunter who can kill a doe at 500 yards, but wounds bucks at 50 yards. Get excited after your kill; be prepared before.  Practice, practice, practice. 

When is the best time to hunt? The answer is, of course, the rut. The second-best time is opening weekend. The deer don't know they are being hunted then; however, between opening weekend and the rut time (mid-December), the hunting can get slow because the deer have become aware that it is hunting season.  

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Deer Stands and Hunting

Our Deer Stands

Our hunters ask how we choose the stands to hunt. Several factors decide where the stands are placed. We try to put our stands where the hunter can get in and out of the stand without disturbing any deer on a food plot or pipeline. The majority of the time during deer season, an easterly wind only happens right before a rain. Therefore, we place our stands on the eastern side of a shooting area. We also build our food plots considering wind direction, stand placement, travel to stand, and how the tractor gets into the field. We have several stands where the box or tripod is on one side of the creek and a food plot or acorn area is on the other side. Of course, this frustrates a hunter if he shoots a deer and he can't go across the creek to check on his deer. I had rather have this happen than scaring deer away. Years ago, I moved all of our stands 30-50 yards off the shooting area. We cleaned the small trees out of the way. We left the larger trees for cover. You get to shoot between the trees. If I burp or fart, I don't want the deer to run off. The trail leading to the stand is well off the food plot also. When we are hunting acorn areas, we still are thinking of how to be silent and scent free. Wherever the stand is located, on the side of a hill or in a bottom, stealth is very important to success.

We have thinned several areas of timber, which allows us to move the stands even further from the food source. Yes, this means longer shots, another reason to practice shooting. We want to get those older bucks waiting in the wings to come out and perform. You know the older bucks wait til near dark to do their thing. We have placed the stands to catch them in their act.

We hunt food plots, pipelines, acorn bottoms, crossings and wherever the deer are moving. We have tripods, ladder stands, ground blinds and elevated shooting houses. Many of our shooting houses have steps to walk into the shooting house. Most of our hunters prefer to hunt in shooting houses when it's raining. No problem. Most of our fathers with young hunters prefer to hunt from shooting houses, so all of our shooting houses accommodate 2 - 3 people.

Deer Hunting Outfitters

Deer Hunting Outfitters

We use Suburbans to transport hunters, and they ain't new. In the truck, I tell you about the type of stand, how far a walk, where the deer generally come from and any other helpful info. I only drive up to a stand if you are not able to walk. Hunters have spotted game while getting into the stand. You hunt till dark, then walk back out to where we dropped you off. If you have a deer, we will go back and get the deer. If you kill a deer early in the hunt you can call or text us. Not all hunters bring a cell phone. Most of the time we have a great signal here, but prefer to go on the idea that no one has a cell phone therefore we plan around them. Many times, we can't drive out to retrieve a deer immediately because we could disturb another hunter. Just because you shot your rifle, that does not mean the hunt is over. I've had plenty of hunters shoot a buck and a doe in the same hunt, occasionally a deer and a hog or bobcat.  Sometimes, when you shoot a doe, a buck is right behind her.  So we wait in the stand until sunset. 

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Typical Hunt

A Typical Hunt

We ask that you show up around 1:00 the afternoon of your hunt, after you have had lunch.  Laurel (south of us on I-59), Meridian (north of us on 1-59/20), and Waynesboro (east on Hwy 45) have various restaurants.  You can also obtain your hunting license at any Mississippi Walmart before you arrive in either of these towns, as well as last-minute supplies and gear.  Please - do not arrive before noon.  We want to be ready for you and to give you our full attention.  

When you get here, we will have a safety meeting, get to know your needs and expectations, and have you sign liability papers, all standard. This form says if my ladder breaks while you are climbing, I'm at fault, but if you jump off, you are at fault.  During the safety meeting, we discuss any health problems which may prevent you from climbing or walking far. We talk about any special needs to help with your hunt. Then we assign your room. Before your hunt, you may perform a rifle accuracy check. Everything from your physical abilities to your type of rifle to what kind of boots you brought determine which stand you go to. That's right: if you've got on tennis shoes or knee high rubber boots, that helps me decide where you go. If you are a long-range shooter or a brush hunter, that tells me where you can hunt. If you can't walk more than a few yards, then I know where to take you. We have been doing this for more than 25 years. There is not much we have not seen. 

Your afternoon hunt will begin as soon as everyone is loaded up, before 2:00 PM, and you will hunt til dark-thirty. PLEASE do not shoot at a doe in the afternoon.  Spikes or button-bucks are too often mistaken for doe, especially as the sun dims.  You will be fined for killing or wounding a button or spike.  Additionally, this plan helps our doe  feel safe to feed at the food plots, which helps lure the bucks into the area.  We provide transportation to and from the stands. Our staff will help load the deer and will clean it for you.  Please bring coolers for your game.  Dinner is served in the Dining Hall at about 6:30.  

The next morning, we get up before daylight, eat breakfast about 4:30 AM,  and head out within the hour. We hunt till 10:30 AM. Some hunters want to hunt all day in the same spot. No problem. We can pack them a lunch and drinks. The other hunters come in and eat lunch, served at noon. Our staff will help retrieve and clean deer from the morning hunt. We leave about 1:30 for the afternoon hunt. We'll pick you up where we dropped you off after sunset. We serve supper about an hour after pick up, approximately 6:30 PM. 

Here at McKenna Ranch, we have a walk-in cooler to hold the cleaned deer. We skin, clean and quarter the deer. We like to put the quartered deer into your ice chest and place the ice chest, with the lid open, into the cooler. If for some reason you don't want the deer meat, we can use the meat. We are experts at skinning a deer for mounting. Sometimes the hunter wants us to take his trophy head to our taxidermist for mounting. Our taxidermist will UPS your mount to your home. Call us or email for any questions about this.  

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Deer Hunting Rates and Dates

2021 - 2022  DEER HUNTING      

Rates and Dates

Call for booking:  Mark 601-692-3224 


95% of our hunters visit for only 2 or 3 days.  The available dates below are for 2 - 3 day-hunts. If you want to hunt more than 3 days, we may be able to add to the front or back end of your stay.  Each additional day is $500 per hunter.  All hunters 15 and under are half-price, but to get this rate, the young hunter must be accompanied by at least one full-pay adult hunter. All non-hunting guests (such as wives or grandparents who are just along for the visit) are $100 per day.  

We require a 50% deposit.  You can send that in a personal check, money order, or cashier's check.  The balance is due upon arrival, during our safety and paperwork meeting.  We prefer cash, money order, or cashier's check for the balance.    

If you have sent your deposit and it turns out you will not be able to hunt with us, we will return your deposit, but we will NOT return your deposit if you cancel within 30 days.  We are able to put your deposit toward the next season's hunt.

There are no trophy fees.  We do charge fines for illegal dear.  There is a $250 fine for shooting bucks below the Mississippi rules of ten-inch inside spread.  Please take the time to judge a buck and let the small ones walk.  Bring an extra $250 in cash just in case.

Opening Weekend Packages  2021-2022

2-Day HuntSaturday morning, Nov 20 -Sunday night, Nov 21 (arrive Friday evening, Nov 19; depart Sunday evening or Monday morning)

$1200 per adult hunter (includes 2 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services)

$600 per hunter 15 & under accompanied by paid adult hunter (includes 2 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services) 

$200 non-hunters (includes 2 days' lodging & meals)

1 buck & 1 doe, and any hog, beaver,  or other legal game

3-Day Hunt Saturday morning, Nov 20 - Monday night, Nov 22 (arrive Friday evening, Nov 19, depart Monday night or Tues morning) 

$1700 per adult hunter (includes 3 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services)

$850 per hunter 15 & under accompanied by paid adult hunter per minor (includes 3 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services)

$300 non-hunters per paid hunter (includes 3 days' lodging & meals) 

1 buck, 2 does, and 2 hogs, beavers, or other legal game

RUT HUNTING Packages   2021-2022

The remainder of our open hunting dates are during the RUT. 

 ARRIVAL / check-in  12 noon - 1 PM (for first day's hunt)

DEPARTURE 12 noon (after the last day's morning hunt) 

Two-Day Rut Hunts

$1200 per adult hunter  (includes 2 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services) 

$600 per hunter 15 & under accompanied by paid adult hunter per minor (includes 2 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services) 

$200 non-hunters per paid hunter (includes 2 days' lodging & meals) 

1 buck, 1 doe, and any 1 hog, beaver, or other legal game

2-Day Hunts available:

December 17 - 19 (Friday - Sunday)  BOOKED

December 21 - 23 (Tuesday - Thursday) 

No hunting guests on Christmas Eve / Christmas

December 28 - 30 (Tuesday - Thursday)

No hunting guests on New Year's Day

January 7 - 9 (Friday - Sunday)

January 14 - 16 (Friday - Sunday)

January 21 - 23 (Friday - Sunday)

January 28 - 30 (Friday - Sunday)

Three-Day Rut Hunts   

$1700 per adult hunter  (includes 3 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services) 

$850 per hunter 15 & under accompanied by paid adult hunter per minor (includes 3 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services) 

$300 non-hunters per paid hunter (includes 3 days' lodging & meals) 

1 buck, 2 doe, and 2 hogs, beavers, or other legal game

3-Day Hunts available:

No hunting guests on Christmas Eve / Christmas

December 28 - 31 (Tuesday - Friday)

No hunting on New Year's Day

January 6 - 9 (Thursday - Sunday)

January 13 - 16 (Thursday - Sunday)

January 20 - 23 (Thursday - Sunday)

January 27 - 30 (Thursday - Sunday)

Four-Day Rut Hunts

$2200 per adult hunter (includes 4 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services)

$1100 per hunter 15 & under accompanied by paid adult hunter per minor (includes 3 days' hunting, lodging, meals, & services)

$400 non-hunters per paid hunter (includes 4 days' lodging & meals)

2 bucks, 2 doe and 2 hogs, and beaver, or other legal game

4-Day Hunts available:

No hunting guests on Christmas Eve / Christmas

No hunting guests on New Year's Day

January 6 - 10 (Thursday - Monday)

January 13 - 17 (Thursday - Monday)

January 20 - 24 (Thursday - Monday)

January 27 - 31 (Thursday - Monday)

We do not take hunters between opening rifle and the beginning of the rut (mid-December).  We do this because once the deer realize they are being hunted, they are cautious during this time and become weary by the rut; however, once rutting activity begins, the bucks will throw most caution to the wind, which enables a higher success rate for our hunters. 

All hunters age 15 and under are half price, but must be accompanied by at least one full-pay adult hunter.  An adult can bring more than one child. Hunters twelve and under must be accompanied by a parent on the deer stand. Older children may hunt by themselves if the parent thinks they are responsible enough to do so. Of course, the child and parent will be close to each other.

A non-hunting guest will be charged $100 per day.

On all hunts, we require a 50% deposit. We can take a personal check, money order or cashier's check for the deposit. Upon arriving at McKenna Ranch, the balance can be paid with cash, cashier's check or money order.

Make checks payable to:
Mark McKenna
680 County Road 313
Pachuta, Mississippi (MS) 39347

Hunting Details

Father and son / daughter hunts are our specialty, and we enjoy having grandparents join us for family hunts. Husbands and wives have enjoyed our facilities for many years.  Bring your fishing pole and your hiking shoes for relaxation! 

Meals and lodging are included in all hunts.  We have two double-wide mobile homes with a game room connecting the buildings.  This area has a pool table, poker table, foosball game, gun racks for your rifles, areas to store your muddy boots and jackets,  and benches for gathering.  Each one of these cabins has a master bedroom with private bath as well as 3 single rooms which share a bath.  We do our best to spread out our guests so everyone is comfortable.  

We also have a 4 bedroom 4 & 1/2 bath house for husbands and wives who hunt with us.  We do our best to put fathers and sons in a double bedroom with a bath.  The single rooms are for single hunters.  We do what we can to provide as much privacy as possible. Most of our hunters enjoy getting to know their fellow hunters in the common areas:  lifetime friendships have been forged in the game rooms and at the dinner tables.  

Meals are served in the Dining Hall - the large red building you will see as you pull up.  Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or preferences.  Typically, we serve:

Breakfast - small sausage & biscuit, fruit, danish items, cereal

Lunch - homemade soup or chili, sandwiches, burgers or sausage dogs

Supper - salad, ham, turkey, or roast beef, chicken or spaghetti, vegetables, and dessert

Beverages include sweet and unsweet tea, soft drinks, and water. 

We have full kitchens and coffee pots in each cabin / house, if you prefer to do some of your own cooking.  

AGAIN - we would like to know if you have special dietary needs before you arrive, if possible.  


We provide transportation to and from stands.  Please make sure your weapons are UNLOADED before entering any vehicle. 

Take what you need to the stand and be sure to bring it back with you - clean your trash out of the stands when you leave. 

In the afternoon, we like to use the doe as bait for the buck.  Plus, not shooting a doe in the afternoon prevents a spike being mistaken for a doe (especially at dusk).

We do not take hunters between the opening weekend and the beginning of the rut.  We also give the deer a break between large hunts to increase the likelihood of success.  See this year's schedule.  Call early (Mark: 601-692-3224) or email (mckranch@aol.com) to book your preferred dates. 

What to Bring

What to Bring

  • orange vest (Mississippi state law for rifle deer hunters)
  • Mississippi hunting license  www.mdwfp.com
  • knee-high insulated rubber boots (not needed everywhere, but just in case)
  • binoculars (very helpful)
  • range finder (makes judging distances accurate)
  • firearms & ammunition (It's good to have 2 options in case one develops problems. Our insurance will not allow us to loan rifles or provide ammunition.)
  • personal clothing (including rainwear)
  • sleeping bags (On those extra cold days, take the sleeping bag to the deer stand to step into and zip up to the chest.)
  • ice chest for harvested game

Meals and lodging are included in all hunts.  We provide transportation to and from the stands.  

You may email Mark:  mckranch@aol.com  if you have questions or need more information.  

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