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.
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.
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.
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 may be right behind her. So we wait in the stand until sunset.
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 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.
Many years ago, our Founder (Father, Steve McKenna, Sr.) said that we should never allow doe to be shot on the pipelines. He wanted the pipelines and powerlines to be a doe haven. We still follow his guidelines. My Father had many sayings. One was "the 1, 2, 3 rule: 1 - the doe runs into view; 2 - aim your rifle from whence the doe came; 3 - shoot the buck following the doe." Another of his sayings was, "If the deer keeps moving, keep shooting." This second saying may seem like overkill, but every year, a buck gets away because this advice was not followed. Another of my father's sayings: "No binoculars!" Each season, hunters tell us they did not get a shot at a buck because of the lost time putting the binoculars down and finding the buck in their rifle scopes.
Your afternoon hunt will begin as soon as everyone is loaded up, before 2:00 PM, and you will hunt til dark-thirty. 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.
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 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 after sunset where we dropped you off. 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.
2022 - 2023 DEER HUNTING Booked UP!
Rates and Dates
Call for booking: Mark 601-692-3224
The great State of Mississippi wants a bigger cut from us; therefore we have to raise the cost by $100 for the Department of Revenue.
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 coming with paid hunter (wives, grandparents 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. 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 will put your deposit toward 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.
2 day hunts: 1 buck, 1 doe, 1 hog
$1600; $800 child; $200 non-hunter
3-day hunts: 1 buck, 2 doe, 2 hogs
$2100; $1050 child; $300 non-hunter
4-day hunts: 2 bucks, 2 doe, 2 hogs
$2600; $1300 child; $400 non-hunter
Opening Weekend Packages 2023-24
Saturday morning, Nov 17 - Sunday night, Nov 19
(arrive Friday evening, Nov 16;
depart Sunday evening or Monday morning)
Saturday morning, Nov 17 - Monday night, Nov 20
(arrive Friday evening, Nov 16;
depart Monday night or Tuesday morning)
Saturday morning, Nov 17 - Tuesday night, Nov 21
(arrive Friday evening, November 16;
depart Tuesday night or Wednesday morning)
RUT HUNTING Packages 2023- 2024
The remainder of our open hunting dates are during the RUT.
ARRIVAL: check-in 12 noon
(for first day's afternoon hunt)
DEPARTURE: 12 noon
(after the last day's morning hunt)
December 15 - 17 (Friday - Sunday)
December 21 - 23 (Thursday - Saturday)
(No hunting guests on Christmas Eve / Christmas)
December 28 - 30 (Thursday - Saturday)
(No hunting guests on New Year's Eve / New Year's)
January 5 - 7 (Friday - Sunday)
January 12 - 14 (Friday - Sunday)
January 19 - 21 (Friday - Sunday)
January 26 - 28 (Friday - Sunday)
3 - Day Hunts_
December 14 - 17 (Thursday - Sunday)
December 20 - 23 (Wednesday - Saturday)
(No hunting guests on Christmas Eve / Christmas)
December 28 - 30 (Wednesday - Saturday)
(No hunting guests on New Year's Eve / New Year's
January 4 - 7 (Thursday - Sunday)
January 11 - 14 (Thursday - Sunday)
January 18 - 21 (Thursday - Sunday)
January 25 - 28 (Thursday - Sunday)
4 - Day Hunts
December 13 - 17 (Wednesday - Sunday)
(no 4-day hunt available weekend of December 23-24)
December 27 - 30 (Tuesday - Friday
(No hunting guests on New Year's Eve / New Year's )
January 3 - 7 (Wednesday - Sunday)
January 10 - 14 (Wednesday - Sunday)
January 17 - 21 (Wednesday - Sunday)
January 24 - 28 (Wednesday - Sunday)
Deer Hunting in our section of Mississippi ends on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
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.
Some hunters want to come between the posted hunting dates. No can do. Sure, we'd like more money, but we feel it's unfair to the next hunting group. We spread the dates out in an effort to keep the pressure on the deer low. As a result, hunters comment on how some deer don't run off after a rifle has been fired.
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 or we can send an invoice via email so you can pay electronically. Upon arriving, please pay balance with cash, cashier's check or money order.
Make checks payable to:
McKenna Ranch Outfitters
741 County Road 313
Pachuta, Mississippi (MS) 39347
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 a 6 bedroom 6 & 1/2 bath guest house for hunters. Another bunk area will accommodate 2 - 4 hunters. We do our best to put families together with their own bathrooms. 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. We have recently added two camper sites for hunters. Contact us for availability if you want to bring a camper for your group. Meals and other services are still provided.
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 - sausage & biscuit, or frozen breakfast sandwiches, fruit, danish items, cereal, coffee & juices
Lunch - homemade soup or chili, sandwiches, burgers or sausage dogs
Supper - salad or cole slaw, ham, turkey, or roast beef, pork chops, chicken or spaghetti with vegetables, and dessert
Beverages include coffee, sweet and unsweet tea, soft drinks, and water.
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.
We do not take hunters between the opening weekend and the beginning of the rut. We also give the deer a break between group hunts to increase the likelihood of success. See this year's schedule. Call early (Mark: 601-692-3224) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book your preferred dates. Check out our facebook page: McKenna Ranch Sports & Recreation, Pachuta, MS
Meals and lodging are included in all hunts. We provide transportation to and from the stands.
You may email Mark: email@example.com if you have questions or need more information.
Deer Hunting Gallery