Mississippi national forests could reduce deer dog hunting

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Hunters who use dogs to pursue deer could see reduced access to national forests in Mississippi.

A report for the U.S. Forest Service finds few large continuous tracts of national forest land in Mississippi judged suitable for hunting with dogs.

Adjoining landowners often complain when dogs enter their property.

Forest Service spokesman Mario Rossilli tells the Clarion Ledger that officials will meet with interested groups to discuss possible changes.

But David Smith, president of the Mississippi Dog Hunting Association, says if the Forest Service would open closed forest roads, it would allow hunters to catch dogs before they leave public lands. He says roads are opened for hunters in Alabama and Georgia.

Smith also questions the validity of the report because University of Georgia researchers didn't come to Mississippi before issuing it.