Wildlife & Hunting
MDWFP Partners with NWTF for Habitat Improvements on Copiah County WMA
JACKSON – Copiah County Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located west of Hazlehurst, is a heavily forested WMA owned and managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP). The MDWFP recently partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to enhance wildlife habitat on the WMA. A new 10 acre area was cleared of stumps and logging debris and will serve as a managed wildlife opening. The project received funding support from the Mississippi NWTF Chapter’s Hunting Heritage Superfund Program and an additional generous donation from the Greater Jackson Chapter.
Mississippi’s Duck Hunting Seasons Starting Soon
JACKSON – Mississippi’s regular duck hunting season opens November 27. Many waterfowl hunters are anxiously awaiting the season opener due to record breeding duck population estimates last spring. However, hunters should remember that winter severity in the northern United States and Canada, combined with local habitat quality and availability, also play major roles in how many ducks make their way to and remain in Mississippi.
White-tailed Deer Gun Season Opens November 21
JACKSON – Mississippi’s 2015 – 2016 white-tailed deer gun season opens November 21 and closes December 1. Hunting with dogs is allowed where legal during this season. Legal deer include legal bucks and antlerless deer on private lands and only legal bucks only on open public lands. The antlered buck bag limit is one buck per day, not to exceed three per annual season. Legal bucks must meet the antler criteria within the appropriate deer management zone. For youth hunters 15 years of age and younger hunting on private land and authorized state and federal lands, all three of the three buck bag limit may be any antlered deer. The antlerless deer bag limit in the Delta and Hill Deer Management Zones is five per annual season. The bag limit for antlerless deer in the Southeast Deer Management Zone and all U.S. Forest Service Lands is one per day not to exceed three per annual season.
MDWFP Biologist John Gruchy Honored by Regional Peers, Named 2015 SEAFWA Wildlife Biologist of the Year
JACKSON – The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named John Gruchy the 2015 Wildlife Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Asheville, NC on November 3, 2015. Gruchy is the private lands habitat coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP).
WMA Waterfowl Draw Hunt Applications Now Open
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is now accepting online applications for Wildlife Management Area (WMA) waterfowl draw hunts. Applications can be submitted at www.mdwfp.com/draws. All applicants must have a valid WMA user permit to apply. WMA user permits are available for purchase online at www.mdwfp.com or may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold.
Preparing for Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities on WMAs
JACKSON –Throughout Mississippi, wintering waterfowl habitat and hunting areas are being prepared for the upcoming waterfowl season. The recent and much needed rain has helped to jump start fall flooding of waterfowl hunting units. The rain also began the process of putting water in many areas on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) without pumping capability.
Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities in North Mississippi
JACKSON – Multiple Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in northeast Mississippi offer public hunting opportunity to pursue waterfowl during the 2015 – 2016 hunting season. Canal Section, Graham Lake, Upper Sardis, and Tuscumbia WMAs have a variety of managed and natural wetlands that attract wintering waterfowl.
Special Primitive Weapons Season for Deer Opens November 9
JACKSON – Mississippi’s special primitive weapons season for white-tailed deer will open November 9 in the Hill and Delta Deer Management Zones. The special primitive weapons season is for antlerless deer only on private lands and open public lands from November 9 – November 20. This special season is provided to help hunters in areas with higher deer densities earlier opportunities to achieve antlerless harvest objectives prior to the rut. Only archery equipment and primitive firearms may be used during this season.
Youth Gun Deer Season Opens November 7
JACKSON – The gun deer season for youth hunters age 15 and younger begins November 7. This season provides youth hunters with the first firearms deer hunting opportunity. Youth may use any firearm and zone-specific spread and main beam antler regulations do not apply to youth hunters. The bag limit on Delta and Hill Zone antlerless deer is five per annual season. The bag limit on Southeast Zone antlerless deer is one per day not to exceed three per annual season. Youth may harvest one buck with any hardened antler per day not to exceed three bucks for the entire hunting season.
Habitat Improvements Continue on Copiah County WMA
JACKSON – Copiah County Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located west of Hazlehurst, is a heavily forested WMA, owned and managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP). Approximately 200 acres of timber were recently thinned, this timber harvest will improve forest health and wildlife habitat by opening the forest canopy which allows sunlight to reach the ground. Sunlight, along with soil disturbance, promotes the growth of desirable vegetation that provides food and cover for many wildlife species.
MS Rabbit Season Opens October 17
JACKSON – Mississippi’s 2015 – 2016 rabbit hunting season opens October 17, 2015 and closes February 28, 2016. The bag limit is eight per day. Rabbit hunting is a fun and exciting way to spend time with family and friends. Rabbit hunters are encouraged to take youth hunting, but be sure to provide supervision on safe firearms handling and shooting.
MDWFP Commission Adopts Change to Wildlife Supplemental Feeding Rule
JACKSON – A change to the wildlife supplemental feeding rule was adopted by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at its recent meeting on September 16. The adopted change removes the “line of sight” prohibition from the rule, allowing hunters to place approved feeders in locations where they can be seen by the hunters. Unchanged in the rule is the requirement that hunters must be at least 100 yards from the feeder.
Wildlife Habitat Improved at John Bell Williams and Tuscumbia WMAs
JACKSON – Habitat improvements on John Bell Williams and Tuscumbia Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are expected to help resident and migratory birds. Tuscumbia WMA has approximately 2,000 acres of wetland habitat and is located in Alcorn County. John Bell Williams WMA is a 2,930-acre tract of bottomland and upland hardwood forest located in Prentiss County.
Mississippi Deer Archery Seasons Open October 1 & 15
JACKSON – Many Mississippians are looking forward to the opening of deer archery season on October 1 for the Hill and Delta Zones and October 15 for the Southeast Zone. Longbows, recurves, compound bows, and crossbows are all considered legal archery equipment and can be used during all hunting seasons for deer. There is no minimum or maximum draw weight, no minimum arrow length, and fixed or mechanical broadheads may be used.
Squirrel Season Opens October 1
JACKSON – The Mississippi fall squirrel season opens statewide on October 1, 2015 and closes February 28, 2016. The special youth squirrel season is September 24 – September 30 on private lands and authorized state and federal lands only. The bag limit is eight squirrels per day.
Changes to Hunting Regulations at Great River Road Wildlife Management Area
JACKSON – At the September meeting of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, hunting regulations for Great River Road Wildlife Management Area (WMA) were changed. Changes are as follows:
State and Federal Duck Stamps Now Available Online
JACKSON — Thanks to our abundance of waterfowl and habitat, hunting and viewing are very popular in Mississippi, and witnessing the teal migration and hunting season in September is a great start to the fall. One of the most important steps in preparing for the waterfowl season is purchasing state and federal duck stamps. But, even to the most experienced hunter, purchasing a state and federal waterfowl stamp may seem a bit confusing.
Alligator Hunting Season Yields Record Harvest
JACKSON – The 2015 Mississippi public water alligator hunting season closed on September 7; the private lands hunting season remains open until 6 a.m. on September 21. To increase participation among permitted hunters this year, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) changed the sale of public water alligator hunting permits to a first come, first served process. In 2013 and 2014, only 75 percent of eligible permit holders participated, with a harvest of 671 and 682 alligators, respectively. Preliminary harvest reports and surveys submitted for 2015 indicate a record harvest of over 960 alligators and over 90 percent participation among permitted hunters.
Fall Food Plot Planting May Be Delayed on Some WMAs
JACKSON – As the days get shorter and fall draws near, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) biologists and Wildlife Management Area (WMA) managers across the state begin preparing to plant fall food plots on WMAs. Hunters returning to visit their favorite WMA will see evidence of clipping, spraying, or disking as wildlife openings are prepared for planting. However, wildlife openings on some United States Forest Service (USFS) WMAs may remain unplanted until late fall or possibly for the entire hunting season.
MDWFP Offering Dove Hunting Opportunity in Webster County
JACKSON –As part of its Private Lands Dove Field Program, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has prepared a dove field in Webster County and is offering a limited number of hunting permits for purchase. The 65-acre browntop millet field is located northwest of Eupora.
MDWFP Offering Dove Hunting Opportunity in Kemper County
JACKSON –As part of its Private Lands Dove Field Program, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has prepared a dove field in Kemper County and is offering a limited number of hunting permits for purchase. The 57-acre browntop millet and goat weed field is located east of Scooba.
MDWFP Commission Proposes Change to Wildlife Supplemental Feeding Rule
JACKSON – A change to the wildlife supplemental feeding rule was proposed by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at its recent meeting on August 19th.
New Hunting Opportunity at Great River Road State Park Wildlife Management Area
JACKSON – Great River Road facilities were decimated by the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Since that time, the city of Rosedale has managed the new day-use section of the park, while the remaining property was closed to the public due to flood damage.
Mississippi’s Waterfowl Late Seasons Announced
Jackson –The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved dates for the 2015 – 2016 waterfowl hunting seasons. “Breeding populations were strong again in 2015, which will result in a liberal season framework of 60 days with a 6-duck daily bag limit,” said Houston Havens, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Waterfowl Program Leader.
MDWFP Offers Dove Hunting Opportunities on Private Lands
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) offers public dove hunting opportunities on leased private lands throughout the state. The Private Lands Dove Field Program began in 2004 in an effort to provide additional public dove hunting opportunities. For this hunting season, private land dove fields will be located in Kemper, Panola, Pearl River, Scott, and Webster counties. “Dove hunting is very popular; however, MDWFP has recognized that having access to properly prepared, family-friendly dove fields can be difficult for people to find,” says Houston Havens, MDWFP Waterfowl Program Leader. Havens says, “MDWFP has partnered with farmers to make their fields available for hunters. Our goal is to have a safe field that offers good hunting for the entire family to enjoy.”
Deer and Early Teal Hunting Applications Available August 3
JACKSON – Beginning August 3, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will accept draw permit applications for deer and early season teal hunts on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Applicants must apply online at www.mdwfp.com/draws and have a valid Mississippi hunting license before applying for a WMA draw hunt.
Special Dove Hunting Opportunities for Youth on WMAs
JACKSON – In Mississippi, fall officially begins with fast-action dove hunts on warm September afternoons. Dove hunting is an excellent opportunity to introduce youth to hunting and shooting sports. The social atmosphere of dove hunting also introduces youth to the experience of the hunting camp tradition and creates special memories with family and friends. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is providing unique hunting opportunities for youth on our Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). This year there will be two youth dove hunts held on Black Prairie and Mahannah WMAs.
Lt. Governor Reeves Visits Howard Miller WMA
Lt. Governor Reeves Visits Howard Miller WMA
JACKSON—Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves visited Howard Miller Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Issaquena County today to view progress on habitat and access improvements. Since the WMA was acquired by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) in 2007, it has provided public hunting opportunities for migratory birds and served to demonstrate successful techniques in restoring and managing waterfowl habitat through agriculture and wetland management. "The unique partnership between MDWFP and local agriculture provides excellent waterfowl habitat, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities for our sportsmen and women," said Lt. Gov. Reeves. "Hunting and outdoor recreation provides a big boost to the Delta's economy, and I encourage Mississippians to support conservation by passing on this important heritage to the next generation."
Mississippi Alligator Hunting Permits Sold Out
JACKSON – For the first time since alligator hunting began in Mississippi, public water alligator hunting permits went on sale on a first come, first served basis July 14 at 9 a.m.; all permits sold within 45 minutes.
Mississippi Black Bears on the Move
JACKSON – In recent weeks, several areas across Mississippi have experienced higher than normal black bear activity. During spring and summer, after a few months of inactivity, these bears resume their normal life cycle and begin roaming in search of food. This seasonal nomadic activity is what is responsible for bear sightings that have been documented recently across Mississippi.
Mississippi’s Early Waterfowl Seasons Announced
JACKSON–The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved dates for the 2015 – 2016 early teal and Canada goose hunting seasons during their monthly meeting on June 10, 2015. The early teal season is September 12 – 27. The bag limit for September teal is 6 per day with no more than 18 in possession. The hunting season for resident Canada geese is September 1 – 15. The daily bag limit is 5 Canada geese with a possession limit of 15.
Duck Breeding Pop. Remain High in 2015
JACKSON - The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service recently completed their annual waterfowl population surveys on the breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canadian provinces. These surveys monitor waterfowl populations and critical wetland habitat conditions, which are used to help set hunting season frameworks. Overall, North American breeding duck population estimates increased one percent from 2014 estimates and remained just over 49 million birds.
Mississippi’s Early Migratory Game Bird Seasons Announced
JACKSON–The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved dates for the 2015-2016 early hunting seasons for migratory game birds during its monthly meeting on June 10, 2015. These early seasons include resident Canada geese, early teal, snipe, woodcock, dove, and rails.
Nuisance Animal Control Conserves Habitat on Canal Section, Divide Section, and John Bell Williams WMAs
JACKSON – Annually, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) actively remove beavers and feral hogs from Canal Section, Divide Section, and John Bell Williams Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) located in northeast Mississippi. Approximately 260 beavers and 70 feral hogs have been removed, primarily through trapping, since July 2014. The result is the conservation of hundreds of acres of habitat on these WMAs.
Prescribed Burning Program Accepting Applications
Jackson – The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is continuing its partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Wildlife Mississippi, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Mississippi Forestry Commission and others to provide cost-share for prescribed burning on private lands. Since its inception in 2011, the “Fire on the Forty” program has provided cost-share funding for prescribed burning on more than 35,000 acres in North and South Mississippi.
Leave Fawns Alone
JACKSON – With the official start of summer, white-tailed deer fawns begin to appear in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) wants to remind people to LEAVE FAWNS ALONE. Many Mississippians will come across a newborn fawn this summer. However, well-meaning people think the fawn has been abandoned or is sick, and want to take the fawn home to care for it. “We tell people the same thing every year – please LEAVE FAWNS ALONE,” said MDWFP Deer Program Leader Lann Wilf.
Infrastructure and Habitat Improvements on Pascagoula River WMA
JACKSON – This summer, major infrastructure improvements are scheduled for the 37,000 acre Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in George and Jackson counties. Improvements will include re-graveling and widening of roads, repairs to water crossings, and boat ramp maintenance. Infrastructure maintenance is a year-round job for WMA personnel as the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) strives to provide adequate access for both public activities and management tasks.
Timber Harvests Scheduled for Copiah County and Canemount WMAs
JACKSON – Copiah County Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Canemount WMA are heavily forested WMAs owned and managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP). As part of the overall management plan for these WMAs, MDWFP personnel conduct timber inventory cruises and prioritize areas that need to be managed. Once a timber management area is determined, MDWFP personnel enter the timber stands and individually mark trees to be harvested. Timber marking criteria are based on several variables such as tree density, health, tree species, and wildlife management objectives.
2015 Alligator Hunting Seasons Announced
JACKSON – The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks finalized regulations for the 2015 alligator hunting season on public waters and private lands in Mississippi at its April meeting. The statewide public waters season will include opportunities in specific public waterways. A total of 920 permits will be available within seven hunting zones across the state for the ten day season which begins August 28 and runs through September 7.
MWFP Foundation Super Hunt Fishing Rodeo
Jackson–The Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Foundation (MWFP) is sponsoring the Super Hunt Fishing Rodeo for youth with disabilities at Turcotte Education Center on Saturday, May 9. This event is open to disabled youth ages 6-17, and will begin at noon.
New Pascagoula River Blueway on Pascagoula River WMA
JACKSON – The Pascagoula River is recognized as the largest unimpeded river system in the contiguous United States. The river spans the length of the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), a 37,000-acre tract of predominately bottomland hardwood forest located within George and Jackson counties. Recently, a 22-mile portion of the river in George County was designated as a national blueway thanks to help from numerous collaborators and a grant through the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Project partners include the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Pascagoula River Basin Alliance, George County Economic Development Foundation, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The goal of the Pascagoula River Blueway is to promote public use and enjoyment of the Pascagoula River and its natural resources.
Infrastructure Improvements on Charles Ray Nix WMA
JACKSON –The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is planning to repair and improve access on Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Panola County. Work will include stabilizing creek crossings, replacing culverts, and repairing sections of WMA roads. When completed, the improvements will restore management access to remote parts of the WMA, reduce erosion, and provide better access for WMA visitors. Work is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015. Similar infrastructure improvements are also planned for Canal Section, John Bell Williams, and Sardis Waterfowl WMAs. Work on Sardis Waterfowl WMA will be performed by the Sardis Lake Corps of Engineers.
Upcoming Habitat Management Activities on WMAs
JACKSON – As the days get longer and winter draws to a close, months of habitat management planning are about to be put into action across Mississippi. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks' (MDWFP) biologists and Wildlife Management Area (WMA) managers across the state have been preparing to take habitat management plans from paper to the field. When habitat management is mentioned, most hunters often think of food plots and wonder what they should plant. However, food plots make up a very small percentage of the overall landscape. Due to past implementation of habitat management techniques across Mississippi’s WMAs, food resources, nesting cover, brood-rearing cover, and escape cover are plentiful throughout the state.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Funding Keeps WMAs Open
JACKSON— Mississippi's system of wildlife management areas (WMAs) includes mitigation lands owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and managed by MDWFP. This unique partnership between state and federal agencies allows USACE to continue their flood protection and navigation activities in the state. This arrangement also provides habitat for a variety of species, including waterfowl, deer, and small game, and offers important public recreational opportunities, and supplies economic benefits to local communities.
Live Webcam Offers Glimpse of Waterfowl in the Mississippi Delta
JACKSON – Waterfowl are continually arriving on many Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the Delta to make Mississippi their winter home. A special video camera was installed on one of these WMAs to give the public a live look at the lives of waterfowl and other waterbirds in the Delta. This is the first time that this technology has been used to give the public the opportunity to view live footage of wintering ducks on public lands that are open to hunting.