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Extension Outdoors

Volunteers record the types of trash they collected during a recent Mississippi Coastal Cleanup in Biloxi, Mississippi.
April 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When I think of the beach, I picture soft, white sand and pristine, blue water. But our beaches and oceans have a dirty little secret: trash.

That's right. Several tons of trash end up in our waterways and on our beaches every year in Mississippi. In 2017 alone, volunteers with the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup collected 13 tons of trash from 40 sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This trash isn't just unsightly. It threatens the Gulf Coasts ecosystem.

Young boy in blue shirt holding large fish.
April 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fishing is fun, it can make lasting memories, and passing the sport to friends and family is rewarding in many tangible and intangible ways.

There really is no better way to bond as a family than to go fishing together. Watching children land their first fish is a deeply personal experience. Perhaps most importantly, teaching others to fish is important for the future of fish conservation.

red-winged blackbird on a wire
April 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

In today's technology-rich culture, we have come to expect instant communication with others, even if they are across the globe from us. But what if there were no texts, emails, blogs or instant messages? What if there were no words? How would humans communicate?

deer with velvet antlers chewing leaf
March 29, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Researchers at the Mississippi State University Deer Lab have one simple answer to almost every question land managers ask: Nutrition. 

How do you improve the health of a deer herd? How do you attract more deer? How do you grow bigger bucks or larger racks? Improve nutrition, and most everything else will take care of itself.

Only the eyes of a turkey hunter wearing full camouflage is visible. He is holding a wooden turkey caller.
March 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Flowers are blooming, hardwood trees are budding and flowering, songbirds are singing, and wild turkeys are mating. Mississippi has to be the prettiest place on Earth, especially in the springtime, making it my favorite time of year.

Mississippi’s wild turkeys are majestic game birds that have always been important to people in the South. The earliest North Americans probably used the turkey as food. Since that time, the turkey has held an important niche in our economy and in the environment.

A pile of large gray rocks stretches across a ditch in a country setting.
March 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Water Quality

This time of year seems to be a never-ending battle with Mother Nature. As the rain pours down, water levels in ditches, creeks, rivers and storm drains rise rapidly, increasing flood risk in urban and rural areas.

Man waters garden flowers from a water hose.
March 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- How much water do we use each day? This may sound like a simple question until we consider the direct and indirect ways we use water.

Direct water use includes the indoor and outdoor water that we physically use when we turn on a faucet in our bathrooms, kitchens or gardens. It is what most of us think of when we are asked how much water we use, but the truth is that we consume a lot of water indirectly too.

A mother duck floats with her four babies on a pond.
March 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Valentine's Day may be over but not the romance. Spring is just around the corner, and that means the start of the breeding season for wildlife. The chirps and trills of spring peepers and chorus frogs now rise into the night. Bird song greets the morning. A new season of growth and life has begun.

Several dead catfish and other fish species float clustered along  the edge of a pond.
February 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From February through April, calls begin coming in about sick and dying fish in backyard ponds.

A thin, eight-point buck stands beside a wall with drool coming from his mouth.
February 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Anger. Acceptance. Get busy. This pretty much sums up my range of emotions after the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks released a statement that a 4-year-old buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in Issaquena County last week.

Several ripe persimmons hang from tree branches surrounded by green leaves.
February 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Trees, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Deer season is over, and prescribed fire, timber management, planting food plots and other habitat improvements come later in the year, but one activity that's perfect for February and early March is planting trees.

A partially filled pond with minimal plant life visible around the banks.
February 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Terms like climate change or global warming may elicit different responses depending on your political viewpoints, but one thing is certain: Our weather is changing.

Two sturdy wire gates are raised in the large round corral trap. An automatic feeder on a tall tripod is inside the pen.
January 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late winter is the peak time for trapping wild hogs, and the door or gate is a vitally important component in the construction of any enclosure.

Several brown and multicolored adult and young hogs sniff the ground inside and outside a round wire pen with a wooden door suspended over the opening.
January 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild hogs are a tremendous problem for farmers and landowners throughout the state of Mississippi.

A drainage ditch with moving water, limbs, and trash.
January 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most people who enjoy nature and being outdoors are careful to avoid littering -- not only because it is unsightly, but also because it can harm natural resources. Bottles, for example, can become death traps for small critters seeking food and water. Bottles and other trash can clog drainage ditches and waterways, creating additional challenges, especially if they contained toxins or other pollutants.

A gray squirrel pauses as it climbs a tree.
January 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Housing and Homebuyer, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The coldest days of winter do not seem to slow squirrel activity.

One significant reason is that mating season for eastern gray squirrels lasts through January, and babies arrive about six weeks later.

Most squirrels build nests for these babies in the forks of tree branches or in the hollows of tree trunks. Their nests are created mostly out of dry leaves and twigs.

A sign nailed to a pine tree in a wooded area that reads, “POSTED PRIVATE PROPERTY.”
December 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When you invite guests to your private property for outdoor recreation, there are several ways to reduce potential liability concerns that could arise.

First, your duty as a landowner depends on the status of the visitor who is on your property. A landowner owes no duty to trespassers other than not to intentionally harm them.

Graphic illustration showing economic impact of wild hog damage to Mississippi agriculture: $298,000 to repair damage, $209,000 for control measures, $160,000 labor costs and $85,000 in lost crops.
December 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In recent years, wild pigs have been a controversial topic in wildlife and agricultural discussions from top government officials to local farmers talking over the fence.

Wild pigs are considered nuisance animals in Mississippi because of their ability to create widespread and devastating damage. Many researchers and wildlife managers have suggested that wild pigs could be North America’s most threatening invasive mammal species in terms of agricultural damage, disease transmission, native plant survival and water quality.

A small yellow bird holding a worm in its beak while perched on a small tree branch.
December 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter weather makes life more difficult for wildlife, even in the South. Animals must have shelter to survive the potentially deadly effects of ice, snow and freezing rain.

Food can be hard to find in winter. Animals that eat plants or insects have few choices once their food dies with the cold weather or is covered by wintry precipitation. Even predators face food shortages since winter conditions can cause their prey to spend more time in hiding.

A drainage pipe, with stones leading to the creek bed, emptying into Catalpa Creek.
December 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All of us live in a particular town, county, state and country. Just as importantly, we also live in a specific watershed.

Everyone on earth resides in and interacts with a watershed on a daily basis. Watersheds are natural landscape boundaries that define an area that drains into a stream, river, lake, reservoir or ocean. Watersheds can range from a few acres to thousands of square miles. They are also nested, meaning smaller watersheds make up larger watersheds.

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