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Extension Outdoors

Thick, shoulder-high plants growing under tall trees in a wooded area.
June 15, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People often ask what they can plant to improve wildlife numbers on their property. Before seeking advice on what to plant, the first question should be, "Is food a limiting factor?"

Most often, Mother Nature has provided all the food wildlife need, assuming animals are provided the proper habitat. Still, there is an ecological principle at work called Liebig’s Law of the Minimum.

June 8, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, White-Tailed Deer

Two of the biggest current threats to wildlife in our state are wild hogs and chronic wasting disease.

The current wild hog problem and confirmation of a CWD-positive deer this year in Issaquena County are examples of how the selfish actions of a very small segment of the hunting population can set off a negative chain of reactions that reach beyond the initial impact to wildlife species.

White V-shaped waves trail behind a boat on a sea of blue.
June 1, 2018 - Filed Under: Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss. -- In everyday life, “don’t make waves” means don’t cause trouble. On the water in no-wake zones, it means basically the same thing.

Wakes are waves created as vessels travel through the water. A no-wake zone is an area where vessels are expected to travel slowly to minimize wakes.

Small body of water with tall grass nearest the camera and mostly bare trees on the other side.
May 25, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss. -- Coastal areas are dynamic in nature, which means they are constantly changing.

A fitting example of the dynamics of coastlines can be found by looking at historical, but relatively recent, aerial photos of Pelican Island off Dauphin Island, Alabama.

A black and white dog stands alert with his tail up and ears forward in tall grass with trees in the background.
May 18, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, outdoor physical exercise and other outdoor recreation mean millions of dollars for Mississippi annually.

Mississippi State University scientists recently found that wildlife-related recreation generates about $2.9 million in economic impact to the state each year. Some of the money spent on outdoor recreation goes to small, rural Mississippi communities that would not see these expenditures otherwise.

A northern snakehead is an invasive fish that can reach lengths of about 33 inches and are generally golden tan to a pale brown with dark-brown mottling.
May 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Catching a northern snakehead fish may not seem like such a big deal until you realize that this unique critter is not native to the U.S. and it’s illegal to transport, sell or possess live snakeheads in Mississippi.
 
A lake with bare trees full of large birds perched in the branches.
May 4, 2018 - Filed Under: Catfish, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Over the past 15 years, there has been a steady decline in Mississippi catfish production.

Two small gray squirrels peak out between wooden slats with nesting material behind them.
April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a flying squirrel!

While technically unable to fly like birds and bats, the southern flying squirrel is able to glide from tree to tree using the membrane between its front and back legs to stay airborne. The adaptation of gliding for this squirrel subspecies usually keeps the animals away from predators on the ground.

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.

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