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Extension Outdoors

Alert gray squirrel pauses on a platform with shrubbery in the background.
August 10, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Ever wonder what wildlife species are in your backyard during the day while you are at work or school and at night while you are sleeping? Well, now you can find out with the help of a trail camera.

A left hand holds a mostly red fish down with a right hand marking the tail’s end on a measuring tape.
August 3, 2018 - Filed Under: Marine Resources

Scientists have embarked on a colossal research project to estimate the abundance of red snapper, the most sought-after offshore fish in the U.S. controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

A buck looks back over his shoulder at another buck with larger antlers.
July 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

This fall, hunters will grab their bows, muzzleloaders and rifles to hunt North America’s most pursued big game animal -- the white-tailed deer.

Bright light shines on a large black and gray snake in the water along a pond’s edge at night.
July 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Most Mississippians look for activities that include shade or air conditioning to escape the heat during the dog days of summer. For those who enjoy wildlife watching, the summer heat can force us to alter our plans to the bookends of the day.

More than a dozen young people listen to a teacher while they stand on a cement bridge overlooking a large ditch.
July 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It's that time of year when many parts of the state really need a good rain. Afternoon pop-up storms often bring torrential downpours that drop a couple of inches of rain in less than an hour, instead of the perfect, slow showers we need.

Older man holds a fishing pole on the shoreline while watching a red cork on a quiet pond.
July 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Oxygen-related fish kills can completely wipe out otherwise healthy ponds, but there is a strategy pond owners can use to control this problem.

Anoxia -- the lack of oxygen -- can form in deeper water layers of a pond during warmer months. Deeper water is heavier and denser, which prevents it from mixing with warm surface water where air and oxygen-producing microorganisms are found. As deeper water becomes isolated, its oxygen levels are depleted, reducing fish habitat and increasing the risk of fish kills.

Looking down on a round pan with various small pieces of plastic.
June 29, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- Marine debris, largely composed of discarded plastic products, is one of the most alarming issues facing the world’s seas today.

Plastics have the advantages of being cheap, lightweight, durable and easy to make. Unfortunately, single-use plastics often serve their intended purposes in a matter of seconds before they enter the endless stream of waste humans generate.

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.

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