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Extension Outdoors

Young campers paddle across a lake during a Mississippi State University conservation camp in 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The conclusion of the school year does not mean learning must end, too.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources are offering three summer youth camps in June. These Conservation Camps are designed to engage and excite young people in natural science and nature-based outdoor recreation. Hands-on learning, outdoor activity, and new friends and experiences are central to all three camps.

A stray fawn may look vulnerable and alone, but the mother is usually nearby keeping a watchful eye on her offspring. (Stock photo)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring is a glorious time of year. Flowers and leaves are not the only signs of new life. Plenty of food and warmer weather make this the perfect time for wildlife to mate and raise their offspring.

Youth is a time for learning and developing, and baby animals are no different from baby humans in this regard. Important life skills need to be mastered if youngsters are going to be able to survive in a harsh world. Even innate or natural skills often must be mastered through practice.

The best way to reduce the decline in northern bobwhite quail populations is to intentionally provide habitat conditions critical to their survival. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There was a time when the plucky "bob-white" call greeted the sunrise around farmlands and pine forests across the southeastern U.S. Today, the fields and forests are becoming silent, and the call of the northern bobwhite is seldom heard.

Simply taking children outside will open their eyes and hearts to the outdoors. While canoeing with adults on Bluff Lake in Noxubee County, Mississippi, this child searched for alligators and birds with her binoculars. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of us spent our childhoods outdoors in a constant state of motion, but many of today's youngsters are not experiencing the outdoor activities we remember with pleasure.

When I reminisce about my childhood, the memories that make me smile the most are of times spent outdoors with family or close friends. I still enjoy many of those same activities today.

Earthworms improve soil by creating pores to allow greater water infiltration for growing plants. They also help decompose dead plant material into nutrients that plants can use to grow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippians care about wildlife and related activities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching or just enjoying the outdoors.

Spring is the best time of the year to hang purple martin houses, such as these found at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on March 23, 2017. Place houses 15-20 feet in the air on a pole in an open space, preferably near water. These birds will be happy to help reduce the mosquito population from the area. (Submitted photo by Vicki Maples)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The purple martin is one of the most appreciated and desired birds in the state. It is a summer resident found wherever multi-celled or multi-roomed housing is available.

While they lack the notoriety of the colorful and acrobatic hummingbird, purple martins are by far the most beneficial of the backyard birds. One purple martin can consume thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. Since they are heavily dependent on humans for their shelter, purple martins seem to enjoy being around people, as well.

Now that it is legal to feed corn all year and hunt over grain on private lands during deer season, hunters may see fewer deer moving around after sunrise. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
March 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By Bill Hamrick and Chad M. Dacus
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Some hunters complain about a lack of deer every year, but the concerns this season seem to be more widespread. Since early January, radio programs, newspapers and online forums have featured much discussion about hunters statewide seeing and harvesting fewer deer during the 2016-17 season.

Turkey season in Mississippi takes place from March 15 to May 1. The fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, collectively, have been reported as having the most gobbles heard in seven of the last 10 hunting seasons. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for the chill-inducing gobble of a big tom.

Landowners can learn how to improve the quality and quantity of sport fish, such as this bluegill, in upcoming free pond management workshops. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who want to improve an existing pond or build a new one can find guidance in upcoming educational workshops.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have teamed up to offer at least seven pond management workshops this year. The short sessions will be held throughout Mississippi, so chances are good there will be one near you.

February through April are common months for fish to become stressed and die. Water quality, specifically issues with alkalinity, may be the root cause. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kevin Hudson)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter and spring weather in Mississippi is a rollercoaster ride. Some nights are below freezing, while others feel like midsummer. With the warmer, sunnier weather, people begin to pay more attention to their ponds.

This is a tailwater recovery system on a row-crop farm in the Mississippi Delta. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
February 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Irrigation, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring around the corner, gardeners and farmers are beginning to plan for the upcoming planting and growing seasons.

One important way to ensure success during the Mississippi growing season is to have a plan for irrigation. Water keeps plants alive during the hot Mississippi summers, so irrigation is often vital during times of limited rainfall.

Squirrel season and other small game hunting opportunities are some of the best ways for young hunters and others to enjoy the outdoors. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kat Lawrence)
February 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The conclusion of deer season does not mean the end of Mississippi hunting adventures for the year. It is just time to swap out gear and head back to the woods.

February brings small game hunting and other new, exciting opportunities to connect with your primitive side. Mississippi squirrel and rabbit season extends to the last day of February. It is a chance to scout for signs of turkey and look for shed antlers, but most of all, it is an excellent way to introduce kids to the outdoors.

In pine-dominated forests, thinning and prescribed fire are important management practices for creating and maintaining turkey habitat. (Submitted photo)
February 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With deer season over, many outdoor enthusiasts are looking forward to the next hunting opportunity: turkey season.

Most hunters know about planting food plots to add nutrition for deer on their property, but they may not fully understand the habitat needs of turkeys. Habitat requirements for turkeys differ each season of the year. As a result, knowing what these seasonal needs are and being able to identify habitat features that best meet these needs are essential for sustainable turkey populations.

Waterfowling remains a great way to get young hunters excited about being in the outdoors. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Adam Tullos)
January 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife

VERONA, Miss. -- Hunters love to pursue waterfowl, they are doing it in record numbers, and destinations in the South provide excellent opportunities to harvest birds.

Many archers begin with a compound bow, which uses a system of pulleys and levers to bend the limbs of the bow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
January 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many hunters share my favorite recreational activity: bow hunting white-tailed deer.

I am a fan of every benefit offered by archery, which can have a lasting impact on your life. My journey started when I got a youth model compound bow around the age of 12.

A Mississippi State University associate professor of landscape architecture, working with the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, designed this dry swale to reduce nonpoint-source pollution from runoff at a south Mississippi golf course. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker).
January 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Heavy winter and spring precipitation can result in water runoff from roads, homes, lawns and parking lots, washing more than water downstream.

As winter weather brings cold and ice, waterfowl will leave Northern habitats to find suitable resources down South. (Submitted photo)
January 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Every waterfowl hunter anticipates the cooperation of winter weather to turn the skies black with incoming ducks and geese as migratory journeys deliver the birds to decoy-laden waters in the South.

Southern hunters frequently watch the forecast in hopes that winter weather up North will finally have the ducks packing up and heading our way.

Mallard drakes are beautiful up close, but they are also stunning as they migrate across Mississippi skies in V formations. (Submitted photo)
December 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Few things are as stirring as the sight of long strings of high-altitude, migrating geese. Soft calls from on high beckon us to stop and marvel at their flight, their apparent freedom and their single-minded purpose to reach their winter home.

Geese are members of a large group of birds known as waterfowl. These large-bodied birds depend on wetlands, lakes and other watery habitats. Ducks and swans are also members of this group. Webbed feet, flattened bills and waterproof feathers are characteristics shared by most waterfowl.

Strong winds and fires can ruin an otherwise beautiful day. Before you light a fire, consider conditions and control options if the fire begins to move in unwanted directions. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Andrew Smith)
December 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Burn bans such as the ones recently imposed in Mississippi are not unusual, especially in the fall when dry leaves are abundant.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission will issue a burn ban, typically at the request of a county board of supervisors. Once approved, the ban prohibits all outdoor burning until local authorities deem that conditions have improved enough to allow safe and responsible burning.

The Delta National Forest can provide the perfect sunrise setting for duck hunters. (MSU Extension Service photo submitted)
December 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While hunting on public land can be difficult and overwhelming at times, just knowing a few tips can help increase your success.

There are plenty of places throughout Mississippi to get a taste of some of the finest hunting anywhere in the country. Residents in the southeast part of our state enjoy hunting opportunities in the DeSoto National Forest. This semicoastal national forest provides just over 500,000 acres of open-canopy pine forest habitat.

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