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Extension Outdoors

Medium-sized trees grow in straight rows as the sun highlights the green treetops and ground covering.
June 14, 2019 - Filed Under: Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although sweetgum is not considered a highly desirable species today, it was once a very favored species. Old-growth sweetgum produces heartwood with a much-appreciated reddish color (also known as red gum), and it is even more desirable if the wood is figured.

Side view of a fish with a needle device pointed between scales in the lower midsection. “Fish Venting Tool” is printed on the handle of the needle.
June 7, 2019 - Filed Under: Fisheries

Catch and release angling can be an effective conservation tool but only when it’s done correctly.

Countless trees of various sizes with the sun breaking through the canopy in spots.
May 31, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. --  There are major differences between hardwood management and pine management, but they have one goal in common: Landowner objectives should drive the course of action.

Two deer are lying down beside a remote road that ends at a closed farm gate with floodwater and debris floating beyond and around the area.
May 24, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Extensive flooding in the Mississippi Delta is pushing animals out of their comfort zones and creating stressful conditions as they just try to survive. Animals that can move ahead of the floodwaters will be concentrated on higher ground, potentially creating complications and conflict.

Sun shines down through rows of young pine trees, each about 10 inches in diameter, with minimal greenery visible.
May 17, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Management

Since the downfall of the housing market in 2007 and the subsequent recession, stumpage prices have fallen for every sector of the pine forestry market for pulpwood, chip-and-saw and sawtimber.

Surrounded by green leaves and grasses, a baby deer with spots looks toward the camera.
May 10, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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

The young, formative years are perfect for learning and developing, and baby animals are no different from baby humans in this regard. Important life skills need to be mastered while individuals are young if they are going to be able to survive in a harsh world. Even innate or natural skills often must be mastered through practice.

The view down a two-lane road with a wide expanse of water on each side and nearly touching the road. A road sign marks the Tallahatchie County line.
May 3, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Climate change is a political trigger; simply mentioning it leads to arguments between colleagues, families and friends. Many arguments are reasonable discussions on which actions or inactions are best for the economy, society or the environment. That is how politics works.

A stand of tall pine trees with significant amounts of green brush, grass and small trees growing beneath them.
April 26, 2019 - Filed Under: Trees, Forestry

VERONA, Miss. – Before loblolly pines became the premier pine species in the United States, Mississippi native shortleaf pines offered some outstanding traits that are still valuable today.

April 18, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kermit the Frog hopped into stardom from the Mississippi Delta town of Leland. His real-world “relatives” are waking with spring rains and warmer weather, but there are not as many amphibians as there were when Kermit was a tadpole.

A man in a reflective vest leans over holding a bale of pine straw in one hand while using the other hand to spread pine straw on the ground.
April 12, 2019 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Economics

Times are tough for pine tree producers. Sawtimber prices have declined sharply over the past decade, while supplies have steadily increased -- an unfortunate scenario that has left many landowners looking for alternative sources of income.

Seven people with garden shovels add grassy plants to a shoreline with large concrete bricks forming a long narrow formation in the water just off the shore.
April 5, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources

Mississippi residents who live near the water often consider ways to protect shorelines from erosion. Construction of living shorelines is a popular technique, but it can be hard to find qualified contractors to build these structures.

Small pile containing a rubber glove, an empty plastic bottle and two aluminum cans on wet sand.
March 29, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment

Marine debris is a growing problem, but the solution is staring at us in the mirror.

Man holding a clipboard looks at camera while standing in a wooded area beside a tree with orange ribbons tied around the trunk at shoulder height.
March 22, 2019 - Filed Under: Urban and Community Forestry

American sycamores can grow to be large and stately with mottled bark of white and green and huge, shallow-lobed leaves. Their wood has a number of uses, including furniture, boxes, crates, paper and butcher blocks (because of its hardness). Sycamores are also widely used as ornamental trees throughout the East, South and Midwest.

A man in a conservation officer uniform stands looking down at a large bird held under his arm.
March 15, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Mississippi turkey hunters should reflect on the wild turkey's history in our great state and never take this majestic bird for granted. Historically, Mississippi's landscape was rich with wild turkeys. Writings from early explorers, and naturalists who came later, suggest turkeys were plentiful throughout much of the state. However, by the early 1900s, Mississippi's wild turkey population was in serious decline.

Man wearing hardhat and gloves walks across a stand of pine trees with a handheld torch pipe igniting pine straw on the ground. Background includes lines of low flames, greenery and smoke.
March 8, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology

Few folks may realize that Mississippi forests are adapted to periodic, low-intensity fires.

Regional map of Mississippi and Tennessee counties with cases of chronic wasting disease.
March 1, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A year after chronic wasting disease was found in Mississippi, my deer season was very different than those in the past.

While I still considered management and hunting strategies, I could not escape the disappointment I would feel if the disease we call CWD had progressed to my cherished hunting spots. Luckily, it was not detected where I hunt, but other places in Mississippi did not fare so well.

A close-up picture of a cluster of white flowers, which individually have five petals on light-green stems. Other clusters on the tree are out of focus in the background.
February 22, 2019 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Under constant, ideal conditions, Bradford pear trees could provide a quarter century of beauty. Unfortunately, the weather will never cooperate to protect these vulnerable ornamental trees for an extended time.

A harvested field spans out with trees lining the right edge and far side on a sunny day.
February 15, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries, Water Quality

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In past decades, researchers have revealed many connections between water bodies and adjacent landscapes. Much attention has been given to how soil, water, nutrients, pollutants -- and energy, in general -- move from land to nearby water bodies in runoff.

A mature turkey walks to the right through low grass as it examines the ground on a sunny day.
February 8, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Each spring, wild turkeys -- the largest gamebirds in the state -- begin their annual mating rituals and behaviors. The season attracts thousands of hunters into Mississippi woods for hunting opportunities every year.

Ice covers a large pond with trees on the far side.
February 1, 2019 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries

Weather in late-winter Mississippi is always a rollercoaster, with cold snaps followed by spring-like reprieves followed by more cold snaps.

Occasionally, the temperature dips low enough to freeze pond surfaces, but a week later, the bass are shallow and biting. Every few years, we get a deep freeze in the single digits for several days, and most tranquil water bodies freeze over. The ice can be an inch deep or thicker and persist for several weeks. Many of us ill-prepared Southerners worry about the impact on our fish

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