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Extension Outdoors

Woman in wading pants collects a water sample in a creek.
August 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Healthy Soils and Water, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Recreation in and around water is a great way to get outside in the warmer months and still stay cool. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, wildlife watching, exploring creeks and streams, or paddling coastal bays and estuaries, Mississippi’s waterways have a lot to offer.

Bucket full of trash.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Animal Health, Health, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The amount of trash along Mississippi’s roadways and waterways is distressing. Beer bottles, soda cans, soiled diapers, cardboard boxes and fast-food wrappers are routine. Tires, gas cans and household appliances are not uncommon.

Every day, people discard millions of tons of trash in recycling containers or garbage cans. Unfortunately, people also leave trash in other places where it can harm wildlife, pets and even other people.

Girl in a blue T-shirt and baseball cap holding a small fish.
June 18, 2021 - Filed Under: Environment, Fish Management

Grandpa cast the jig and cork to the center of the pond and handed it to Lucy. “Now, start reeling in slowly,” he said.

She did as Grandpa instructed. On the third crank of the reel, the float disappeared several inches below the water surface, and Grandpa shouted, “She’s got it; reel it in!”

That day, Lucy perfected her casting technique and caught nearly a dozen small bass and several large bluegill.

A bird with black and gray feathers perches on a stem.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Biology, Environment

The terms “bird of prey” or “predatory bird” are most often used to describe birds that hunt and kill their prey -- a species also known as raptors. But while all raptors are birds of prey, not all birds of prey are raptors.

Graphic showing red snapper count in the Gulf of Mexico.
April 14, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management

BILOXI, Miss. -- The results of the Great Red Snapper Count are in!

In 2017, a team of fisheries experts began a two-year task of estimating the population size of red snapper in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico through this unprecedented, federally funded $12 million project. Scientists from several Southeastern universities and institutes, including Mississippi State University, used a variety of methods across the Gulf to accomplish this ambitious goal.

A wild gobbler turkey with brown and black feathers and a red head.
March 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nothing sends a charge of electricity up my spine quite like the boom of a gobbler sounding off in Mississippi woodlands. If you have ever had the privilege of hearing a male turkey gobbler announce his presence in Mississippi oak or hickory hardwood and pine forests, you’ll never forget it. 

Many hunters take to the woods during turkey season to experience this exhilaration and for the chance to glimpse the spectacle of a strutting gobbler in full display to attract turkey hens for mating.

Tall grass protects water from invading dry land.
February 25, 2021 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- Most folks dream of owning a piece of shoreline property on a river, a lake or the Gulf Coast. There is something about looking out over the water that is hard to describe.

Additionally, recreational opportunities like fishing aren’t bad either.

If you’re fortunate enough to own a piece of shoreline property, the last thing you want to happen is for it to erode.

Fishing vessel trawls multiple nets for shrimp.
January 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries

 

A deer with antlers standing in the snow.
November 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Trees, Christmas Trees

“Where are all the bucks?”

Several years ago, Larry Castle, formerly of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), and Steve Demarais of the Mississippi State University Deer Lab got together to discuss what could be done to address deer hunter questions and concerns regarding where bucks were going during hunting season. For years, Larry and his team at MDWFP would get questions from hunters who were frustrated with not seeing the deer they think they should be seeing. 

A bird eats seed from a feeder.
October 15, 2020 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Plants and Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- When all things “pumpkin spice” start filling up your social media feed, you know it’s time to start winter preparations for backyard wildlife.

Many people feel invigorated to get outside and do yard work in the first cool days of October.  To help you channel this energy, here are some easy tips on how to provide needed habitat for our critter friends while still tidying up the yard.

Person in straw hat tying up white trash bags.
September 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

In an effort to expand Mississippi Coastal Cleanup activities inland, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program recently awarded the Mississippi State University Extension Service a grant to start a Mississippi Inland Cleanup Program. This effort will complement and build upon many of the initiatives throughout the state to reduce litter issues.

Common nighthawk resting on cross post
June 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

As we ease into summer, if you listen closely during dusk and early nighttime hours, you may hear the distinctive sounds of goatsuckers.

Yes, you read that correctly: goatsuckers. Despite the unusual name, these are not fictional creatures.

A pond with green film at the top.
May 22, 2020 - Filed Under: Healthy Water Practices, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics

In the age of COVID-19, we do not need more to worry about. However, the summer of 2019 proved that even recreating in your local pond, stream or beach comes at some risk.

We saw a nationwide outbreak of rare, yet severe, maladies that originated from the water. These problems usually start in the hottest part of summer.

Two men in a boat pose with a large fish in their laps.
March 18, 2020 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management

BILOXI, Miss.-- At Mississippi State University’s Coastal Research and Extension Center, we recently aged one of the largest tripletail fish ever caught.

A gray shark with a white undercarriage and face sits atop a board on a boat.
February 18, 2020 - Filed Under: Fisheries

As some of the top predators in the ocean, sharks fill vital roles by regulating food web dynamics and maintaining balance in their ecosystems.

A red fox with a white neck.
January 17, 2020 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Wildlife

Encounters with wildlife are becoming more common in towns and neighborhoods.

Habitat loss to fragmentation, urbanization, and expanding agricultural production means urban and suburban areas will increasingly become options for wildlife searching for homes. Song birds, snakes, lizards, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, deer and even bears are not uncommon visitors to urban and suburban backyards.

A silver fish is released into green water.
December 19, 2019 - Filed Under: Other Aquaculture Species, Fisheries

When most people think about tarpon, they probably picture a giant, shimmering, 6-foot fish leaping up towards the sky from the crystal-clear waters of southern Florida. What many people don’t know is that tarpon are also found just off our beaches in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Although tarpon are not considered table fare in the United States, they are prized by recreational anglers because of their large size and acrobatic behavior. Tarpon generally swim in schools and make long coastal migrations from the southern Gulf of Mexico to the north in the late spring before migrating back south in the fall.

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