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Extension Outdoors

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.

Graphic showing of map a zigzag pattern used to blood trail deer.
December 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Woodsmanship and stewardship are two characteristics of all successful deer hunters as they track down injured deer. 

The initial impulse most hunters have after taking a shot is to bail out of the stand and immediately look for their target. Depending on where the animal was hit, this hasty action could be a terrible mistake. Attempting to trail a deer prematurely can spook the deer even more and make locating it more difficult, if not impossible.

Don’t let the colder weather prevent outdoor adventures this winter. This group is staying comfortable by layering their clothing. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
December 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For many Mississippians, cold and wet conditions make this the least likely time of year to venture outside, but an outdoors lover knows it just takes a little preparation and a positive attitude to hit the trail and enjoy viewing wildlife.Having grown up in a climate much colder than Mississippi's, I learned a valuable skill to help cope with unpleasantly cold weather: layering clothing.

Before I venture outside, warm socks are my first priority. I prefer wool blends with mostly wool for two reasons: comfort and warmth.

Two hunters in Claiborne County take aim at incoming crows. Much like duck hunting, participants wait in blinds overlooking decoys. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Cliff Covington)
November 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss.--Farmers and other birds hate them, but hunters love crows for the productive, fast-paced hunts they can provide.

The black clouds of birds can do a number on a pecan orchard in a short amount of time. Similarly, they are known to dig up seeds in corn, peanut and other row crop fields. That is why farmers hate them.

November 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The best fishing holes may begin with good fish genetics, but they continue with proper pond management.

Since the early days of farm pond management, MSU Extension Service specialists have made fish stocking recommendations based on the idea that if it's set up right in the beginning, the pond will provide quality fishing opportunities for decades to come. I have told many landowners there's no need to restock bass or bream unless there is a fish kill or someone wants to intentionally start over by draining or poisoning the pond.

Wearing a life jacket is the single most effective precaution a hunter can take to save his life while on the water. (Photo by MSU Extension Service, File)
November 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Health, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As the days turn colder, many people can't wait to spend time on the water, and safety should be a top priority.

Hammocks offer great resting spots whether the excursion is a day trip or an overnighter. (Photo by MSU Extension Service)
November 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cooler weather brings a great time to get outside, set up a hammock and "just hang" between two trees.

When I am outdoors, one of my favorite ways to enjoy the wildlife and wild places in our state -- other than when I am hunting or fishing -- is to spend time in my hammock. Whether I relax in it while hiking or sleep in it while backpacking, lying in a hammock allows me to be comfortable while enjoying in the great outdoors.

The piercing stare of the Barred Owl can catch a hunter’s attention.  (Photo by Bill Stripling)
October 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Deer season has arrived, drawing thousands of Mississippians into the woods in anticipation of creating more great hunting memories as in seasons past.

Mental images of the big one walking broadside at 30 yards with the wind in your favor keeps many hunters up at night. For some, especially older hunters, the season is about taking the next generation out to experience this unique tradition.

A successful fisherman knows that a productive and healthy lake is important to produce large fish. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Contrary to popular belief, fish don't like "clean" water.

If you have ever accidentally placed your pet fish in a bowl of pure, distilled water, you know what I mean. Fish have salts and other compounds in their blood. If their external environment is too different from their internal environment, fish have to fight continuously to keep the salts in and the water out.

Mississippi foliage is just beginning to change to fall colors in Oktibbeha County on Oct. 12, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Trees, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It appears the fickle Mississippi weather has finally caught up with the calendar.

As of the Autumnal Equinox on Sept. 22, we entered autumn or fall, a glorious transitional season between the sweltering heat and humidity of summer and the cold, damp days of winter. Recent cooler days and crisp nights attest to the change.

Signs posted on property help make everyone aware of property boundaries and often prevent trespass problems. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Daryl Jones)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners often worry about trespassers entering their land, whether intentionally or by mistake, during hunting season.

Aside from not willfully or wantonly causing injury to trespassers, landowners have no other responsibility to these interlopers.

September 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Deer hunters should not take safety for granted while enjoying the benefits of using tree stands.

September 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether you want to provide additional nutrition during stressful times for wildlife or to increase hunting success, food plots are valuable tools.

Food plots can provide wildlife with quality forage throughout most of the year and help landowners reach management goals. Producing successful food plots is not difficult but is often complicated by failure to pay attention to small details.

Male and female northern cardinals and a mourning dove search for food in a brush pile. (Photo by Chris Taylor, wildlovephotography.com)
September 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wildlife enthusiasts often ask how to attract more animals to their property, and the answer is more complicated than most people realize.

Wildlife have four basic needs: food, water, cover and space. Typically, most folks have plenty of food and water available for wildlife through natural sources and supplemental sources like bird feeders and baths.

Use off-road vehicles on designated trails, such as this one at the Jimmy Bryan 4-H Youth Complex in West Point, Mississippi, to reduce negative impacts on the environment. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Leslie Burger)
September 9, 2016 - Filed Under: ATV Safety, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Speeding along a wooded trail on a bright, chilly morning can bring a lot of enjoyment and excitement. And it sure is a lot easier getting to that back-country deer blind or dove field if you can load up all the gear and head off on wheels.

But the off-road vehicle you may be riding -- whether a 4x4 all-terrain vehicle, side-by-side utility vehicle or dirt bike -- has some downsides. While undeniably fun and useful in transportation, an off-road vehicle can also be an environmental hazard and personal nuisance when used incorrectly.  

Landowners should consider several factors when preparing hunting leases for their land, including what wildlife species individuals may hunt on the land -- from bobwhite quail to white-tailed deer. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Daryl Jones)
September 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There are several things landowners should consider before allowing people to use or rent their land for recreation, such as hunting and fishing.

Important considerations include drafting a legal lease, addressing accident liability concerns and figuring out what to charge. With a recreational or hunting lease, the landowner grants access to his or her land for recreational purposes for a certain period of time in exchange for fees or services.

Game cameras can capture images of some of the most elusive wildlife and their babies. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jacob Dykes)
August 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hunters love new gadgets that are supposed to help them find and harvest more game, but most of this gear falls short of delivering on its promise.

Game cameras, also known as trail cameras, are among the advancements in technology that can improve hunting and management. The game camera is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for important management tasks like surveying deer population characteristics or just helping around the house by keeping an eye on your garden.

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