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Extension Outdoors

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

Rows of evenly spaced, young trees with brown leaves on the ground.
January 25, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology, Forest Management

Many landowners want to make changes in Conservation Reserve Program hardwood plantations because of declining populations of game animals, especially deer.

One gloved hand holds a reddish fish on a table while an ungloved hand holds a small tool just used to insert a dart slightly below the top fin. A small photo inserted over part of the main photo shows a close-up view of a small, spear-like rod with a white point on one end and black writing on the yellow portion.
January 18, 2019 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss.-- The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery is economically and culturally important, but it is also very controversial. Fishing pressure during the past century led to the decline of Gulf red snapper.

Today, anglers see more red snapper than in previous years, so they believe the population is healthy again. However, managers with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries claim that the population is not yet healthy because it does not contain enough reproductively active females.

Fresh, dark soil with a large earthworm in the middle.
January 11, 2019 - Filed Under: Farming, Environment

Words like sustainability can become buzzwords and are often misunderstood or misused, but despite its widespread use, this term isn’t going anywhere.

A single-lane dirt road runs through a green forest with a slightly raised dirt structure running across from one side to the other and another similar diversion several yards further up the road.
January 4, 2019 - Filed Under: Beginning Forestry

Many forest landowners wonder if best management practices really matter on their property, and the simple answer is yes. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/John Auel)

Four deer graze in tall, lush clover with thinned pines in the background.
December 28, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

Many hunters and landowners plant wildlife food plots these days, but this practice has become common only during the last 30 to 40 years in the Southeast.

Aerial view of fields with a tree-lined creek running through the middle.
December 21, 2018 - Filed Under: Forest Management, Beginning Forestry

Streamside management zones have become critical tools forestry landowners and professionals use for protecting water quality during and after timber harvests.

A large field with tree seedlings growing in the middle of a long row void of other plants. Adjacent rows are full of grasses and weeds.
December 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Beginning Forestry

Growth and survival of planted hardwood seedlings are not guaranteed, and forest managers may need to learn more about establishment methods to avoid failed plantings. 

Illustration shows plants growing above water’s surface with root system below.
December 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Water

Floating islands are increasingly popular as a way to provide attractive centerpieces in ponds while improving water quality.

From the shore, floating islands look like normal earthen islands covered in plants, but they are much more than that. They are hydroponic systems that, when fully colonized by growing plants, are essentially wetlands that float on the water’s surface and provide many of the same services as natural wetlands.

Dry leaves and pine straw are cleared away in a round, bare area on the ground below small pine branches.
November 30, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

Deer hunters know all too well the power of a deer’s sense of smell, or more technically speaking, its olfactory system. A change of wind direction can give deer just a whiff of human scent and send them running and send a hunter back to the truck empty handed. 

A yellow worm with small brown stripes circling its body crawls over the brown center of a flower surrounded by bright yellow petals.
November 21, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

As good food and hunting take center stage throughout the holidays, take a moment to give thanks for the pollinators that made much of it possible.

We acknowledge many benefactors during the holidays, but one group of little helpers in all of these traditions usually goes unnoticed. 

Several deer enter wooded cover area as four deer follow in single file across a gravel road with a corn field behind them on a foggy, early morning.
November 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer

Hunters play a large role in helping to manage Mississippi’s deer population. Hunters not only help control deer numbers but also provide statewide harvest data that gives biologists insight into deer numbers, health and conditioning. 

As we enter the first deer hunting season since the confirmation of chronic wasting disease -- or CWD -- in the state, we need assistance from Mississippi deer hunters more than ever. 

Man walks beside his bird dog on point in a pasture with a hay barn in the background.
November 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Farming, Rural Development, Wildlife, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

Mississippi is fortunate to have thousands of acres that are poetically "unpeopled and still." Those portions of our state are prime locations for people who want to escape urban stress and are willing to pay top dollar for the opportunity.

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