STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For many Mississippians, this is the least likely time of the year to venture outside to explore. Some feel it is much too cold and others feel it is too wet, but for a lover of the outdoors, this is a perfect time of year to hit the trail.
It all comes down to being prepared for your outing and keeping a positive mental attitude.
If you recognize this quote, you know its source: Looney Tunes cartoon character Yosemite Sam, who never got the upper hand in his dealings with Bugs Bunny. Sometimes it seems we -- like Yosemite Sam -- battle with “varmints” that live around us. This column will give you a little insight into why the battle rages and what you can do to get the upper hand.
By Wes Neal
Associate Extension Professor, Fisheries
MSU Extension Service
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As a fisherman, which is more pleasing: casting mindlessly into an open expanse of water, or carefully casting around a sunken log where you feel sure that a lunker is waiting to inhale your bait?
Catching fish is only part of the overall experience; aesthetics play an important role as well.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wildlife on roadways can be as hazardous to motorists as texting or reckless drivers.
State Farm Insurance reported Mississippi ranks sixth in the nation for wildlife-vehicle related accidents. More than one third of Mississippi’s 70,000 auto crashes are due to collisions with wildlife, specifically with white-tailed deer. One in 84 people statewide will be in a crash involving wildlife annually.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- According to the National Christmas Tree Association, American consumers purchase nearly 30 million real trees annually from one of more than 15,000 Christmas tree farms. Real-tree enthusiasts cite three main reasons for their yearly choice: tradition, fresh pine scent and appearance.
Selecting a real tree is also an environmentally friendly choice. Real Christmas trees are 100 percent biodegradable and can be recycled in a variety of ways.
The National Christmas Tree Association offers these little-known facts about real trees:
By Adam Rohnke
Urban Wildlife Specialist
MSU Extension Service
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Funding and manpower are the most common limiting factors in conducting research. These factors are especially limiting for wildlife and fisheries research projects, which cover vast geographic areas, involve secretive animals and generate large quantities of information.
One of the most useful tools for hunters, besides their weapons, is a tree stand.
The basic function of a tree stand is to elevate hunters off the ground to improve their visibility of an area. A good tree stand location can also provide cover and prevent game from detecting human scent.
Winter arrived early this year in Mississippi. Not only did humans notice, but so did the birds. Providing winter habitat in your backyard for birds is quite simple, as long as you have the essentials: cover, food and water.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before 1965, coyotes did not live in southern states east of the Mississippi River.
However, over the last 40 years, the coyote population has expanded rapidly for several reasons, including loss of larger carnivores such as red wolves and cougar, the introduction of coyotes to the area by humans, reduced trapping in the West and widespread timber harvesting.
While dressing a deer this fall, there are some common parasites you may encounter. None of these parasites actually affects the quality of the deer meat, but it is important to recognize what they are.
Have you ever noticed little wingless critters crawling around on a deer’s belly? Those are louse flies -- also called deer keds. The adult flies shed their wings and become flightless. While at first glance louse flies resemble small ticks, they only have six legs.
As a wildlife specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, I get many phone calls and emails from hunters during the hunting season asking, “What’s wrong with this deer?” The hunter then provides some details regarding what he is seeing on the deer. Together we can usually diagnose the problem.
Most of the questions can be answered by one of two common disease categories: hemorrhagic disease or cutaneous fibromas. This summary of these two common deer diseases should help you at the skinning shed this fall and put your mind at ease.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wild hogs are a nuisance and potential danger to farmers and landowners throughout the United States. Brought to the Americas by early Spanish explorers as a livestock animal and later transported by hunting enthusiasts, wild hogs have spread rapidly throughout the Southeast.
One reason wild hogs are a growing problem is they can adapt quickly to a variety of temperatures, climates and conditions. They also reproduce rapidly and have few, if any, effective predators, other than humans.
By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hunting is about individual responsibility. Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife management, said, “A particular virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bats are popular, but often misunderstood, Halloween symbols. These strange-looking mammals generate fear among children and adults alike, but the truth about bats is really quite fascinating.
With more than 1,200 species worldwide, bats are divided into two suborders -- Microbats and Megabats. All bats have webbed wings, making them the only mammal capable of true flight. Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of Antarctica and the northernmost parts of North America, Europe and Asia.