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Armadillos dig up gardens in search of insects to eat but do not typically consume garden plants. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether summer gardens are for beauty or food, this time of year is sure to bring wildlife into close contact with people's property.

Many gardens provide healthy and nutritious food for local critters such as armadillos, raccoons, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbits and a wide variety of insects. Gardens are usually easy for wildlife to access and offer an inviting buffet with such easy pickings concentrated in one area. All that time and labor you spent during the spring should not be tossed out due to these garden pests.

Young people enjoy canoe excursions on Bluff Lake in the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
June 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As a child, some of my favorite times were spent outdoors. Sadly, spending time outside is no longer the norm for many people.

During late spring and early summer, spectators and photographers should limit stress for nesting birds, such as this Canada goose near a pond in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, on May 7, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Late spring and early summer is the time when wild animals are raising their young, but it also the time when people gear up for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, playing baseball, riding all-terrain vehicles and visiting beaches.

We are fortunate to have ample green space in our state, but with this great resource comes the responsibility of respecting wildlife that use these spaces to raise young. The phrase "respect the nest" is an easy way to remember this responsibility.

This Wyoming deer suffers from chronic wasting disease, a highly contagious illness that is now present in 23 states. Although the disease is undocumented in Mississippi, it poses a real, potential threat to the state’s deer herd. (Photo Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the CWD Alliance)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Diseases are a big concern for deer biologists and managers.

Since the reestablishment of white-tailed deer across the Southeast, hemorrhagic disease has had a negative impact on their populations. Hemorrhagic disease in deer can be caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses, or bluetongue viruses, and is spread by black gnats.

Deer University podcast launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge.
May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will soon offer a weekly podcast that will be of interest to deer hunters and wildlife professionals in the Southeast.

Deer University launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge on iTunes and at http://extension.msstate.edu/deeruniversity. Registration is the only prerequisite needed to listen and subscribe to the podcast.

Grey rat snakes, such as this one, are commonly seen here in Mississippi. They are not venomous and generally would prefer to be left alone. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- No other creatures provoke as many conflicting feelings as snakes do. We are attracted and repelled, and we are intrigued by them and ready to kill them, all at the same time. These feelings date back to antiquity.

A stray fawn may look vulnerable and alone, but the mother is usually nearby keeping a watchful eye on her offspring. (Stock photo)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

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

Youth is a time for learning and developing, and baby animals are no different from baby humans in this regard. Important life skills need to be mastered if youngsters are going to be able to survive in a harsh world. Even innate or natural skills often must be mastered through practice.

The best way to reduce the decline in northern bobwhite quail populations is to intentionally provide habitat conditions critical to their survival. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There was a time when the plucky "bob-white" call greeted the sunrise around farmlands and pine forests across the southeastern U.S. Today, the fields and forests are becoming silent, and the call of the northern bobwhite is seldom heard.

Simply taking children outside will open their eyes and hearts to the outdoors. While canoeing with adults on Bluff Lake in Noxubee County, Mississippi, this child searched for alligators and birds with her binoculars. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of us spent our childhoods outdoors in a constant state of motion, but many of today's youngsters are not experiencing the outdoor activities we remember with pleasure.

When I reminisce about my childhood, the memories that make me smile the most are of times spent outdoors with family or close friends. I still enjoy many of those same activities today.

Earthworms improve soil by creating pores to allow greater water infiltration for growing plants. They also help decompose dead plant material into nutrients that plants can use to grow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippians care about wildlife and related activities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching or just enjoying the outdoors.

Spring is the best time of the year to hang purple martin houses, such as these found at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on March 23, 2017. Place houses 15-20 feet in the air on a pole in an open space, preferably near water. These birds will be happy to help reduce the mosquito population from the area. (Submitted photo by Vicki Maples)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The purple martin is one of the most appreciated and desired birds in the state. It is a summer resident found wherever multi-celled or multi-roomed housing is available.

While they lack the notoriety of the colorful and acrobatic hummingbird, purple martins are by far the most beneficial of the backyard birds. One purple martin can consume thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. Since they are heavily dependent on humans for their shelter, purple martins seem to enjoy being around people, as well.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Landowners and hunting clubs eager to earn extra income while improving land management for wildlife are invited to attend a Natural Resource Enterprises Business Workshop.

The May 16 event will take place at Pecan Hill Farms in Raymond. Daryl Jones, a Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor, is director of the MSU Natural Resource Enterprises program.

Now that it is legal to feed corn all year and hunt over grain on private lands during deer season, hunters may see fewer deer moving around after sunrise. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
March 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By Bill Hamrick and Chad M. Dacus
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Some hunters complain about a lack of deer every year, but the concerns this season seem to be more widespread. Since early January, radio programs, newspapers and online forums have featured much discussion about hunters statewide seeing and harvesting fewer deer during the 2016-17 season.

Turkey season in Mississippi takes place from March 15 to May 1. The fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, collectively, have been reported as having the most gobbles heard in seven of the last 10 hunting seasons. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for the chill-inducing gobble of a big tom.

Bill Evans, a Mississippi State University researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, discussed research and education priorities with representatives of the fruit and nut commodity group on Feb. 22, 2017. MSU Extension Service specialists and agents also took part in the annual MSU Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting in Raymond, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Forages, Beef, Beekeeping, Dairy, Equine, Forestry, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Agricultural producers and industry professionals in central Mississippi met with agents and research scientists of the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Feb. 22 to share input and give feedback.

The Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting was held in conjunction with Hinds Community College and the Alcorn State University Extension.

Squirrel season and other small game hunting opportunities are some of the best ways for young hunters and others to enjoy the outdoors. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kat Lawrence)
February 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The conclusion of deer season does not mean the end of Mississippi hunting adventures for the year. It is just time to swap out gear and head back to the woods.

February brings small game hunting and other new, exciting opportunities to connect with your primitive side. Mississippi squirrel and rabbit season extends to the last day of February. It is a chance to scout for signs of turkey and look for shed antlers, but most of all, it is an excellent way to introduce kids to the outdoors.

In pine-dominated forests, thinning and prescribed fire are important management practices for creating and maintaining turkey habitat. (Submitted photo)
February 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With deer season over, many outdoor enthusiasts are looking forward to the next hunting opportunity: turkey season.

Most hunters know about planting food plots to add nutrition for deer on their property, but they may not fully understand the habitat needs of turkeys. Habitat requirements for turkeys differ each season of the year. As a result, knowing what these seasonal needs are and being able to identify habitat features that best meet these needs are essential for sustainable turkey populations.

Many archers begin with a compound bow, which uses a system of pulleys and levers to bend the limbs of the bow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
January 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many hunters share my favorite recreational activity: bow hunting white-tailed deer.

I am a fan of every benefit offered by archery, which can have a lasting impact on your life. My journey started when I got a youth model compound bow around the age of 12.

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.

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