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Extension Outdoors

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,
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.

Great days on the lake like this one do not just happen. Fish management plays a significant role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass. (Submitted photo)
August 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – There is no easy answer to the debate for the best type of bass to stock in a Mississippi pond.

The genetic differences between Florida bass, northern bass and hybrid bass are often relatively subtle. Fish management plays a greater role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass, but the decision is still an important one.

Before European settlement, mountain lions were part of the native Mississippi landscape, but changes in their habitat and overharvest by humans have resulted in no remaining wild populations of these big cats in the state. (Submitted photo)
August 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Most Americans over the age of 30 will recognize this line from the “Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy and her friends were traveling the Yellow Brick Road through the dark and wild forest, worried they might encounter these fearsome creatures.

Wood storks stand out in the sky with their long wingspans, black-and-white color patterns and slow wing beats. (Photo by Bill Stripling).
August 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The hottest days of the summer may drive many people indoors to the air conditioning, but bird-watchers know it is a great time to go outside to see some of Mississippi’s most colorful visitors.

Imitating bats that like to hang upside down is a fun activity for children as they explore a nature trail at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Natchez, Mississippi, on July 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Outdoor recreation is an economic giant that receives far less attention than most of the other industries in our country.

We usually think of the pharmaceutical, insurance, energy, automotive and health care industries as drivers of a strong economy. We rarely discuss with our friends and relatives the industry of outdoor recreation or its potential to create jobs. Yet, outdoor recreation has changed in the modern world, and it’s time to change the way we view this expanding market.

Using reusable products and eating unprocessed foods are good for the environment and simple steps along the path in the “going green” journey. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The “going green” movement is evidence that people and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment.

The development of products that are energy efficient and eco-friendly also shows that people want to protect the earth and its precious resources.

Perennials, such as ladino white clover, are available to wildlife forage all year long with its peak production time from mid-spring through early summer. In addition to finding the right soil and applying the recommended amounts of lime and fertilizer each year, managers will also have to battle both cool- and warm-season weeds. (Submitted photos)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When planting wildlife food plots, which is better: annuals or perennials? Ideally, you should have different plots designated for both cool- and warm-season annuals, as well as perennials.

“Leaves of three, let them be” (left) is the rhyme people use to identify poison ivy while it is actively growing, but every part of the plant can cause itchy outbreaks, even during winter dormancy. Virginia creeper (right) is often mistaken for the three-leaved poison ivy, but there is no need to fear these vines with five leaves. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Health, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Outdoor activities in the spring and summer increase the risk of exposure to poison ivy, but the plants’ danger does not disappear when frost arrives.

Thriving on Mississippi’s hot, humid climate, poison ivy is very common across the state and causes discomfort for 80 to 85 percent of the population. The additional bad news is that allergic reactions from exposure to any part of the plants, including roots, also can occur during the winter from dormant plants.

July 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Evidence that people are watching too many zombie shows or movies can be found in the concerns and questions pond owners have for biologists.

Copperheads, such as this one, are among the most common venomous snakes in Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Robert Lewis)
June 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Snakes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi residents are not alone in their appreciation of hiking trails and water activities during the hot days of summer. Wildlife, including snakes, are right there with them.

As outdoor recreation picks up, so does water recreation. Where there is water, there will be snakes. There are all different kinds of snakes people encounter in Mississippi. Some are potentially dangerous and others are completely harmless.

June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The life of a fish is more complicated than most people realize. It needs places to hide from predators, ambush prey, spawn and guard young fish, and just loaf and relax.

The dark, fiddle-shaped pattern on the back of the brown recluse helps distinguish it from other spiders. Because of their reclusive nature, watch out for these venomous spiders in dark, neglected areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer days motivate many people to tackle cluttered closets, disorganized garages and idle storage buildings. But before pulling out neglected boxes of junk, consider who -- or what -- might have taken up residence in the dark, undisturbed piles.


Extension Outdoors Archive