Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
February 2018
In This Issue

Quick Links
Purchase a License
Boat Registration
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Report a Violation
Supplemental Feeding Regulations
February is Habitat and Predator Awareness Month

Amidst growing concern for populations of wild turkeys and other wildlife species, MDWFP encourages hunters and landowners to undertake habitat and predator management practices on their land to boost numbers of sought-after game species. 

"Late winter is a great time to implement many different wildlife management practices," said Adam Butler, MDWFP Wild Turkey Program coordinator. "It's the down time between deer and turkey seasons, so disturbance is not as big of an issue, and there are many things that can be done." 

Sportsmen and women should look for technical information throughout the month of February on mdwfp.com and facebook.com/mdwfp for variety of wildlife conservation topics including habitat enhancement and predator management. 
Learn more about Habitat and Predator Management
Download the Official MDWFP App
The official MDWFP app is a powerful tool for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts in Mississippi, providing easy access to information and services provided by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. This application features a digital license display, rules and regulations, season dates, bag limits, feeding times, and much more.

February Hunting Seasons
Deer Seasons

Archery/Primitive weapon season will conclude February 15 in the Southeast Zone.

Bag Limits:

Antlered Buck Deer
The bag limit on antlered buck deer is one (1) buck per day, not to exceed three (3) per annual season. Legal bucks must meet the antler criteria within the appropriate deer management zone. For youth hunters fifteen (15) years of age and younger, hunting on private land and authorized state and federal lands, all three (3) of the three (3) buck bag limit may be any antlered deer.

Antlerless Deer
Private Lands: The bag limit on Northeast, Delta, East Central, and Southwest Zones antlerless deer is three (3) per annual season. The bag limit on Southeast Zone antlerless deer is one (1) per day, two (2) per annual season.

U.S. Forest Service National Forests: The bag limit is one (1) per day, not to exceed three (3) per annual season except in the Southeast Zone which is two (2) per annual season.

Small Game Seasons

Migratory Bird Seasons
Turkey Draw Hunt Opportunities 
Apply January 15 - February 15

MDWFP will accept applications January 15 - February 15 for Wildlife Management Area permitted turkey hunts.  All applicants must apply at www.mdwfp.com/draws and have a valid WMA User Permit to apply.  WMA User Permits are available for purchase at  www.mdwfp.com  or may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold.

Participating WMAs include  Bienville,  Black Prairie,  Canal Section/John Bell Williams,  Caney Creek, Canemount,  Caston Creek,  Copiah County,  Leaf River,  Malmaison,  Sandy Creek,  Sunflower,  Tallahala,  Twin Oaks,  Upper Sardis,  Ward Bayou, and  Yockanookany. 

Youth-permitted hunts will take place on Canemount, Charles Ray Nix, Natchez State Park, Sardis Waterfowl, and Sunflower.

Rules to Prevent Chronic Wasting Disease Affect Deer Carcass Importation
Mississippians traveling out of state to hunt big game need to be aware of rules affecting the transport of their trophy. On May 2016, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks passed 40 Miss. Admin Code, Part 2, Rule 2.7 Prohibition on Cervid Carcass Importation, to Protect Mississippi from Chronic Wasting Disease. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects cervids and has been found in 24 states and 3 foreign countries. A cervid is a member of the deer family and includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, red deer, sika deer, and fallow deer. 

Rule 2.7 states that it is unlawful to import, transport, or possess any portion of a cervid carcass originating from any state, territory, or foreign country where the occurrence of CWD has been confirmed by either the state wildlife agency, state agriculture agency, state veterinarian, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
This rule shall not apply to the importation of:
  • Meat from cervids that has been completely deboned
  • Antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates, or cleaned skulls where no tissue is attached to the skull
  • Cleaned teeth
  • Finished taxidermy and antler products
  • Hides and tanned products
  • Any portions of white-tailed deer originating from the land between the Mississippi River levees in Arkansas
CWD has been confirmed in the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Additionally, Canada (provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan), Norway, and South Korea are CWD positive. CWD has not been found in Mississippi.

Introduction  to Habitat Management 

It is hard these days to read any article about hunting and not read something about the importance of habitat management. Wildlife biologists and managers frequently stress habitat management, but what is habitat? Most people know they should be managing their habitat, but few know what this really means, much less how to do it. As a matter of fact, when asked what they are doing to manage their habitat, most hunting clubs respond by saying that they plant food plots. Although valuable, planting food plots is not a "magic bullet" and it does not replace the importance of managing the natural habitat.

Generally, habitat can be described as all of the food, water, and cover resources that wildlife requires to survive. These three resources must be available in sufficient amounts to maintain a healthy wildlife population. Habitat requirements are different for each species of wildlife, although some species have very similar habitat requirements.

In order for wildlife to thrive, each habitat resource must be available within the area used by that species. Unfortunately, a forest does not always provide the right amounts of the needed resources on its own to support the number of animals that we want them to.

Read More
Consider Prescribed Fire on Your Property
For Habitat Management
Why is Prescribed Burning Important?

Prescribed burning is an important wildlife management tool in the Southeast. Although many landowners are reluctant to use fire on their property, if it is done correctly, prescribed fire can be an effective, safe, and affordable management tool. Through prescribed burning, fire applied to the land in a deliberate and controlled manner can promote germination of beneficial forbs and grasses, reduce coverage of less desirable trees and shrubs, and decrease potential for destructive wildfires by reducing fuel loads.
While burning is often conducted in late winter, burning in other seasons may accomplish specific habitat management objectives. To ensure a large variety of plant types on a piece of land, divide the burnable acreage into three or four sections and burn one section each year. Having burned and unburned areas next to one another guarantees that food and cover are always available and in close proximity.

If you are interested in implementing prescribed fire on your property, contact a biologist with MDWFP's Private Lands Program to learn more. 
Avoiding Common Trapping Mistakes

Trappers are responsible for their own actions. In addition, all trappers will be judged - to a greater or lesser extent - by the actions of each individual. Each trapper is therefore accountable not only to himself, but to all other trappers. Some of the most common mistakes made by beginning trappers are listed below so that you will be aware of them and will avoid making them:

1. Use of the wrong size, style, or type of trap for the animal or situation
Examples include using foothold or killer traps in situations where there is a high likelihood of capturing domestic animals; using traps that are too large for the intended animal; using a standard foothold in a situation where a "stoploss" apparatus is called for, etc.

2. Failure to fasten traps properly
Improperly staked or wired traps can result in extremely severe injuries to trapped animals, which pull the trap loose and escape with it on their foot. Also, the use of good swivels on the trap chain allows the trap to more freely move with the animal's foot, reducing injury. In general, trap injuries increase with the amount of time the animal spends in the trap, particularly if circulation to the foot is restricted.

3. Failure to check traps regularly
There is a tendency for inexperienced trappers to lose interest if a set goes untouched for a number of days, and they may assume that it is never going to catch anything. That is wrong, and no trap should be set if it cannot be tended to as required by law. In Mississippi, trappers are required to check traps at least every 36 hours.

4. Improper use of lure/bait
Too many trappers attempt to compensate for lack of knowledge of furbearer habits by the excessive use of lure or baits. Baits certainly have a purpose, but when used improperly they can lead to the unnecessary capture of non-target animals. In Mississippi, all lure or bait within 20 feet of a trap must be covered and not visible from above and may not exceed two cubic inches (the volume equivalent of a regulation sized golf ball) in size.

5. Use of inappropriate sets in areas of high human or domestic animal use
In general, land sets with foothold or killer traps should be avoided in areas such as parks, high-use recreation or hunting areas, and residential developments. Live traps, water sets and various types of "dog proof" sets are more acceptable in these areas. In Mississippi, no person shall place or set a trap on or within one hundred (100) feet of any street or public road.

6. Violation of the property rights of others
Illegal trespass and illegal tampering with the traps or sets of others are two of the worst mistakes a beginning trapper can make.  In Mississippi, trappers are required to obtain landowner permission to trap on any property not deeded in the trapper's name.

Learn More

Rainbow Trout Are Back!
At the Bank-Fishing Pond at Lake Lamar Bruce

The MDWFP Fisheries Bureau stocked over 600 rainbow trout into the bank-fishing pond at Lake Lamar Bruce near Saltillo on Wednesday, January 10. The pond at Lake Lamar Bruce is the only public water body where anglers can catch rainbow trout. This is a great opportunity to introduce someone to fishing as well as catch some nice fish during the winter. 
Anglers can harvest up to three trout, per person, per day, with no size restrictions.  Anglers must have a valid fishing license and a state lake daily or annual fishing permit to fish in the pond.

Reel Facts
Fish Sampling Results Available  Online

Throughout the year, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Biologists use various sampling methods to assess the fish populations in the state's waters. Captured fish are identified, counted, weighed, measured, and released back into the water. The sampling results for selected water bodies include MDWFP managed lakes, reservoirs, oxbows, rivers, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Results are summarized in the Reel Facts sheets which are available for anglers to view online at www.mdwfp.com/fishing-boating/reel-facts
Winter Crappie Fishing

Winter is a prime time in certain areas of the state for big-time crappie fishing. In order to prepare for the upcoming spring spawning season, fish begin the feeding frenzy to gain weight and work on their stamina.

Crappie, along with other game fish, move deeper during the winter and often suspend in open water making them easy to see on a depth finder," said Jerry Brown, MDWFP Fisheries Biologist.  "Fishing slowly with small minnows or small jigs at 10-12 foot depths is a popular method of catching crappie during this time of the year'." 

Prime fishing areas are the state's five major reservoirs: Arkabutla, Grenada, Enid, and Sardis reservoirs, while Ross Barnett Reservoir takes center stage for early year crappie fishing.   A popular spot on Barnett is the area directly downstream of the Highway 43 bridge, especially when water (current) is moving through the bridge.
2018 Youth Art Contest
At the MDWFP's North Mississippi Fish Hatchery

Students across Mississippi are invited to get outdoors and participate in the 2018 MDWFP's North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Youth Art Contest. Each student must submit a portfolio, including entry form and artwork to the Visitor Education Center (VEC) by May 10.

The contest is sponsored by the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Winners in four age categories will have their work published in the  Mississippi Outdoors magazine and will receive a complimentary copy of the magazine displaying their work. Winners will also receive gift cards and have their work posted on the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks' website.

For more information on entry forms and rules, please visit  www.mdwfp.com/nmfh/educational-opportunities/2018-nmfh-youth-art-contest/ or call the VEC at (662) 563 - 8068.
Mississippi Outdoors Radio
Now on Mondays at Noon

Mississippi Outdoors Radio Show will now air Mondays at noon on your local SuperTalk station and on Facebook LIVE at  www.facebook.com/mdwfp.The show features news and updates relating to all bureaus of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. 
Show Stations
  • Brookhaven/McComb WRQO 102.1 FM
  • Corinth WXRZ 94.3 FM
  • Greenwood WTCD 96.9 FM
  • Hattiesburg WFMM 97.3 FM
  • Jackson WFMN 97.3 FM
  • Laurel WLAU 99.3 FM
  • Meridian WZKR 103.3 FM
  • MS Gulf Coast WOSM 103.1 FM
  • Oxford WTNM 97.3FM
  • Pike County WMPK 93.5FM
  • Starkville/Golden Triangle WKBB 100.9 FM
  • Tupelo WWMR 95.9 FM
Cold Weather Camping Tips

1. Wear appropriate clothing
When it comes to staying warm, items like wool socks, warm boots, a knit hat, and a warm jacket are essential, but if possible you should also avoid wearing clothing made of cotton. This includes fabrics such as corduroy, denim, flannel, duck, or cotton-polyester blends. Cotton  clothing touching your skin will absorb your sweat and other moisture like a sponge and will cease to insulate.  Getting wet and staying wet, even in above-freezing temperatures can rapidly cool your body and as a result can lead to hypothermia.
2. Know how to layer clothing
Remember the three Ws of layering - wicking inside layer, warmth middle layer(s), and wind/water resistant outer layer.
The inside layer is basically your underwear or the layer next to your skin. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and merino wool work best. They wick perspiration away from your skin to outer layers so it can evaporate. They also dry quickly so you spend minimal time in wet clothing.
The middle layer is your insulating layer. It is primarily designed to help you retain body heat. Consider wearing a fleece or microfleece shirt, pants, and jacket and/or a goose down jacket for this layer.
The outer layer is your waterproof/windproof/breathable layer. The main purpose of the outer layer is to protect you from the wind and rain. Your outer layer should be a waterproof and breathable material like Gore-Tex or a similar fabric that will allow sweat and water vapor to escape and also keep you dry in wet conditions.
3. Start shedding layers the second you start sweating
Strenuous activity such as hiking will naturally induce sweating. If you are overheated, the moisture you produce will chill you to the bone once you stop moving, so it is important to start shedding layers once you notice yourself getting overheated.
4. Do not sleep with your face buried under the sleeping bag
The moisture from your breath will cancel out the insulating properties of your sleeping gear. If you are worried about your head getting cold, wear a knit hat or beanie when you sleep.
5. Keep your clothes for the next day in your sleeping bag with you
If you keep the clothes you plan on wearing the next day in the sleeping bag with you overnight, you can avoid having big pockets of air between you and the sleeping bag - it is just more space that you will have to expend body heat trying to warm up. Also, you will not have to put on cold clothes in the morning.
6. Do not sleep directly on the ground
Get a closed cell foam pad to provide insulation between your sleeping bag and the ground. A foam pad cushions and insulates.
7. Choose the right campsite
Summer campers might prefer the shadiest and most secluded spot. In winter, however, the morning sun can be a welcome companion. Take note of where the sun will first appear at sunrise, and angle your tent to take advantage of the early rays while shielding the door of your tent from the wind.
8. Bring firewood
Sometimes it can be difficult to find firewood on the ground during the winter. By the time winter rolls around, summer campers may have scavenged the forest for wood, or the winter storms may have made most of the wood too wet to burn. An evening campfire will keep you warm at night and make cooking outside more enjoyable in cold weather. 
9. Bring plenty of water
Despite the lack of heat, it is still easy to get dehydrated during the winter. Although you are not visibly sweating, since the air is so dry, you still lose a lot of water through breathing. So, drink plenty of water!
2017-2018 "Hunter's Special" Lodging
At Select Mississippi State Parks
Select Mississippi State Parks offer discounted lodging rates to sportsmen during the hunting season. Many of our parks are conveniently located near Wildlife Management Areas and National Wildlife Refuges, providing an affordable hunting camp experience.  Discounted lodging rates will be offered to hunters through February.

Special Rates:
  • Cabin that sleeps 4 or less - $50 / night
  • Standard RV sites - $14 / night
Participating State Parks:
  • Clarkco
  • George P. Cossar
  • Hugh White
  • J. P. Coleman
  • John W. Kyle
  • Lake Lincoln
  • Lake Lowndes
  • Legion
  • Leroy Percy
  • Roosevelt
  • Tombigbee
  • Trace
  • Wall Doxey
Discounted rates will be applied for reservations made at qualifying Mississippi State Parks. Hunters must show a valid Mississippi hunting license to qualify for the discounted rate. For reservations made via 1-800-GO-PARKS or MDWFP.com, a refund for the discounted amount will be issued upon arrival (with proof of a valid Mississippi hunting license).  
Roosevelt State Park Music Festival
Enjoy a Variety of Bluegrass, Gospel, and Country Music
Join us for the Roosevelt State Park Music Festival and enjoy a variety of bluegrass, gospel, and country music at the Livingston Performing Arts Center on February 22, 23, and 24. Show times are Thursday and Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. Roosevelt State park offers a variety of overnight accommodations including over 100 campsites, 20 motel rooms, and 15 cabins. For reservations call 601-732-6316.
Crooked Creek String Band  
Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers
Fair River Station
Polkville City Limits
Little Roy and Lizzie Show
The Pilgrim Family
Wood & Wire
Polkville City Limits
Grass Skirts
Darrell, Darryl, Daryll & Cousin Darell
Polkville City Limits

Admission to the festival is $25 per day or 3-day passes can be purchased for $60. Children 12 and under attend free with a paying adult. For Festival Information Call Bertie Sullivan at 601-758-4976.

Conservation Quest
The Newest Exhibit at MDWFP's Museum of Natural Science

Visitors to MDWFP's Mississippi Museum of Natural Science are invited to explore the "Conservation Quest" exhibit from January 27 - April 29. This interactive exhibit explores energy and conservation: what energy is, where it comes from, how we use it, and why it is important to use it wisely.

See how simple actions can make big differences for families and communities:
  • Find ways to save with light bulbs, electricity, and recycling,
  • Explore solar, wind, and hydropower,
  • Connect circuits to power up lights, alarms, and fans,
  • Take the interactive energy conservation challenge,
  • See how much electricity you use,
  • Check out the latest energy-saving inventions and learn about the future of energy.
The exhibit is included in the regular museum admission fee of $6 for adults, $4 for youth ages 3-18, and $5 for senior citizens ages 60 and up. Museum Members are free with current membership.

S.T.E.M., Leaves, and Trees
A Science Celebration of Mississippi's Arbor Day

Join us at the MDWFP's Mississippi Museum of Natural Science for Arbor Day on February 9 as we explore the science behind trees with hands-on, interactive activities for school groups and families. FREE LIVE TREE GIVEAWAY (with museum admission) while supplies last.

Take guided Tree hikes, experience Project Learning Tree activities, and meet Smokey Bear!  Special guests Walt Grayson and Miss Hospitality, Emma Grace McGrew will be a part of the Arbor Day ceremony.

January Overview
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