January 23, 2017
Included in this Issue
  • Baiting Restrictions could help reduce CWD-adapted from ATCO newsletter
  • Mississippi River Facts
  • MRLA Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Letter from the MRLA President - by Frank Smith, Jr.
Announcements & Upcoming Events
MRLA Member Meeting - February 23, 2017
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming MRLA member meeting at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Vicksburg MS!  We will have another fantastic line-up of speakers that you will not want to miss.  Stay tuned for more details!

MRLA Board Member Recommendations
In order to continue MRLA's foward momentum it is critical to expand the board and become more inclusive.  If you would like to serve on the board or if you have a board member recommendation, please submit your suggestion prior to   the February meeting.

Coming Soon To Our Newsletter
A new feature coming to MRLA's newsletter will be great area restaurants and hunting vendors.  If you'd like everyone to know about a great place to eat or a hunting vendor near your hunting camp, please submit those to Dana Jones, Executive Director, at dana.jones@mrla.com


Frank Smith, President
Bucky Murphy, Vice President
Chris Winter, Secretary
George Smith, Treasurer

Board Members

Ike Brunetti
Skip Graeber
Larry Garland
Curtis Hopkins
Milford Hough
Bruce Lewis
Rives Neblett
Buck Neely
Jamey Nicholas


If you'd like to share your deer pictures from this year with us, please send them to Dana at dana.jones@msrla.com.

Letter from the President
by Frank W. Smith, Jr.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the February 23, 2017 Annual Membership meeting to be held at Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, MS.  I ask that each member club send at least one representative to vote on behalf of the member club.

As this is our annual meeting, we will handle elections and we will conduct discussions regarding the agenda for 2017.  Dana Jones, our Executive Director will be following up so we will know who represents your club.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, we are studying the Mississippi River Flooding Initiative and have appointed a committee to develop a position statement on behalf of MRLA.  Your input is important, so feel free to contact me or any of our board members if you have information or opinions you would like to share.

We have had several comments from member clubs, primarily in Mississippi, regarding dramatic increases in ad valorem taxes on our properties.  This is a matter of significant importance to MRLA.  If a position should be taken and communicated, MRLA would be a good avenue.   We will discuss this in our annual meeting, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact me or one of our board members if you would like to weigh-in on the matter.

MRLA plans to host a half-day workshop on timber and habitat management during the first part of 2017.  The purpose will be to share ideas on timber management and habitat management practices among members.  Also, it will be appropriate to discuss common problems, such as finding good markets for our timber, and delivering our product to those markets at a fair price.  The workshop will be open to all MRLA members.  I will be putting together the agenda within the next month or so, and I would like your input.  Please let me know at franks@ssw1776.com or Dana at dana.jones@msrla.com  if you have questions or issues you would like to have discussed.  Also, let Dana or me know if your club would be interested in participating.

I appreciate your continued support of MRLA, and look forward to seeing you in February.

Baiting Restrictions help Reduce the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) threats on ATCO lands in response to increasing numbers of CWD detections in neighboring states.  
(Adapted with permission from Anderson Tully) 
The primary intended goals of the baiting/feeding restrictions on Anderson-Tully lands include protecting the local wild deer herd and reducing the spread of disease, (any disease, not just CWD). The effects of baiting and feeding include artificially increased natural populations which may be sustained beyond carrying capacity and in turn alter deer behavior. Bait and feed placed on the landscape, even in limited quantities, often attracts unnatural numbers of deer. Deer are often concentrated at a single bait or feed site, or even between several sites in close proximity – thus allowing for increased contact that would otherwise not occur in natural feeding environments. Both direct contact (healthy deer to a contaminated deer) and indirect contact (deer to a contaminated environment) increases as a result of baiting and feeding. Unnatural concentrations of deer and contact rates caused by baiting and feeding increase the risk of CWD and other disease infections and transmissions.  

Baiting and feeding deer can change behavior patterns, drawing deer away from natural feeding and bedding locations. High concentrations of deer due to feeding or baiting, in turn may cause over-browsing which limits forest regeneration, increase crop damage, and impact local vegetation and increase contact among different wildlife species causing increased competition and stress among deer and other species using the feed site.  

Bait and feed are different than food plots because artificial feed/bait is continually replaced when baiting or feeding. Food plots also typically cover a much larger area where the food source is more spread out and once consumed, it is not replaced over and over again. Peer-reviewed scientific publications reinforce the prudency of enacting baiting and feeding restrictions in order to protect the local wild deer herd. There are numerous studies supporting the increased risks of disease transmission in areas of baiting and feeding.  

Research suggests there is strong scientific evidence that CWD-positive deer can shed infectious material into the environment, and that disease can be transmitted through contact with contaminated materials, including soil. These studies provide evidence that CWD prions, when shed into the environment, pose a significant, persistent risk to other deer.  

Rather than try to attract deer closer to a stand, it may be best to locate stands near known travel corridors, as well as naturally occurring food sources (e.g., acorns, pecans, persimmons, locust beans) that are produced by natural vegetation. Another option is vegetation planted and left standing in wildlife food plots, as long as they are solely a result of normal agricultural or gardening practices. Important minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen can be spread over the plot as fertilizer.

Because of the ability to spread the disease through transportation of carcasses, an effort should be made to leave the most disease bearing parts on the area of harvest. Brains, internal organs, bones, spine, and spinal cords should be left on site, preferably buried in a pit, or at least left in a designated area on the property of harvest. It is best not to cut into bones, spinal columns or spinal cords. Instead of cutting bones, legs and hips, they can be severed at joints. Carcasses that are carried off the site for processing should be carried to a processer that disposes carcasses appropriately. Carcasses carried home for processing should, once processed, be returned to the area of harvest. Do not throw carcasses on other person’s property; that just increases the likelihood of infection.

Heads that are to be mounted should be carried to local taxidermists. Skulls that will be mounted can be boiled on site. Antlers can be removed and the brain cavity soaked with a 50% solution of household bleach. This same solution can be used on knives and tools, plus used to clean off benches and tables.  

Jawbones are an integral part of deer management. They should be removed from the head and cleaned by removing tissue. To decrease movement of jawbones, we will try to visit clubs to age jawbones and discard aged jawbones on site, especially trying not to send jawbones by mail across state lines unless absolutely necessary. This may require collecting jawbones in a central location, especially within association of clubs, to age them rather than mailing them.

Mississippi River
   The Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long.

   The Mississippi River is home to 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians and 50 species of mammals.

   From its source in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River drops 1,475 feet.

   The Mississippi River is the third largest watershed in the world.

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