October 15, 2017
Included in this Issue

  • MSU Deer Lab and MS DWFP to Quantify Impact of Flooding on Deer Condition
  • Classifieds
  • MRLA Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Letter from the MRLA President
  • MDWFP Offers Assistance to Private Landowners
  • CWD Update

MRLA is now offering a classified section in our newsflashes. The classified section will be free for members. All submissions will need to be sent to Dana Jones mrla.danajones@gmail.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

Equity Membership for Sale

Ward Lake Land Company, LLC equity share for sale for $300,000.

The property is located just inside the Mississippi River levee about 9 miles
west of Clarksdale, MS.

Ward Lake offers 6,400+/- acres of prime professionally managed deer, duck, and turkey hunting.

Please call Steve Hanlon 901 487-7427 with inquires.

Caretaker Position Available

  Island 66 Hunting Club is looking for a caretaker.

The club is located 10 miles west of Rena Lara, MS in
Phillips Co. Arkansas

If interested, please call Kimbol Jones at
662-902-6715 or email kimbol@cableone.net.

For posting in MRLA Classifieds, please email Dana at mrla.danajones@gmail.com

Letter from the President
by Frank W. Smith, Jr.
Our recent meeting in Vicksburg was a big success, and I have listed a few highlights below:

1.       Important and valuable information, ranging from a CWD update to waterfowl, feral swine and timber management updates were provided to our members.
2.       Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Rates and Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney spoke on MS House Bill 1340 and flood insurance issues.
3.       For the first time, exhibitors were present to inform members of their services (see list of exhibitors displayed in this newsletter).

Our thanks to our speakers and vendors for their participation; and I offer personal thanks to our dedicated board members who volunteer their time to ensure the success of MRLA. They work diligently to make our meetings productive for our membership.

Membership has increased since our most recent newsletter, as five new members have joined us. Currently, MRLA officially represents 75 clubs owning 302,961acres. It is important to remember that MRLA activities benefit all equity clubs which have not yet joined our ranks. I ask for your continued help in recruiting clubs who are not yet members. 

Our next membership meeting will be in mid-February. Your attendance and representation is important to our organization, so please make an effort to see that your club is represented. At that meeting we will elect officers and board members. Bucky Murphy is heading up a committee to nominate a slate of officers and board members. Please contact Bucky with any recommendations you may have.

As always, thank you for your support of MRLA.

Frank Smith

A Note of Thanks!

I would like to extend a special thanks to our exhibitors that participated in our meeting held in August. Our exhibitors were Tom Smith Land & Homes, Sartain Heritage Properties, Southern AgCredit, Ducks Unlimited, Mid-South Specialty Advertising and Mississippi Wildlife Federation. This was our first time to host exhibitors and we were very excited with the outcome. We look forward to having them back with us next time.

Thanks again!

Dana Jones
Executive Director
If you would like to participate in one of our Member meetings as an exhibitor, please contact Dana Jones, Executive Director at mrla.danajones@gmail.com.

Chronic Wasting Disease in Arkansas – October 2017 Update
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious, neurodegenerative disease that affects members of the Cervidae Family (elk, moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and caribou/reindeer); no cure, no therapy, always fatal. This progressive disease was diagnosed in Arkansas’s elk and white-tailed deer herds in February 2016.   

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) spent the entire 2016 calendar year focused on learning the prevalence and spatial distribution of the disease. Over 5,200 sample have been collected since February 2016 with the disease being diagnosed in seven counties (Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, and Searcy). Sampling has identified a total of 216 CWD positive animals (209 white-tailed deer and 7 elk).
The AGFC continues to learn about this disease and develop strategies to minimize the impact on the native cervid populations. Research is currently being conducted to examine the genetic structure and diversity of the white-tailed deer and elk herds inside the CWD Management Zone. Additional research projects are being planned that will aid in future disease management. 

In addition, the AGFC has developed a Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division that has taken the lead on CWD management and research. The function of this division is not only to spearhead CWD efforts, but to assist the entire Agency with research projects and learning about various species management. Dr. Jenn Ballard, AGFC’s Wildlife Veterinarian, and Dr. Chris Middaugh, AGFC’s Research Biologist, are two key members of this newly developed division.

For more information concerning CWD and AGFC’s response, please visit www.ArkansasCWD.com.
Cory Gray
Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division Manager
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
MSU Deer Lab and MS DWFP to Quantify Impact of Flooding on Deer Condition
Landowners and deer biologists along the Mississippi River need to know how flooding affects their deer populations. In an earlier analysis of Davis Island, the Mississippi State University Deer Lab showed that the number of days the island was flooded significantly affected body mass and lactation rates of females. This flooding impact was much more important than annual variation in harvest rate of females. We used a long-term database covering 24 years to evaluate how deer respond to a range of flooding events, some minimal and some extreme, but how do these results apply to other properties along the river?
MSU Deer Lab researchers and MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks biologists are starting a new analysis this fall. We will use many more properties along the river so that we can fully evaluate the impact of flooding across the region. We’re also asking the Arkansas and Louisiana wildlife agencies to cooperate by sharing their DMAP data to expand the breadth and intensity of the study.
We’re looking for DMAP properties from along the river, either large single properties or cooperatives of smaller properties with a range of flooding regimes. We will evaluate annual changes in deer condition on properties that flood regularly, occasionally, and rarely and compare those results to properties that never flood. We’d like to have at least 20 years of data with at least 15-20 samples per deer group per year. Potential deer groups are 1, 2, and 3+ year old females and 5+ year old males.
We hope to have our analyses completed by summer 2018, so look for our results in a future MRLA newsletter and at the annual meeting. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution in support the Deer Lab’s work please contact Steve Demarais (662-418-2285) or Bronson Strickland (662-722-1510).

MDWFP Offers Assistance to Private Landowners

Did you know that 80% of Mississippi’s land-base is privately owned? Without question, working with private landowners is essential for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to achieve its mission: “to conserve and enhance Mississippi's wildlife, fisheries, and parks, provide quality outdoor recreation, and engage the public in natural resource conservation.” The MDWFP’s Private Lands Program serves this vital role by providing technical guidance to private landowners free of charge.

The Private Lands Program consists of a team of qualified wildlife biologists who work with landowners to achieve their wildlife management goals. Private Lands Biologists provide recommendations to landowners to improve habitat and manage game populations. Habitat management is simply the process of providing food, water, cover and space in an arrangement suitable to meet the life strategy of a desired species or guild of wildlife. For some game animals, specifically white-tailed deer, harvest management decisions are also critical in achieving desired outcomes. Private Lands Biologists evaluate habitat conditions, current land management practices, past game harvest strategies, and potential limiting factors to make recommendations in the context of the long-term management goals of the landowner.

Common services provided by Private Lands Program biologists include recommendations on the management of fallow fields, forests, and supplemental plantings, analysis of deer harvest data through the Deer Management Assistance Program, approaches to wetland habitat management, and strategies to implement prescribed burning where applicable. Biologists often work closely with Registered Foresters and other natural resources professionals to implement management practices. If possible, private lands staff will liaise with other organizations to locate cost-share opportunities for management practices.

For more information on the Private Lands Program or to locate the biologist for your region, visit www.mdwfp.com/privatelands
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