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Extension Outdoors

A pond with a surface aerator.
May 27, 2022 - Filed Under: Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer has arrived, and your pond is heating up!

The surface water of local ponds feels like freshly run bath water, but it gets cold deeper in the pond. In the peak of summer, surface water temperatures in a deep pond can be in the low to mid 90s, while the deepest areas might still be in the lower 70s.

Boat in water
April 14, 2022 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries, Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss. -- Coastal Mississippi’s natural habitats are easily accessible and provide opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking and kayaking. As spring approaches and warmer weather beckons local residents and visitors outside, nature-based-tourism (NBT) businesses should be in high demand.

A hunter shows off a turkey he harvested.
March 14, 2022 - Filed Under: Natural Resources

As the weather finally begins to change and periods of high pressure set in across the Southeast, Mississippi’s spring turkey season looms in the no-so-distant future.

During this time, many critters are beginning to change their day-to-day behavior, including turkey hunters. Whether its deer and squirrels recovering from the cold breeding season and now preparing to deliver their offspring, or the waterfowl dispersing back North, our state’s most popular game bird is just beginning to wind up for its most exciting time of year.

February 21, 2022 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

For most hunters and bird enthusiasts in the Southeast, the term “game bird” conjures up images of a turkey gobbler in full strut, a covey of quail flushing from the brush and tall grass or an incoming group of mourning doves on the horizon. But the American Woodcock garners little attention despite being one of the most common game bird species.

A tall, purple weed in the foreground with green grass in the back.
January 27, 2022 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

Some plant species found in ponds can multiply and interfere with pond use and fish management, but not all water plants are bad.

Two male deer locking horns
November 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each year in Mississippi, thousands of hunters spend time in the woods hoping to see and harvest a buck. Last year, hunters in the Magnolia State harvested about 122,000 bucks, producing venison for the table and antlers to admire for a lifetime.

Even without having to worry about hunters, however, life for a buck is no cakewalk.

Salt marshes and water
October 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Smart Landscapes, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- Coastal restoration has been a hot topic along the Gulf of Mexico coast for many years now. 

One clear aspect of coastal restoration is that it’s a team effort that requires not only the coast, but entire watersheds. From reducing excess fertilizer usage and litter to increasing low-effort natural landscaping and pervious surfaces, there are many actions we can take anywhere to help restoration of coastal ecosystems.

Bird feeder, bottle of bleach and cleaning brush.
September 29, 2021 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife
RAYMOND, Miss. -- After an active year for disease-related wild bird deaths in the U.S., people should follow best practices when providing backyard feeders and water sources for wild birds this fall and winter.
 
Disease in wildlife populations is normal and is one of the many mechanisms that regulate wildlife populations. Many things can cause diseases in wildlife, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, along with exposure to toxic substances. 
 
Woman in wading pants collects a water sample in a creek.
August 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Healthy Soils and Water, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Recreation in and around water is a great way to get outside in the warmer months and still stay cool. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, wildlife watching, exploring creeks and streams, or paddling coastal bays and estuaries, Mississippi’s waterways have a lot to offer.

Bucket full of trash.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Animal Health, Health, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The amount of trash along Mississippi’s roadways and waterways is distressing. Beer bottles, soda cans, soiled diapers, cardboard boxes and fast-food wrappers are routine. Tires, gas cans and household appliances are not uncommon.

Every day, people discard millions of tons of trash in recycling containers or garbage cans. Unfortunately, people also leave trash in other places where it can harm wildlife, pets and even other people.

Girl in a blue T-shirt and baseball cap holding a small fish.
June 18, 2021 - Filed Under: Environment, Fish Management

Grandpa cast the jig and cork to the center of the pond and handed it to Lucy. “Now, start reeling in slowly,” he said.

She did as Grandpa instructed. On the third crank of the reel, the float disappeared several inches below the water surface, and Grandpa shouted, “She’s got it; reel it in!”

That day, Lucy perfected her casting technique and caught nearly a dozen small bass and several large bluegill.

A bird with black and gray feathers perches on a stem.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Biology, Environment

The terms “bird of prey” or “predatory bird” are most often used to describe birds that hunt and kill their prey -- a species also known as raptors. But while all raptors are birds of prey, not all birds of prey are raptors.

Graphic showing red snapper count in the Gulf of Mexico.
April 14, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management

BILOXI, Miss. -- The results of the Great Red Snapper Count are in!

In 2017, a team of fisheries experts began a two-year task of estimating the population size of red snapper in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico through this unprecedented, federally funded $12 million project. Scientists from several Southeastern universities and institutes, including Mississippi State University, used a variety of methods across the Gulf to accomplish this ambitious goal.

A wild gobbler turkey with brown and black feathers and a red head.
March 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nothing sends a charge of electricity up my spine quite like the boom of a gobbler sounding off in Mississippi woodlands. If you have ever had the privilege of hearing a male turkey gobbler announce his presence in Mississippi oak or hickory hardwood and pine forests, you’ll never forget it. 

Many hunters take to the woods during turkey season to experience this exhilaration and for the chance to glimpse the spectacle of a strutting gobbler in full display to attract turkey hens for mating.

Tall grass protects water from invading dry land.
February 25, 2021 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- Most folks dream of owning a piece of shoreline property on a river, a lake or the Gulf Coast. There is something about looking out over the water that is hard to describe.

Additionally, recreational opportunities like fishing aren’t bad either.

If you’re fortunate enough to own a piece of shoreline property, the last thing you want to happen is for it to erode.

Fishing vessel trawls multiple nets for shrimp.
January 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries

 

A deer with antlers standing in the snow.
November 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Trees, Christmas Trees

“Where are all the bucks?”

Several years ago, Larry Castle, formerly of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), and Steve Demarais of the Mississippi State University Deer Lab got together to discuss what could be done to address deer hunter questions and concerns regarding where bucks were going during hunting season. For years, Larry and his team at MDWFP would get questions from hunters who were frustrated with not seeing the deer they think they should be seeing. 

A bird eats seed from a feeder.
October 15, 2020 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Plants and Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- When all things “pumpkin spice” start filling up your social media feed, you know it’s time to start winter preparations for backyard wildlife.

Many people feel invigorated to get outside and do yard work in the first cool days of October.  To help you channel this energy, here are some easy tips on how to provide needed habitat for our critter friends while still tidying up the yard.

Person in straw hat tying up white trash bags.
September 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

In an effort to expand Mississippi Coastal Cleanup activities inland, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program recently awarded the Mississippi State University Extension Service a grant to start a Mississippi Inland Cleanup Program. This effort will complement and build upon many of the initiatives throughout the state to reduce litter issues.

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