STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Have you ever wondered why there seem to be a lot of turtles crossing the road this time of year?
The turtles you see crossing the road in spring and early summer are most often females. They are either in search of a good place to lay their eggs or returning to their home territory. Drivers should not risk a vehicle accident to avoid hitting a turtle on the road. However, unnecessary turtle deaths should be avoided.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi boasts a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, with abundant lakes, rivers, forests, refuges, state parks, national parks and camping areas.
With that being said, any outdoor activity can also bring risks if recreation lovers not fully prepared.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Stories about Asian carp abound, but what exactly is an Asian carp and why should we be concerned?
Asian carp is a vague title assigned to a category of fishes native to Southeast Asia that have been introduced into the U.S. for their beneficial uses in aquaculture. This group of iconic fishes includes the common carp, grass carp, black carp, largescale silver carp, and silver and bighead carp. The species of most concern are the silver carp and the bighead carp, which I will refer to as “bigheaded carps.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growing skunk populations in Mississippi are causing a stink in the Magnolia state.
Striped and spotted skunks, which are both found in Mississippi, are among the most common and widely distributed mammals in North America. Skunks are solitary and typically nonaggressive, and they have not historically been a serious threat to homeowners, agricultural producers and other wildlife. However, that could change.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – I was born and raised in the South, so it’s hard for me to imagine a world without trees.
Bottomland hardwoods, mixed oak and hickory forests, and pine savannahs are all iconic scenes of Mississippi’s wild lands. Trees are not only a beautiful fixture of the Southeastern landscape; they are also very important economically and ecologically. Whether you realize it or not, trees impact our lives in many ways. The houses we live in, the furniture we sit in and sleep on, and the paper products we use every day are all derived from trees.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer is a critical season for white-tailed deer, especially in the Deep South.
Adult does are lactating, fawns are growing, and bucks are producing new antlers. The nutritional needs of each developing animal are high. If landowners and managers are going to plant warm-season food plots of quality legumes, they should plant between mid-April and early June. These forages can be an excellent way to supplement the natural food sources provided by Mother Nature in a well-maintained habitat.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A quality fishing pond requires a balance in size and abundance of predator species and their prey -- usually largemouth bass and bluegill, respectively.
A pond owner or manager needs to have a basic understanding of the size range and species composition in the pond to maintain quality fishing. An annual checkup of the fish will yield information to help identify and track problems with the fish population.
By Beth Baker
MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As many regions of the country face drought conditions this summer, it’s important to remember to use water efficiently.
Mississippi sees a large amount of rainfall each year compared to other states. But only a small portion of that moisture makes it back into the stored groundwater, which is the primary supply for household usage, including water for lawns and gardens. Luckily, having a beautiful yard doesn’t have to mean using a lot of water.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- One of the most common questions people ask about lakes and ponds is whether they need to apply fertilizer to promote fish population growth.
“Do I have to fertilize my lake and if so, what should I use and how much of it should be used?” I get these questions every year, and my response typically is, “How much fishing pressure does it receive? Are there any weed/invasive plant issues?” If there are just a few folks using the lake and not much fishing pressure, fertilizer may not be necessary.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- April showers bring May flowers, as the old adage tells us. However, spring also brings baby wild animals.
Longer days and warmer temperatures are triggers that cause birds and other wildlife to mate and have young. Winter conditions are harsh, but spring has softer days and plentiful food, conditions more ideal for raising offspring.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It can climb, dig, swim and run, but in spite of its physical skills, the nine-banded armadillo is frequently roadkill.
You might not have even known it is a member of the mammal class. It bears very little resemblance to any other mammal in that it is not covered in fur or hair. Instead, it has nine bony armor rings covering the area between its shoulder and hip. Its long tail has an additional 12 bony rings.
By Jeanne Jones, Professor, and Daryl Jones, Extension Professor
MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center
Mississippi State University
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- On warm Mississippi days as daylight gives way to dusk, flying, furry creatures -- the centerpieces of our Halloween decorations -- take wing in pursuit of mosquitoes and other pests.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring holidays just around the corner and garden season quickly approaching, there is no better time to discuss Mississippi’s resident rabbit, the eastern cottontail.
Many people think rabbits are a type of rodent because they have a tooth structure similar to that seen in squirrels, rats and mice. They also have a tendency to gnaw on plants, wood and other structures. However, rabbits are classified as lagomorphs because they have two pairs of upper and lower front teeth, and their food goes through a double-digestion process.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For many Mississippians, this is the least likely time of the year to venture outside to explore. Some feel it is much too cold and others feel it is too wet, but for a lover of the outdoors, this is a perfect time of year to hit the trail.
It all comes down to being prepared for your outing and keeping a positive mental attitude.
If you recognize this quote, you know its source: Looney Tunes cartoon character Yosemite Sam, who never got the upper hand in his dealings with Bugs Bunny. Sometimes it seems we -- like Yosemite Sam -- battle with “varmints” that live around us. This column will give you a little insight into why the battle rages and what you can do to get the upper hand.