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Extension Outdoors

Landowners should consider several factors when preparing hunting leases for their land, including what wildlife species individuals may hunt on the land -- from bobwhite quail to white-tailed deer. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Daryl Jones)
September 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There are several things landowners should consider before allowing people to use or rent their land for recreation, such as hunting and fishing.

Important considerations include drafting a legal lease, addressing accident liability concerns and figuring out what to charge. With a recreational or hunting lease, the landowner grants access to his or her land for recreational purposes for a certain period of time in exchange for fees or services.

Game cameras can capture images of some of the most elusive wildlife and their babies. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jacob Dykes)
August 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hunters love new gadgets that are supposed to help them find and harvest more game, but most of this gear falls short of delivering on its promise.

Game cameras, also known as trail cameras, are among the advancements in technology that can improve hunting and management. The game camera is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for important management tasks like surveying deer population characteristics or just helping around the house by keeping an eye on your garden.

Great days on the lake like this one do not just happen. Fish management plays a significant role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass. (Submitted photo)
August 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – There is no easy answer to the debate for the best type of bass to stock in a Mississippi pond.

The genetic differences between Florida bass, northern bass and hybrid bass are often relatively subtle. Fish management plays a greater role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass, but the decision is still an important one.

Before European settlement, mountain lions were part of the native Mississippi landscape, but changes in their habitat and overharvest by humans have resulted in no remaining wild populations of these big cats in the state. (Submitted photo)
August 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Most Americans over the age of 30 will recognize this line from the “Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy and her friends were traveling the Yellow Brick Road through the dark and wild forest, worried they might encounter these fearsome creatures.

Wood storks stand out in the sky with their long wingspans, black-and-white color patterns and slow wing beats. (Photo by Bill Stripling).
August 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The hottest days of the summer may drive many people indoors to the air conditioning, but bird-watchers know it is a great time to go outside to see some of Mississippi’s most colorful visitors.

Imitating bats that like to hang upside down is a fun activity for children as they explore a nature trail at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Natchez, Mississippi, on July 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Outdoor recreation is an economic giant that receives far less attention than most of the other industries in our country.

We usually think of the pharmaceutical, insurance, energy, automotive and health care industries as drivers of a strong economy. We rarely discuss with our friends and relatives the industry of outdoor recreation or its potential to create jobs. Yet, outdoor recreation has changed in the modern world, and it’s time to change the way we view this expanding market.

Using reusable products and eating unprocessed foods are good for the environment and simple steps along the path in the “going green” journey. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The “going green” movement is evidence that people and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment.

The development of products that are energy efficient and eco-friendly also shows that people want to protect the earth and its precious resources.

Perennials, such as ladino white clover, are available to wildlife forage all year long with its peak production time from mid-spring through early summer. In addition to finding the right soil and applying the recommended amounts of lime and fertilizer each year, managers will also have to battle both cool- and warm-season weeds. (Submitted photos)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When planting wildlife food plots, which is better: annuals or perennials? Ideally, you should have different plots designated for both cool- and warm-season annuals, as well as perennials.

“Leaves of three, let them be” (left) is the rhyme people use to identify poison ivy while it is actively growing, but every part of the plant can cause itchy outbreaks, even during winter dormancy. Virginia creeper (right) is often mistaken for the three-leaved poison ivy, but there is no need to fear these vines with five leaves. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Health, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Outdoor activities in the spring and summer increase the risk of exposure to poison ivy, but the plants’ danger does not disappear when frost arrives.

Thriving on Mississippi’s hot, humid climate, poison ivy is very common across the state and causes discomfort for 80 to 85 percent of the population. The additional bad news is that allergic reactions from exposure to any part of the plants, including roots, also can occur during the winter from dormant plants.

July 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Evidence that people are watching too many zombie shows or movies can be found in the concerns and questions pond owners have for biologists.

Copperheads, such as this one, are among the most common venomous snakes in Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Robert Lewis)
June 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Snakes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi residents are not alone in their appreciation of hiking trails and water activities during the hot days of summer. Wildlife, including snakes, are right there with them.

As outdoor recreation picks up, so does water recreation. Where there is water, there will be snakes. There are all different kinds of snakes people encounter in Mississippi. Some are potentially dangerous and others are completely harmless.

June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The life of a fish is more complicated than most people realize. It needs places to hide from predators, ambush prey, spawn and guard young fish, and just loaf and relax.

The dark, fiddle-shaped pattern on the back of the brown recluse helps distinguish it from other spiders. Because of their reclusive nature, watch out for these venomous spiders in dark, neglected areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer days motivate many people to tackle cluttered closets, disorganized garages and idle storage buildings. But before pulling out neglected boxes of junk, consider who -- or what -- might have taken up residence in the dark, undisturbed piles.

Sunflower fields offer photographers scenic settings in the summer. Later in the fall, fields like this one offer doves some of their favorite dining options. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kat Lawrence)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With opening day of dove season a few months away, many hunters have begun thinking about finding a perfect field.

May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss – Many of us look forward to a summer garden every year, especially after a long winter.

Unfortunately, many wildlife species find garden vegetables and plants just as delicious as we do. This leads to a battle -- a battle to keep the fruits of our labors to ourselves rather than providing a meal for the local wildlife.

Throughout hot, dry seasons, pine straw serves as a perfect mulch around native plants in this rock garden outside of Thompson Hall at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker)
May 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite above-average rainfall in Mississippi between January and March, only a small portion of that moisture made it back into our groundwater, which is the primary source for household needs, including water for lawns and gardens.

As bee swarms land on branches and other objects this spring, do not disturb them. The honeybees are seeking a new home and will usually move on within a few days. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
May 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss -- This time of year is when swarms of honeybees settle in trees or shrubs as they leave their hives searching for larger places to live

Children do not have to leave the city limits; they can explore nature in their own backyards. Eastern box turtles (left), which are native to Mississippi, are land dwellers and do not even need ponds to find friends who want to play. Getting dirty is half the fun for children exploring and playing in the great outdoors (right). Rain may drive families inside for a time, but they provide some great water features after the thunder and lightning have passed. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the busy schedules many of us keep, it is hard to make time to spend outdoors with our kids, but this is a vital part of their development.

 A news article recently caught my eye with a report I found appalling. On average, prisoners spend more time outside than our youth do. To me, this is incredibly sad. Most of our schools are not doing much to help young explorers thrive.

Our children spend over 90 percent of their time indoors and more than 50 hours a week on electronic devices. Society needs to wake up before it is too late.

Hummingbird feeders attract tiny migrating visitors to Mississippi yards, but anyone who is not willing to keep fresh feed in a frequently cleaned container should consider planting a hummingbird garden instead. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The sight of a hummingbird darting from flower to flower announces spring’s arrival and offers hours of entertainment all summer long.

Many of us provide hummingbird feeders to increase the numbers of the tiny birds we see around our homes before they migrate back to their winter homes in Mexico and Central America.

Alligators are protected by Mississippi law, so consult wildlife officials for guidance in removing these unwanted visitors from ponds and lakes. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pond and lake owners frequently seek help to control unwanted pests in and around their water, such as turtles, beavers, muskrats, nutrias, alligators and sometime geese.

A new lake or pond provides a new habitat for local critters to move into and live. When landowners decide to put a pond or lake on their property, they need to consider control plans for those unwanted visitors because it is only a matter of time until these animals move in and call the body of water home.


Extension Outdoors Archive