MS Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

December News & Happenings

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

MDWFP wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas!  We hope you enjoy

this holiday season by spending time in Mississippi's outdoors!

Last Chance to Donate to Toy Drive for Batson Children's Hospital

MDWFP will conclude its "Stuff the Tuck" toy drive benefiting Blair E. Batson's Children's Hospital on Saturday, December 10. Please join us in making this Christmas one to remember for these families.

For drop off locations, visit

Great Holiday Gifts for Every Outdoor Enthusiast

Did you know Mississippi offers a Lifetime Hunting and Fishing license? Connect your young sportsman to the outdoors early by making this one-time $500 investment, and save on a lifetime of annual license fees in the process!

A subscription to MS Outdoors magazine for only $9 is the perfect stocking stuffer for youth and adult outdoorsmen alike. Enjoy beautiful wildlife and nature photography, read how-to articles, and learn more about Mississippi's abundant recreational opportunities.

Learn more about these offers at

Apply Now for WMA Waterfowl Hunts

MDWFP is currently accepting applications for permitted waterfowl hunting opportunities on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). There is no cost to apply, however applicants must possess a valid WMA User Permit at the time of applying.

Apply at

Kick the New Year Off with a "First Day Hike" at a State Park

What better way to kick off the New Year than by being active outdoors?

First Day Hikes are organized and led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers. The distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. Come enjoy the beauty of Mississippi's natural resources and discover the local treasure of a state park you and your family can return to throughout the year.

For participating parks, visit

Moon Lake Paddlefish is Recaptured in the Ohio River

A paddlefish tagged and released by MDWFP fisheries biologists on February 24, 2014 at Moon Lake in Coahoma County was recaptured on November 14, 2016 in the Ohio River below Smithland Dam near Paducah, Kentucky. 

"This fish made a remarkable journey through many miles of streams and rivers to just make it to the Mississippi River," said Darrin Hardesty, MDWFP Commercial Fisheries Biologist. "Paddlefish swim long distances, but very little is known about their movements to and from Moon Lake." Moon Lake is connected to the Coldwater River by the Yazoo Pass. The fish, which swam about 725 miles in 993 days, was captured by a commercial fisherman. The fish was identified by a numbered metal band which was attached to the fish's jaw. 

Since 2010, four paddlefish tagged at Moon Lake have been recaptured and reported to MDWFP. Two fish were captured in the Missouri River, and the other fish was recaptured in the Mississippi River near Grand Tower, Illinois.

MDWFP biologists have tagged over 700 paddlefish in the last several years, but very few recaptures have been reported. "Population abundance estimates, growth rates, and movement are just a few population characteristics that we can gather through mark-recapture studies such as this," added Hardesty. "This information illustrates the necessity of working with other states to manage paddlefish."

Weekly Waterfowl Reports Available Online

MDWFP's Waterfowl Program provides Weekly Waterfowl Reports to keep waterfowl hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts updated on waterfowl happenings throughout the winter. Information on the previous week's waterfowl movements and distributions, migration weather, and hunting reports from public and private lands are a few of the main topics addressed in the reports. Weekly Waterfowl Reports are posted (usually Tuesdays or Wednesdays) online at, and can also be found via MDWFP's Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Big Holiday Fun on the Bayou at Cajun Christmas

Join us December 9 at MDWFP's Museum of Natural Science for a Cajun Christmas and enjoy an interactive storytelling of Cajun Night Before Christmas and an encounter with the Christmas Gator and other swamp animals. Also included are Cajun Christmas craft stations, a Santa letter writing station, and the chance to meet Ole St. Nick and take a picture. Beautiful holiday music will be sung by the Mississippi Girlchoir and Boychoir and Santa, himself, will be diving in the aquariums!

For details and other holiday happenings, visit

10 Safety Tips for Duck Hunters

When it comes to safety, the old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are 10 safety tips for waterfowl hunters:

  1. Always carry a waterproof fire-starting kit in a pocket. If you get wet, being able to start a fire is crucial to preventing hypothermia. 
  2. Ensure your boat, motor, and trailer are in good running order and that batteries are always at full charge. 
  3. Always wear a certified personal flotation device when running or paddling a boat, and ensure you have a PFD for every passenger in the boat as well as throwables which are required on boats 16 ft and greater in length.
  4. Never go hunting without telling somebody where you are going and when you expect to return. 
  5. Stock your boat or ATV box with safety gear such as survival rations, rope, flare gun, space blanket, hand axe, whistle, etc. 
  6. Attach a small compass to your jacket or waders via pin or string. This way, it will always be there when you need it. 
  7. Never attempt to run an overloaded or undersized boat. If hunting on a large river or lake, use a boat that is big enough to handle rough water. 
  8.  Be mindful of wearing waders while boating to your location. Waders filled with water add extreme weight if an accident occurs and you go overboard.
  9. Treat every gun as if it is loaded, even when you are sure it is not. Before each hunt, open your gun's action and check the muzzle for obstructions. 
  10. Carry a cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag when hunting. Cell phone service is available in most places around the country. If an emergency arises, you can call for help.

Youth Squirrel Hunt Registration Opens January 1

MDWFP is partnering with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host youth squirrel hunts across Mississippi during the month of February. These free hunts are designed to introduce youth ages 10 - 15 to small game hunting and conservation. 

Registration will begin January 1 at

Watch Mississippi Outdoors TV Weekly on MPB

From hunting and fishing to just about anything outdoors, we explore it all on Mississippi Outdoors. Join us each week on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting as we explore all Mississippi's natural resources have to offer.

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