MS Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

October News & Happenings

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

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Toyota Mississippi Continues Support for Tombigbee State Park

Toyota Mississippi again celebrated National Public Lands Day, September 24, at Tombigbee State Park, located outside of Tupelo. More than 500 employees teamed up to make improvements to the park's  hiking trails, bridges, and playgrounds. In addition, the volunteers added "Corolla Field"--a t-ball field and bleachers.

In 2015, Toyota Mississippi began a five year project with a pledge of $250,000 in improvements to the park. In addition to that commitment, Toyota Mississippi gave a $30,000 matching grant to the park this year to replace the lodge roof. 

"We're very thankful for Toyota Mississippi's commitment to Tombigbee and the Tupelo community," says Jennifer Head, MDWFP Director of State Parks. "This partnership allows us to make necessary improvements that directly benefit the beauty and recreational  use of the park."

Communities and businesses interested in sponsoring their local park can do so through the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

Photo courtesy Natchez Trace Travel

Fall Colors of the Natchez Trace: Where and When to See 

In mid to late October, maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees begin to change colors and visitors have the opportunity to view the brilliant fall foliage along the Natchez Trace Parkway. 

According to Natchez Trace Travel, Northeast Mississippi is typically at or near peak foliage colors from October 23 through November 10 while central Mississippi is typically at or near peak foliage colors from November 1 - 20.

Pick a day and plan a drive on the Parkway to view the fall hues right here in Mississippi. Head North for an overnight stay at Trace or Tishomingo State Parks, or, if you are already in north Mississippi, drive south to Natchez State Park. Whether you view the changing leaves from the roadside or beside a campfire, get outdoors, grab some hot chocolate, and experience the Fall season in Mississippi.

Find a state park along your road trip route at

Prevent Hunting Accidents with these Treestand Safety Precautions

Treestand accidents are the leading cause of injury to hunters. MDWFP urges everyone hunting from an elevated stand to consider these safety precautions:

  • Wear a safety harness, also known as a fall arrest system, when you are in a treestand, as well as when climbing into or out of a treestand.
  • Use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your treestand. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Before descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
  • Select the proper tree for use with your treestand. Select a live, straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your tree stand's instructions.
  • Hunt with a plan, and if possible, with a buddy. Let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return, and who you are hunting with.
  • Carry an emergency signal device such as a cell phone or whistle on your person and within reach at all times.
  • Know your physical limitations. Do not take chances. If you start thinking about how high you are, do not go any higher.
  • While climbing with a treestand, make slow, even movements of no more than 10-12 inches at a time.  
  • Follow the 3-point rule: always have three points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder before moving. 
  • Check the security of the step before placing your weight on it.

Archery Season for Deer Underway 

Archery season for deer is now open for the Hill and Delta Zones and will open October 15 for the Southeast Zone. Longbows, recurves, compound bows, and crossbows are all considered legal archery equipment and may be used during all hunting seasons for deer. There is no minimum or maximum draw weight, no minimum arrow length, and fixed or mechanical broadheads may be used.

"The acorn and persimmon crops look good on most of the trees I have observed, now we just need some cooler temperatures to get deer moving," says William McKinley, MDWFP Biologist. "The relatively mild, wet summer has produced some great antlers and a prolific fawn crop. Bowhunters should have a great season, and a good time to pattern a pre-rut, mature buck is during the first week of archery season."

Learn more about hunting regulations and public hunting areas at 

Fall Fishing Tips for Largemouth Bass  

Fall is a time of transition, not only for the weather and foliage, but also for largemouth bass. Bass constantly follow baitfish, which can make it difficult to identify one particular pattern or fishing spot. The best advice for catching largemouth bass in the fall is to be adaptable to the conditions and cover as much water as possible.

In early fall, the best starting point is at the mouths of major creeks. From there, begin fishing upstream in the creek until you get bites. Once you start catching fish, you can likely duplicate the pattern in similar spots throughout a lake. As fall progresses, the bass will move further upstream. If creeks are absent, try fishing shallow flats with scattered cover. As winter approaches, the bass move back to the same deep water areas they used in the summer. 

Fall fishing requires covering a lot of water until you find fish, making fast-moving lures the best choice. Buzzbaits, jerkbaits, square-bill crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits are all great choices. Try to mimic the size and color of the baitfish. Keep moving and changing baits until you connect with them. Once you find the bass, hang on for some great fishing!

Find out where fish are biting across the state with our weekly fishing reports 

"Park After Dark" at the Science Museum

Enjoy fun games and science at two award-winning museums at the 5th Annual "Park After Dark"!  MDWFP's Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Children's Museum (MCM) will host Park After Dark on Friday, October 28 from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The museums are adjacent to one another at I-55 and Lakeland Drive within LeFleur's Bluff State Park. 

"Experience 'night at the museums' at this one-of-a-kind Halloween event! There isn't another event like it in Mississippi," says Charles Knight, Director of the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science. Kellye McMillan, MCM's Director of Marketing adds, "We love this event and enjoy partnering with the Science Museum every year! Park After Dark gives families a safe place to trick-or-treat, dress-up in creative costumes, and have fun while learning." 

Activities include: Academy of Kung Fu Karate Exhibition, spooky spin-art and mask making, slime creation experiment, gummy worm science, an exploding pumpkin, a "Monster Mash" dance party, character costume photos, Goosebumps Fear Challenge, friendly campfire ghost stories, appearances by the Spider Queen and Dr. Frankenstein, and of course...lots of candy!

Tickets are $8 per person and include parking, entry into both museums, and all event activities. For more info, visit for call 601-576-6000. 

Hunter Ed Logo

Hunter Education: More than a Certificate

Each year, new or "coming of age" hunters complete a Hunter Education course to meet hunting regulations and to become certified to purchase a hunting license. Hunter Education courses provide participants with more than a certificate and cover a variety of topics such as:

  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Survival Skills
  • Wildlife Identification
  • Field Care and Dressing of Game

Persons interested in becoming familiar with basic hunting information and/or learning more about the outdoors and Mississippi's wildlife, should consider taking this free course. Simply visit and search for a class in your area and pre-register. 

Sight in Your Rifle at a MDWFP Shooting Range

Successful hunters know that hunting season does not begin on opening day; it starts in the weeks and months prior to the season. One of the most important and responsible things a hunter can do to prepare for deer gun season is to sight in their firearm. 

MDWFP's public shooting ranges provide hunters with safe, affordable opportunities to practice year-round.

Turcotte Shooting Range

The rifle range at Turcotte, located near Canton off of Hwy 43, has fourteen shooting positions on seven tables. The range has movable target stands and shooters are able to engage targets out to 300 yards.

VIDEO: Turcotte Shooting Range

McHenry Shooting Range

Located near Perkinston, McHenry offers two rifle ranges with ten shooting tables per range. Movable target stands are available and shooters are able to engage targets out to 170 yards.

For more information, visit

Endangered Butterflies Reproduce on Wildlife Management Area

Mississippi's Wildlife Management Areas provide habitat for both game and non-game species. Museum Conservation Resources Biologists Heather Sullivan and Scott Peyton recently documented pupating Mitchell's Satyr Butterflies on John Bell Williams Wildlife Management Area. The pupa represents an immobile stage in which a caterpillar is transforming into an adult butterfly. This is an important and vulnerable stage in this endangered species' life cycle. Documenting habitat that helps the butterfly safely make this transition will help inform conservation actions taken by biologists and landowners.

The Mitchell's Satyr Butterfly was first identified in Mississippi in 2003 in Tishomingo and Prentiss Counties. Mississippi biologists have since documented it in Itawamba and Alcorn counties as well. The species is either exceptionally rare or presumed extirpated throughout its range in the Eastern United States. It is listed as Endangered by the Mississippi Natural Heritage Program and by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 

October Youth Fishing Rodeo Schedule

October 8
RecCon Lake, Mound Bayou
8 a.m. , (662) 741-2879

Wall Doxey State Park
7:30  a.m., (662) 252-4231

October 15
Hiller Park Pond, Biloxi
8 a.m., (228) 388-7170

October 29
Paul B. Johnson State Park
10 a.m., (601) 582-7721




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