The Importance of the WMA Visitor Use Permit
By Brad Holder, Northwest WMA Biologist
Be legal and help the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks help our natural resources and you, the outdoor enthusiast. If you've visited a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the past, you may be familiar with the Daily Visitor Use Permit Card. You can find Daily Visitor Use Permit Cards at permit stations located at, or near, entrances to all of Mississippi's WMAs. This daily permit is an important tool in the management of these areas. Managers are able to gather harvest and use data for all species and activities on a particular WMA. This supports management recommendations on all aspects of that area. From a wildlife management standpoint, the information you and your fellow WMA users provide on the cards gives wildlife biologists valuable data on which to base management decisions regarding season structure, bag limits, and habitat management.
This past hunting season we began compiling harvest and use data obtained from permit cards on a daily basis and posting these numbers on our website each week. Now, during hunting seasons, you can monitor current harvest and use numbers for each WMA.
The Daily Visitor Use Permit Card also supports your personal safety. If an emergency arises while you're in the woods, or you get lost in the pursuit of your prey, area managers and conservation officers will be better able to quickly determine your location on an area if you have complied with permit card requirements. This may not seem like such a big deal on some of the smaller areas, but if you are on a 60,000 acre area with multiple entrances, it could make a critical difference.
Our staff needs quality and quantity when it comes to Daily Visitor Use Permit Card data. The more information we receive, the better we can manage the resource and the user public. The daily permit cards must be completed properly to provide the most accurate data. Please fill out all of the information requested and print legibly. Each year we gather a large number of cards that are incomplete and unusable.
The correct procedure is simple:
- Extract a Daily Visitor Use Permit Card from a Daily Visitor Permit Station on the WMA.
- Complete the front and back of part A and place it in the box at the Visitor Permit Station.
- Complete the front of part B and place it on the dash of your vehicle in plain sight or carry it on your person (depending on instructions in area regulations) while using the area.
- When finished on the area, complete the back side of part B and place in the box at the Visitor Permit Station.
Here are some more tips to remember when completing Daily Visitor Use Permit cards:
- Do it. Avoid a citation by correctly completing a card each time you use a WMA. Read the instructions at the permit station.
- Make sure part A is placed in a WMA visitor permit box and part B, with the front completed, is visible on the dashboard of your vehicle or is on your person, whichever is applicable.
- Complete a Daily Visitor Use Permit Card each time you visit the WMA. If you leave the WMA and come back the same day, that means you should have completed two Daily Visitor Use Permit Cards.
- Make sure that everyone with you completes a Daily Visitor Use Permit Card.
- If you didn't harvest anything, put a zero in the appropriate box beside the species you hunted.
- If you check "Other" on part A and B, please specify with one or two words what the other activity is.
- Make sure the date is correct. That helps us keep track of when activities are done and, potentially, better distribute visitor use.
- Pass along your knowledge of how to properly complete a Daily Visitor Use Permit Card to others.
With your help, MDWFP wildlife managers will continue to be good stewards of natural resources on WMAs. Introduce someone to hunting and fishing. Maybe we'll bump into you at a visitor permit station.