Mississippians love to hunt, fish, and watch and study their state’s bountiful wildlife.
Wildlife-associated recreation is an enduring part of our heritage. For many us,
it is essential to our quality of life. And it is big business, with annual expenditures
in the state totaling $2.6 billion. An estimated 1.4 million Mississippians and
visitors age 16 and older participated in hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing
in 2011, according to the latest survey
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
To help private landowners enjoy quality hunting experiences, Wildlife Mississippi
offers low-cost seed through its Wildlife Habitat Seed Program. Seed is also provided
to public land managers at a minimal cost. Wildlife Mississippi has also worked
to curtail poaching of deer by providing dozens of decoy deer to the Mississippi
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
We work to ensure quality fishing experiences by helping restore and enhance community
lakes and private waters such as farm ponds. Our wetland mitigation projects along
many river systems throughout the state, along with our other restoration efforts,
help ensure that rivers and streams can support healthy populations of fish and
other aquatic life.
Wildlife viewing, including birding and photography, is growing in popularity. A
recent national report said Mississippians spend more
days watching birds during the year – an average of 155 – than their counterparts
in any other state.
Our work to enhance public lands such as the Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area near
Belzoni is allowing residents and visitors alike to enjoy the habitats that support
Mississippi’s rich diversity of wildlife. Across the state, Wildlife Mississippi
is working to enhance and expand public lands and waters such as national wildlife
refuges and national forests.
About 95 percent of the lands in Mississippi are in private hands, so private land
stewardship is crucial to the long-term health of the state’s wildlife. We are participating
in collective stewardship efforts along the Mississippi River through the Mississippi
River Landowners Alliance, and we are promoting incentives for conservation management
through the federal Farm Bill and through conservation easements.