Say “No” to MWEOA

Setting the Record Straight

I received a call last week from a good friend who is also a very respected businessman in the Golden Triangle. This friend is a landowner, an avid sportsman and dedicated supporter of Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks and its local Officers. He was inquiring about a phone request he had received from a person representing the Mississippi Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. The solicitor was requesting a monetary donation in exchange for advertisement space in the association’s magazine. The caller also implied to my friend that I supported the association and was in fact a member. I informed my friend that MWEOA is a legitimate organization but I in NO way support the MWEOA or its board of directors and I am NOT a member. In fact, only a handful of Mississippi Conservation Officers actually belong. I would never attempt to advise area businesses on how to spend their advertising dollars but if I support a particular cause, event, organization, foundation, etc… ANY contact for support or donations will be made by me personally and NOT by a hired agent. If you have any questions or comments regarding this issue I may be contacted Monday – Friday at the MDWFP North Region Enforcement Office 662-840-5172 or clarkm@mdwfp.state.ms.us

Recruiting Conservation Officers

Employment Opportunities

Last week marked my 25th year as Conservation Officer with MDWFP. I have enjoyed my opportunity to serve the sportsmen and protect the natural resources of this great State very much. Anyone who has been around me for even a short time can attest to that fact. Recent budget constraints forced MDWFP to suspend the hiring of new Conservation Officers since December 2007 and other circumstances have contributed to high turnover and retirements. Currently the Enforcement Bureau is operating at approximately 75% of their allotted staff in the field. The Mississippi Legislature along with MDWFP Administration are working to fund a cadet class this year to replace at least 15 Officers. So, if you are interested in pursuing a career in the Wildlife Conservation Enforcement field this might be the year you’ve been waiting for. MDWFP is currently recruiting applicants for the entry level Conservation Officer position. Interested persons may visit the State Personnel Board website www.mspb.ms.gov to check out minimum qualifications and job descriptions. The exact occupational code and job title of the entry level Conservation Officer position is 2828 DWFP – LAW ENFORCE TRAINEE (CADET) Applications should also be submitted online using the State Personnel Board website.

Congratulations Private Jason Young

Conservation Officer earns 2011 Mississippi Soldier of the Year award

The Mississippi Army National Guard’s Soldier of the Year Competition is held annually at Camp Shelby to determine the best soldier. The annual competition is the first step to find out which members in the U.S. Army are the best among the best. After 3 days of physical endurance challenges, decision-making drills and warrior-skill exercises Pontotoc County Conservation Officer Private Jason Young earned top honors. He was selected the Mississippi Soldier of the Year for 2011 and will represent Mississippi in the regional competition held at Fort McClelland in April. Private Young was recognized for his accomplishment by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks at their March meeting in Jackson.

Remembering a Friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garry Jackson Memorial Bass Tournament

What a blessing it was to participate in an event last weekend honoring a great outdoorsman and true friend. Garry Jackson spent his life hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors in Mississippi. He also loved talking about and introducing others to his passion. In an effort to continue that tradition his son, John, organized a fishing event to be held each year on Aliceville Lake. The Garry Jackson Memorial Bass Tournament, now in it’s 6th year, allows friends to gather at his camphouse located on Davis Creek for a day of fishing, good food, story-telling and fun. Everyone is encouraged to recruit a youth or two to fish with them. Although it is called a tournament and the days catch is measured and weighed that is not the most important purpose of the day. Friends gathering together in the outdoors, fishing and remembering the life of Garry was what this day was about. Garry impacted many during his life, especially a young game warden I know, by sharing his knowledge, enthusiasm and time.  John, thanks for inviting me to join in the yearly celebration of your Dad’s life. He would certainly be proud of the man you have grown into. I look forward to fishing with Garry again next year.

Fishing Rodeos

MDWFP announces fishing rodeo schedule

 Youth anglers in the Golden Triangle will have several opportunities to attend Mississippi Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks sponsored fishing rodeos this spring, summer and early fall. On Saturday May 7 a youth fishing rodeo will be held at Legion State Park in Louisville and on Saturday May 14 Trace State Park near Pontotoc will host a youth fishing rodeo. The Legion event will begin at 7 am and the Trace event will begin at 8 am. They are open to youth 15 years of age and younger. Many other rodeos are scheduled across the State for 2011. For a complete listing of scheduled rodeos or if you have any questions concerning youth fishing rodeos you may contact Sherry Hazelwood (601) 656-7376, Tom Holman (601) 432-2209 or visit the MDWFP website at www.mdwfp.com

Calling all Turkey Hunters

Spring Gobbler Hunter Survey

Mississippi turkey hunters are encouraged to participate in the Spring Gobbler Hunter Survey (SGHS) offered by the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks turkey program. The Spring Gobbler Hunter Survey was initiated in 1996 as a means of collecting data on turkey activity and population numbers. MDWFP biologists gain valuable information on statewide and regional trends in gobbling activity, hunter effort, harvest rates, age structure, and sex ratios from hunter submitted data.  Participation in this program allows Mississippi turkey hunters the opportunity to directly contribute to the management of turkeys in Mississippi. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the MDWFP Turkey Program’s annual report “Spittin and Drummin”. This publication highlights turkey population trends in each region of the State and includes articles that discuss turkey biology and management. After turkey season you will also receive an individualized report summarizing the data you sent in.  Many hunters use this report to prepare future management plans for their club or property. As an incentive Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Foundation and the Mississippi Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation are sponsoring a shotgun giveaway. Hunters who return a completed SGHS with useable data will be entered into the drawing for a chance to win. I encourage anyone who turkey hunts in Mississippi to participate.  To enroll in the 2011 SGHS please contact Dave Godwin 662-325-5119  dgodwin@cfr.msstate.edu  or register online at www.mdwfp.com/turkey

Mississippi black bear deaths investigated

Reward Offered

Recently the remains of two adult black bears were discovered in Mississippi. One was found dead last week in Hinds County and in February a female previously captured and fitted with a GPS collar by Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Black Bear Program technicians was found dead in Bolivar County. Preliminary investigation by Officers indicates that both bears appear to have been shot. Officers are continuing their investigation to determine the exact cause of death. The Louisiana Black Bear was listed as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1992 and it is against Federal and State law to kill them. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MDWFP are offering a reward of $2,500 for information leading to the conviction of persons responsible for the deaths of these two black bears. Anyone having information regarding the death of these bears should contact U.S. F&W Enforcement Agent Bob Oliveri 601-965-4469 or MDWFP Enforcement Chief Col. Steve Adcock 601-432-2173. Visit the Black Bear Program webpage at www.mdwfp.com to learn more about black bears in Mississippi. If you have a problem with a nuisance black bear in Mississippi or have a black bear question please contact MDWFP Black Bear Program Leader Brad Young at 601-432-2274 or brad.young@mdwfp.state.ms.us

NWTF Banquet reminder

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget NWTF

Area Sportsmen, don’t forget the Oktibbeha Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation banquet scheduled for Tuesday March 1 at the Starkville Shrine Club. The doors open at 6 with the dinner and activities beginning at 7. Contact Committee Chairman Marc Measells 662-341-1541 mmeasells@cfr.msstate.edu to purchase advance tickets or if you have any questions. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event. Please make every effort to attend and support the conservation efforts of NWTF. Monies raised at local banquets fund many projects crucial to wild turkey populations and improved turkey habitat across the State. For more info on NWTF visit www.nwtf.org

Fishing Reports

Online Fishing Reports

If you ask a fisherman where and what the fish are biting would you expect a straight answer? Probably not!!! However, you can visit MDWFP’s Fisheries Bureau website www.mdwfp.com to find up-to-date River, Reservoir, Waterway and State Lake fishing reports posted by Agency biologists answering all your fishing questions about a particular body of water. Weekly fishing updates are collected from a variety of sources and then posted for access by interested anglers. Water levels, water clarity, water temperature, bait type, bait color, bait presentation and species specific fishing tips are offered. So, now you don’t have to rely on our buddies fishing info you have access to current, reliable fishing reports at your fingertips.

Oktibbeha Lake

Oktibbeha County Lake Habitat Improvements

The MSU Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (MSU AFS) recently held a habitat improvement workday at Oktibbeha County Lake. MDWFP fisheries biologists determined that most of Oktibbeha County Lake’s 500-plus acres are considered shallow water and although the lake has numerous stumps very little complex cover was found for small fish to hide in.  MDWFP Fisheries Bureau personnel recently gathered unsold Christmas trees from various businesses in Northeast Mississippi and delivered them to the lake. Members of MSU AFS worked with MDWFP employees to place the trees around the lake to create fish attractors.  This recent workday is just the latest effort by MSU AFS to improve fishing at Oktibbeha County Lake.  The club has had similar workdays over the past two years where more than 1,000 trees have been placed in the lake.  In addition to the habitat improvements being made by club members they have also been assisting MDWFP with fish population sampling at the lake. The sampling project by MSU AFS provides the students valuable experience and gives MDWFP biologists additional data for use in managing the Oktibbeha County Lake. Local anglers report fishing at Oktibbeha County Lake has improved over the past three years and this latest effort will help that trend continue. GPS coordinates of the new fish attractors have been recorded and will be added to the Oktibbeha Lake map soon. A contour/depth map is available for download now at www.mdwfp.com