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Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day: State agency programs support hunting and fishing in MS

Deer (Image courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks)

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks (MDWFP), the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) administer many programs that protect the state’s natural resources and improve opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 25th emphasizes the crucial conservation work the state does that benefits the health of the environment, enhances outdoor opportunities, and boosts the state’s economy.

“In 2020, Mississippians ventured into the great outdoors in record numbers, and we want to encourage everyone to continue to get outside and enjoy our state’s abundant resources again this year,” said MDWFP Executive Director, Dr. Sam Polles. “It is our mission at MDWFP to conserve and enhance Mississippi’s wildlife, fisheries, and parks, provide quality outdoor recreation to our residents and those traveling to our state, and engage the public in natural resource conservation.”

 MDWFP manages:

  • 52 Wildlife Management Areas offering hunting, birdwatching, youth outreach programs, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • 20 State Fishing Lakes and 20 State Parks providing ample fishing and boating access, including multiple locations with bank and pier fishing.
  • 3 Premier Shooting Facilities located in north, central, and south Mississippi offering range options for Sporting Clays, Skeet/Trap, Pistol, Rifle, and Archery.

“With the mission of enhancing, protecting and conserving Mississippi’s marine interests, MDMR recognizes the importance of National Hunting and Fishing Day alongside our fellow agencies, MDEQ and MDWFP,” said MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins. “Our state abounds with opportunities for hunters and fishermen alike, and we hope they enjoy all our great state has to offer.”

Saltwater fishing in the State of Mississippi offers a wide variety of finfish species available to fishermen during various seasons throughout the year. In Mississippi, the most popular species include Speckled Trout, Red Drum, Flounder, Red Snapper and White Trout. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to some of the nation’s most productive shellfish and finfish waters.

Here are more ways MDMR works to help fishermen who enjoy our coastal waters:

  • The MDMR Artificial Reef Program is responsible for artificial reef development in Mississippi’s marine waters and adjacent federal waters. Since the establishment of the program, 67 inshore reefs, 15 offshore reefs and eight rigs to reef sites have been created to enhance and support important marine species.
  • The Tidelands Trust Fund Program, which is administered by the MDMR, is dedicated toward conservation, reclamation and preservation of Mississippi tidelands and the increase of public access areas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These projects include piers, boardwalks and boat ramps along the three coastal counties for the public’s use.
  • Operations at the Lyman aquaculture facility are critical to the sustainability of marine fisheries, as well as important to Mississippi’s economy. The hatchery helps recreational fisheries by restoring and enhancing fish populations through the release of cultured organisms to enhance, restore and conserve these populations. Aquaculture for stock enhancement can provide a means to rebuild spawning stock biomass for species recovery.

“National Hunting and Fishing Day encourages engagement in outdoor sports, and the work MDEQ does on a daily basis contributes to making an outdoors experience enjoyable and all that it can be. As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, I am grateful for Mississippi’s natural beauty and proud of the work our agency does to ensure our resources are continually improved now and for future generations,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.

Examples of MDEQ’s programs that benefit the state include:

  • Multiple Divisions within MDEQ’s Office of Pollution Control work to conserve and enhance the state’s airland, and water.  Improving these natural resources has a profound effect upon the health and welfare of citizens, wildlife, fish, and aquatic life as well as domestic, agricultural, industrial, and recreational activities.
  • The Office of Land and Water Resources is charged with conserving, managing, and protecting the water resources of the state specifically regulating water availability and use.  The office’s responsibilities include reports, maps, and modeling for the state’s streams and aquifers.
  • MDEQ’sOffice of Restoration is responsible for dozens of restoration projects resulting from the BP oil spill to restore and enhance the Gulf Coast’s natural resources.  Examples include projects focused on water quality and conservation of vital tracts of valuable habitat.

Since 1972, National Hunting & Fishing Day has become the largest, most effective grassroots movement ever undertaken to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September, the federally-recognized holiday brings together sportsmen and women from across America to celebrate the rich tradition of hunting, sport shooting and fishing through organized local, state and national events aimed at introducing new audiences to the outdoors.

Sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Wonders of Wildlife, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, Yamaha, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Hook & Barrel magazine.

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