Can you feel it? Hunting season is just around the corner! We’re in the midst of some blessedly mild (and unusual) August weather, with much lower humidity, temperatures and a lovely breeze. I can’t help but think think God is helping us out in the middle of this pandemic, when He knows we’re all spending as much time as possible outdoors. My next thought is, “doves!”, which leads to bonfires (and s’mores), boots, shotguns and shells, and all of the anticipation that comes with the opening of hunting season.
As I watched my husband head out predawn morning after morning from March 15 to May 1st, I kept saying “the only people happy during COVID quarantine right now are the turkey hunters.” During a terrible, tragic time, as we try to look for silver linings in our circumstances, one thing we can be thankful for is our continued ability to enjoy the great outdoors, the ample and abundant space we are blessed with in Mississippi, the extra time this pandemic has allowed many of us to spend with our family and what looks like some extra time this Fall in the hunting field!
We’ve put together some resources below to help you get ready for the season. and Be sure to check out our new Preferred Vendors page on our website for all of your hunting and outdoor needs.
Also, we’re also thrilled to announce the launch of our Backyard Wildlife Certification program. We’ll be sending out details on how to certify your backyard as a wildlife habitat in the coming weeks. What better time to nurture both the health of your garden, your soul and the wildlife in your area than now? As always, thank you for your generous support of our programs and advocacy work as we continue to help steward our state's natural resources. Now, go #getoutside!
Ashlee Ellis Smith, CEO
Mississippi Wildlife Federation
A Reminder to Get Outdoors from Dr. Jeanne Jones
With no end in sight to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are all trying our best to stay sane and healthy. Scientific studies have shown one of the best ways to do this is to get OUTDOORS! Sunshine, fresh air, and the beauty of Mississippi's outdoors can help us in so many ways during these challenging times. "Cutting edge" neuroscience studies are revealing a truth that many us already know outdoor experiences in natural settings are good medicine!
These studies are revealing that experiencing or even viewing wildlife and natural landscapes makes us happier, healthier, & more creative. Regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, just being in beautiful, wild places calms the human brain by reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, anger, and behavioral conditions like ADHD. Even standing beneath big trees of forests can lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. Researchers are reporting that tree aerosols, beauty, and exercise are catalysts for increased relaxation and reduction in anxiety in stressed forest visitors. In urban areas of the U.S., research has indicated that views of a forested green belt versus concrete buildings or parking lots translates into less domestic violence; more rapid healing in injured, hospitalized patients; and enhanced learning abilities and happiness in young people. Biochemical responses in your body during and following wild nature experiences stimulates secretion of "calming" hormones & other chemicals that are similar to those found inexpensive, often habit-forming pharmaceuticals. Now studies are explaining how and why wild nature is the ultimate fix for our health.
Whether you head outdoors to fish, hunt, hike, boat, float, watch wildlife or gaze at beautiful scenery, you are experiencing a type of play. In their book on humans and play, Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan report health benefits of play to our physical and mental health. These benefits include enhanced creativity, greater sense of happiness and well-being, reduction of stress, more excitement for living, and even better productivity. Now you have incredibly good excuses to escape to the meadows, woodlands, and waters you love.
So, rather than staring unproductively at your computer screen and feeling stressed, get outside! Go for a walk. Soak in a beautiful sunset. Pursue your favorite outdoor play. Give it a try. In your hectic life, carve out time to walk trails, hunt woodlands, fish waters, float rivers, and experience natural beauty. Volunteer to give back to wild places and creatures that set you free. Play and daydream while you are out there. Your health and happiness depend on this!
To learn more, check out Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams and Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan.
Dr. Jeanne Jones
News & Resources:
Mississippi Wildlife Federation Helps Achieve a Win for Science over Politics and Personal Interests in the Fight Against Chronic Wasting Disease
Take Part in Mississippi Scholastic Shooting Sports
The Mississippi Scholastic Shooting Sports Program (MSSP) is a team-based, youth development program that includes the shotgun sports of skeet, trap, and sporting clay. Forty-seven schools across Mississippi are currently enrolled in the program for the 2020-2021 school year, representing 25 counties. This year, students are experiencing a potential reduction in activities that could be available to them due to COVID-19. MSSP is considered one of the lowest risk extracurricular activities by both CDC standards and the National Federation of High Schools criteria, making it a safe program to offer students. MSSP begins October 1, but enrollment begins now.
Mississippi Commission of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Announces New Chairman
MDWFP is pleased to announce, Commissioner Robert Taylor, of Louisville, Mississippi, has been elected to serve as Chairman of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for the coming year. Taylor, a graduate of Mississippi State University, has served four years of his five-year term, having served as vice chairman for the past year. Taylor’s term as chairman began on July 1. Chairman Taylor, a lifelong hunter and angler, is passionate about seeing Mississippi’s hunting heritage preserved. Land conservation and habitat development, among others, are some of his key interests for our state’s abundant natural resources.
“I am so honored to be the chairman of the commission this year and to be part of such a great group of people that are serving the outdoor and conservation needs of our state,” said Chairman Taylor.
Filling the vice-chairman seat will be District 4 Commissioner, Mr. Billy Mounger of Jackson, Mississippi.
MDWFP offers full certification online hunter education class to residents 12 and above
Residents age 12 and above will now be able to complete their hunter education requirement online. The internet course, Today’s Hunter in Mississippi, which is video narrated and interactive, will be available on the website. The certificate from the online course can be presented as a digital or paper copy to license vendors to purchase a hunting license.
Hunting season dates, bag limits, and mandatory CWD sampling days
The season dates and bag limits for the 2020-2021 Mississippi hunting seasons are now available. During the 2020-2021 deer season, all deer harvested in the respective counties and dates listed below must be submitted for CWD sampling by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Check station and drop-off locations can be found here.
Nov. 21-22 in any county or portion thereof in the North Mississippi and Issaquena CWD Zones.
Jan. 2-3 in the following counties: all portions of Adams, Amite, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall, and Wilkinson.
Jan. 16-17 in the following counties: all portions of Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Stone, and Wayne.
Alligator season begins for permit holders
Public Water Season: Noon, August 28 - Noon, September 7, 2020
Private Lands Season: Noon, August 28 - 6 a.m., September 21, 2020
Hunting Tip(s) of the Week:
1. Open the choke: Use a modified or improved-cylinder choke tube to provide you with a wider pattern. Many people use too tight of a choke for dove hunting. A tight pattern makes most shots in a dove field more difficult to hit — and it will destroy your bird if you do connect at close range.
2. Upsize your pellets: Most people use 7 ½ or 8 shot for doves, but at close range, there are so many pellets in those shells that you can pulverize your birds. Plus, those tiny pellets quickly lose energy at longer range. Upsize your pellets for doves — say to 4s, 5s or 6s. There are still plenty of the larger pellets for a dense pattern, but the knock-down power is better at longer range.
Recipe of the Week
Wild Dove in Madeira Wine
Courtesy of Chef John Folse
PREP 1 1/2 Hours
18 doves, cleaned
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell pepper
2 tbsps diced garlic
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tbsps flour
6 purple plums, quartered
3 cups Madeira wine
1 quart chicken stock
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Wash birds well inside and out and remove any visible shot. In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat. Dust doves in flour and brown well on all sides in butter. Remove and set aside. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately three to five minutes. Sprinkle in two tablespoons of flour and blend well into vegetable mixture. Add purple plums, Madeira wine and chicken stock and blend well until all are incorporated. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and return birds to the hot sauce. Season lightly using salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook one to one and a half hours. Add a small amount of chicken stock when necessary should mixture become too thick. When cooked, serve three doves per person with a generous amount of sauce.
Cover and continue to cook one to one and a half hours. Add a small amount of chicken stock when necessary should mixture become too thick. When cooked, serve three doves per person with a generous amount of sauce.