Winter is almost here and the transition from the fall is underway

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

By Hunter Cloud

The Daily Leader


JACKSON — A cold front is finally moving in which could be good news for hunters in Mississippi and Louisiana. Winter is almost here and the transition from the fall is underway.

Here are a collection of outdoor briefs for hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy this week.

Record blue cats show age

Remember the two record breaking catfish caught this past year in Mississippi? Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks was able to determine the age of those record cats. Eugene Cronley of Brandon caught a 131 pound blue catfish this past April on the Mississippi River in Natchez to earn the Rod and Reel state record. Biologists determined it was 20 years old.

Christopher Haley of Brookhaven caught a trophy blue catfish using a trotline which weighed 104 pounds on the Mississippi River near Natchez this August. It was determined to be 13 to 15 years old by biologists.

MDWFP said most blue catfish reach the age of nine to 10 years old and previous studies have found catfish which reached 25 years of age.

“Catfish, like many other freshwater fish, possess ear bones called otoliths that can be used to determine their age,” MDWFP said. “A ring, known as an annulus, is formed on the otolith each year and estimating the age of a fish is similar to counting rings within a tree.”

Deer grow new coats

Deer grow new coats twice a year to blend in with their environment. Hunters might notice this change on their trail camera pictures as deer move from a reddish coat to a more tan or grayish coat. MSU’s deer lab said a deer’s coat might look patchy or disheveled during this transition but it is a natural occurrence and not due to disease.

What is not natural is long lasting hair loss. Mange is one example of a disease which causes deer to lose hair over long periods of time. It is caused by Demodectic mites which live and breed in a deer’s hair follicle. MSU’s deer lab said this causes it to become plugged up and swollen. Hair loss is accompanied by red scrapped up skin in areas.

Open wounds caused by scratching of these scabs invites secondary infections. While Mange changes how a deer looks, it does not penetrate the muscle layer so the meat is safe to eat. Deer who have a secondary infection may not be safe to consume.

Youth squirrel hunt applications open

MDWFP announced the Youth Squirrel Hunt applications are open. The hunt is February 4, 2022 at six locations across the state of Mississippi. Cost is free as guns and ammunition are provided. There are spots open for 20 participants at each hunt location and the deadline to apply is January 25, 2023. Kids must be 10 to 15 years of age to participate in the hunt.

Hunt sites will be at Canal Section WMA (Itawamba County/Tupelo area)

Events will begin in the afternoon. the agenda after checking in and completing any necessary paperwork will be:

  • Hunting basics and firearms safety
  • Practice shotgun shooting
  • Squirrel hunt with treeing dogs
  • Field dressing squirrels
  • Supper

For more information contact or 601-432-2199.