Outdoor Briefs: Remember boating safety, lookout for deer diseases

Published 2:09 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2022

By Hunter Cloud

The Daily Leader


BROOKHAVEN — Last weekend was the second stint of the “normal” waterfowl hunting dates in the state. The big ducks, Mallards, Gadwalls and Pintails, have started to arrive south for the winter and the Wildlife Management Areas are teeming with activity. Southwest Mississippi is starting to move to the pre-rut as peak breeding dates get closer and closer so deer movement and observations should begin to pick up.

Here are a collection of outdoor briefs for all of our hunters, fishers, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts out there.

Be on the lookout for signs of EHD

Deer are susceptible to contract epizootic hemorrhagic disease and Blue-Tongue Virus from biting midges in the summer months in Mississippi. It is a commonly occurring virus in the Southeast although the severity and distribution of the disease is highly variable. Many deer recover from this disease and hunters might be able to notice hoof sloughing and regrowth according to the Mississippi State University Deer Lab.

Deer are exposed to these diseases in the Southeast frequently and thus do not have mass mortality events as seen in other states. These diseases are not infectious to humans so the meat is safe to consume. MSU’s Deer Lab warns hunters if they see a secondary infection or open wounds a deer may not be safe to eat.

Hunters are asked to contact the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks if they notice deer have symptoms of fever, swollen tongue, respiratory distress, lack of appetite and weight loss, lameness, ulcers in the mouth, internal bleeding, and loss of stomach lining.

Remember to practice boating safety

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries responded to two fatal boating accidents this weekend. A man was recovered in Vermillion Parish on the Herbert Canal Monday after a he went missing Sunday. The victim was not wearing a personal floatation device nor kill-switch when his body was recovered.

A fatal boating incident in Natchitoches Parish resulted in a death and an uninjured passenger Saturday. The incident was on the Cane River when the vessel struck a submerged tree around 6:30 p.m. ejecting the driver from the boat. People on boats nearby observed the incident and immediately called 911 for help while picking up the young passenger and retrieving the man from the water. The man was wearing a personal floatation device but it did not inflate when he hit the water, his kill switch did cut off the motor when he was ejected.

LDWF reminds people the importance of wearing a personal floatation device and kill switch along with other safe boating practices while they are on the water. Louisiana has had 19 boating fatalities this year.

Deer harvests, CWD samples increase

According to the MDWFP game check, 1,302 deer have been harvested this hunting season. Hunters are reminded to enter deer harvests in Game Check to help provide data used to manage the state’s deer population. Data is visible to biologists on a county by county basis and can help inform management decisions. Game Check is available on the MDWFP website and phone app.

Hunters have submitted 1,848 Chronic Wasting Disease Samples this hunting season in Mississippi. Chronic Wasting Disease was detected in 16 of those samples with one being in Warren County and the rest being found in North Mississippi. Those positives bring the state to 150 CWD positives since first detection in January 2018.

LDWF to work Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge

Deer harvested at the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area will be checked for CWD this weekend. Deer Program Director Johnathan Bordelon said the LDWF will actively work the check stations to collect samples over the weekend to help collect samples.

Madison, Franklin and Tensas Parishes are in the CWD management area after Louisiana’s first positive was confirmed in January 2022 in Tensas Parish.

Put down the gun and grab a pole

Hunters looking for a break from the hunting season might want to explore public fishing options this week. According to the NWS Jackson Office, Southwest Mississippi is forecast to have warm temperatures this week which should make for good fishing weather.

Crappie might be the best species to target right now according to fishing reports from MDWFP’s State Parks. Bass can still be caught this time of year using slow retrieves. It might be good to get out on a lake and take note of visible structures such as tree tops and logs with low water levels and return this spring when the water rises to fish them.