Duck numbers low in Louisiana, MDWFP awarded grants for habitat improvements

Published 3:41 pm Thursday, December 1, 2022

JACKSON — Hunting season is in full swing with modern gun and waterfowl seasons finally open in the Miss-Lou. Here is a collection of outdoors briefs for all of the hunting, fishing and wildlife enthusiasts. 

Biologist on the lookout for sick rabbits

Mississippi detected its first outbreak of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 in Oct. 2021 with domesticated rabbits in Madison County. Since then, small game biologist Rick Hamrick said the state has yet to detect any more RHDV2 cases in the state. He said the MDWFP will continue to be on the lookout for the disease in both domesticated and wild rabbits. 

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Louisiana aerial survey of waterfowl lowest in history

According to an aerial survey conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 763,000 dabbler ducks were in Louisiana survey zones with 38,000 seen on Catahoula Lake and 39,000 diver ducks were spotted in the state. There were also 320,000 coots seen in the state with 4,000 on Catahoula Lake.  The number of ducks seen on Catahoula Lake is the lowest since the survey began in 1968 and is 38 percent lower than the 2021 estimate of 1.29 million. However, Scaup, Green Winged and Blue Winged teal ducks were higher than the species specific averages. 

State department awarded grant

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks was awarded $4.3 million in grant funding for a project to improve 90,000 acres of fire dependent habitat. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded funds to 55 of 527 project proposals and the MDWFP was one of the winners. According to the project description, “A primary focus will be working with conservation partners to conduct prescribed burning on public and private lands to benefit wildlife and forest health. Further, funds will be used for outreach and training for private landowners and natural resource professionals.” 

Report deer harvests through Game Check

Hunters who harvest a deer in Mississippi are asked to report their harvest through Game Check on the MDWFP’s website or the MDWFP phone app. Game Check allows deer biologists to see county by county data to help inform deer management decisions. According to MDWFP’s game check, 1,121 deer harvests have been reported this year which is less than the number of Chronic Wasting Disease samples of 1,379 this season.