Revenue for MDWFP up to $3.1 million through September

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023

WAVELAND — Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commissioners met Thursday in a regularly scheduled meeting and heard reports on license sales and law enforcement. Commissioners additionally heard an update on state park projects. 

Jason Thompson, Director of Administrative Services, opened the meeting with a prayer before he gave his license sales report. MDWFP gets about 90 percent of its budget from license sales. 

In Fiscal Year 2024, Thompson reported MDWFP has generated $3,149,000 in revenue since July 1. MDWFP has seen a $21,000 increase compared to last year through September. 

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Thompson reported 2,993 velvet season permits were sold last month, down from 3,786 velvet season permits. A new freshwater fishing guide permit has been issued to 67 guides. Sixty of those are resident fishing guides and seven are from out of state to generate $45,670 in revenue. 

Deer Permits have generated $63,000 in revenue due to a rate increase passed in the summer by MDWFP commissioners. Alligator hunting licenses were up 17 sales this year with 2,316 gator hunting licenses sold in the 2023 season. 

Dove season enforcement

Scottie Jones gave the report for MDWFP’s law enforcement efforts in September which was highlighted by a busy dove season. Game Wardens checked 4,278 hunters on opening weekend of dove season in Mississippi.

Wardens issued 751 citations with hunting doves over bait being the most common violation with 169 citations. Officers wrote 123 citations issued for no license, 120 citations for unlawful possession, 48 citations for unplugged shotguns and 24 citations for trespassing. Jones said it was the season for baited fields as Commission Chairman Bill Cossar held up a picture of a baited dove field for the audience to see. Corn piles were out in plain sight in the picture. 

“You talk about a moron, a complete idiot. It ain’t hard to see. There is more corn than anything else out there,” Cossar said. “He doesn’t think our game wardens can’t see all that?“

Public access updates

MDWFP Commissioners additionally cleaned up a clerical error in the rule book at the request of Wildlife Chief of Staff Russ Walsh. Sunflower Wildlife Management Area had the season dates for primitive weapon season accidentally omitted. Commissioners approved adding back the correct season dates for primitive weapon season as January 18 to January 31.  

Parks Chief of Staff Brian Ferguson said the cabin renovation projects at Percy Quinn and Natchez State Park should be completed by the end of the year. Natchez’s cabins are likely to be finished at the end of this month. He said a few administrative tasks and furniture are the last hurdles before the cabins are finished at Natchez State Park.