SuperTalk Outdoors talk show host not backing down

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

JACKSON — SuperTalk Outdoors host Ricky Mathews is not backing down after he claimed the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks administrators forced the Foundation for Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to pull funding for the show. He pledged to start a movement for conservation of Mississippi’s greatest resource, the outdoors. 

“I want to make it clear that SuperTalk has remained supportive of the show and has not once wavered in its commitment to preserving open discussions on important issues,” Mathews said in a statement on his show.  “Trust in our public institutions such as the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commission is crucial for successful wildlife and conservation management in Mississippi.” 

Mathews said when he became the host of the radio show he made it clear the show needed to have a separation from the MDWFP. His goal was to highlight and celebrate the outdoors in Mississippi and the employees of the department who work to conserve and enhance the natural resource. 

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At the same time, he said he would be vocal in informing listeners about what is happening in Washington D.C. and Jackson on issues which could impact outdoorsmen. His watchdog mentality meant at times he had to be critical of the commission when they went against scientific principles in managing chronic wasting disease, tried to legalize the trade of live deer and almost didn’t approve funding for duck stamp projects. 

Mathews said by talking about the deer trade issue on the show they were able to slow down the process. Legislation is currently pending to close the legal loophole created by an attorney general’s opinion. 

MDWFP Commissioner Leonard Bentz made a motion in the January commission meeting to sever or suspend the department’s relationship with the Foundation. At the time, it was not explicitly stated why he wanted to suspend or sever the relationship. 

Mathews said Monday he would continue to highlight the important issues and support the Foundation any way he could with his show. 

“It is our collective responsibility to protect and cherish public trust, ensuring that our wildlife legacy is built on integrity, fairness, good science and the common good,” Mathews said in a statement on his show. “SuperTalk Outdoors will continue to fulfill its role coveting our independent voice. We are grateful for the support from conservation organizations and the people of Mississippi who care deeply about our state’s wildlife and conservation efforts.” 

Boone and Crockett Club President James L. Cummins joined Matthews in a discussion about the North American Conservation Model and why it is important to keep natural resources in the public trust. Cummins is a Greenville native and additionally serves as the executive director of Wildlife Mississippi and on a few conservation committees in Washington D.C. 

Mathews promised he would have Mississippi house representative Timmy Ladner on next week to talk about his bill to expand the commission and require qualifications. It appears to be the start of a new era for the show. 

“I have been deeply honored to be associated with the dedicated volunteer leadership of the Foundation. They are doing vital fundraising to support conservation efforts in our state,” Mathews said on his show. “We will continue to support their efforts however and wherever we can. Now, let’s refocus our attention on the important work of conservation in Mississippi, as there is much to be done. We need to start a movement.”

Check back on more updates from the Mississippi 2024 Legislative session, work being done by the MDWFP, action by the MDWFP commission, the outdoors and conservation issues.