Wildlife Commission future rests in hands of Governor

Published 3:05 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

JACKSON — Former Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commissioner Leonard Bentz was not confirmed by the senate this legislative session and thus is no longer on the MDWFP commission. His name and picture have been removed from the MDWFP commission page online. 

Executive Director Lynn Posey told The Daily Leader earlier this week that Gov. Tate Reeves made the appointment of Bentz and all questions would need to go to him. Reeves has not responded to requests for comment this week. What happens next is in his hands. 

The Daily Leader specifically asked Reeves if he would appoint a new commissioner to fill Bentz’s vacancy, who he would appoint and if he had any comment on what would happen next. None of those questions have been answered this week. 

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Sportsmen across Mississippi should be keeping a close eye on what happens next. Commissioners are faced with difficult decisions regarding the management of Chronic Wasting Disease, supplemental feeding and wild turkey seasons at this time. 

Commission Chairman Bill Cossar’s term is set to expire June 30, 2024 meaning Reeves will be appointing two commissioner, one of who could be a reappointment of Cossar.  His choices could have an impact on votes over important issues in the outdoors. The future rests in his hands and the governor is keeping his cards close to his chest. 

Sen. Neil Whaley, chairman of the Senate Wildlife Committee, has not responded to requests for comment on the confirmation process nor why the strongly supported turkey stamp bill died in conference. House Wildlife Committee Chairman Bill Kinkade said politics killed the bill at the finish line.