Management of permanent openings is an important component of managing habitat for wildlife. These openings may be planted for cool season or warm season food plots or simply maintained in early successional vegetation. The intensity in which the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks manages wildlife openings on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) is impacted by factors such as land ownership and the wildlife species of management emphasis. Some WMAs are owned by the MDWFP. Many are managed under memoranda of understanding with the U.S. Forest Service or private corporations. Others are operated through long-term license agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The planting of cool season wildlife openings on WMAs owned by the U.S. Forest Service was affected this year by compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Section 106 requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment. Due to this process not being completed in time, cool season wildlife openings may not have been planted on some WMAs owned by the U.S. Forest Service. WMAs on which few or no cool season wildlife openings were planted include Caston Creek, Little Biloxi, Red Creek, Sandy Creek, and Sunflower WMAs. Even though some wildlife openings were not planted, there are over 650,000 WMA acres statewide for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy.
For more information regarding Wildlife Management Areas in Mississippi, go to www.mdwfp.com/wma or call 601-432-2199.