CFR News Wildlife & Fisheries Stories


Our People: Namia Stevenson

Our People: Namia Stevenson

Whether in Japan or Turkey or Germany, Namia Stevenson has always felt at home abroad.

Stevenson's parents were in the U.S. Air Force, and she spent much of her childhood outside the U.S. She considers Bitburg, Germany, her hometown because that's where she spent the most time growing up.

The wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture master's student studies frogs and toads in MSU's Conservation Physiology Lab. Her interest was p...


MSU partners with USDA to give 'impressive' grad students summer research experience

MSU partners with USDA to give 'impressive' grad students summer research experience

A cohort of graduate scholars from around the country have converged at Mississippi State for several weeks to gain high-performance computing skills through a summer research experience program.

MSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture created the MSU/USDA Graduate Summer Research Experience Program for scholars to apply high-performance computing resources to a variety of research projects across multiple agricultural disciplines...


Retired MSU professor releases new book on fishing and hunting

Retired MSU professor releases new book on fishing and hunting

A new book by a Mississippi State wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture professor emeritus recollects hunting and fishing in the South.

Donald Jackson's "A Sportsman's Journey," published by the University Press of Mississippi, is his fourth book and explores the connections between man and his environment.

Jackson, who continues teaching Principles of Fisheries Management in the College of Forest Resources, said he hopes rea...


Tagged eagle reaches Maine

Tagged eagle reaches Maine

For the last three years, Mississippi Power, Mississippi State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered on a banding project to help track eaglets that hatch at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge in Gautier.

Back in early March, the project entered a new phase when a transmitter with GPS tracking was placed on an eagle. This allowed researchers to track the birds wherever they fly, teaching invaluable lesso...


Demarais named MSU's 2022 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner

Demarais named MSU's 2022 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner

Mississippi State Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management Steve Demarais is being honored as the university's 2022 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award recipient.

Demarais, the Taylor Chair in Applied Big Game Research and Instruction in MSU's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, also is co-director of the MSU Deer Ecology and Management Laboratory. He is one of 14 faculty members from SEC universities...


Inspiring Conservation from IG to IRL

Inspiring Conservation from IG to IRL

For Morgan Alexander and Makayla Brister, recent CFR alumni and proud creators of Instagram's "Culture and Conservation" account, the conversation about conservation is one that infiltrates their whole lives. However, the aim of "Culture and Conservation" is to create an all-inclusive space that engages its followers with the natural world and demonstrates how we're all impacted by conservation.

Alexander and Brister, two Black women wh...


MSU Deer Lab experts explain differences in deer diseases

MSU Deer Lab experts explain differences in deer diseases

Whether it's nutrition, genetics, habitat or population health—or even disease—scientists in Mississippi State University's Deer Lab not only research best management practices, but also work to make informed recommendations to hunters.

CWD, or chronic wasting disease, was first detected in the state in February 2018. Mississippi now has two CWD management zones across 14 of Mississippi's 82 counties. In early fall of thi...


MSU scientist's work in Amazon River Basin featured at UN Climate Change Conference

MSU scientist's work in Amazon River Basin featured at UN Climate Change Conference

A Mississippi State researcher is part of a historic scientific consortium presenting its findings on the Amazon River Basin at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Assistant Professor Sandra B. Correa in the College of Forest Resources' Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is part of the Science Panel for the Amazon, or SPA, a group of over 200 prominent scientists wh...


Our People: Steve Demarais

Our People: Steve Demarais

Steve Demarais, MSU Deer Lab co-director and the Taylor Chair in Applied Big Game Research and Instruction, has been fascinated with white-tailed deer since high school.

"I've been an enthusiastic deer hunter since my teens and harvested my first deer while in college," he said.

The Attleboro, Massachusetts, native developed a love of wildlife at a young age.

"I grew up enjoying hunting and fishing and also enjoyed bi...


Patriot Award presented to MSU's Kouba, Dacus

Patriot Award presented to MSU's Kouba, Dacus

Two Mississippi State University faculty are being honored for support of an MSU guardsman in ceremonies on Veteran's Day.

Andy Kouba, professor and head of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Chad Dacus, Extension instructor and director of the Wildlife Services National Training Academy, both were recognized with the Patriot Award, a U.S. Department of Defense program that recognizes supervisors for their sup...


Redefining Tradition

Redefining Tradition

While Amy Blaylock is the first woman to serve as the Mississippi Wildlife Bureau director for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP), it's a role familiar to someone who practically grew up in the agency.

"I've grown up with the wildlife bureau and the people within it," Blaylock said. "My dad, Larry Castle, was a district biologist, deer program coordinator, wildlife bureau director, and retired as dire...


MSU deer study finds some are travelers, others homebodies

MSU deer study finds some are travelers, others homebodies

As Mississippi hunters wonder where all the bucks have gone, Mississippi State University Deer Lab scientists are looking for answers.

White-tailed deer hunting is big business in the Magnolia State, annually contributing almost $1 billion to the Mississippi economy. This time-honored tradition is why hunters and researchers keep a watchful eye out for the elusive, antlered mammal. In recent years, a noticeable number of bucks have s...


A Bird on the Water is Worth Two to the Farmer

A Bird on the Water is Worth Two to the Farmer

From the arid fields of New Mexico to the winter-flooded rice fields of the Mississippi Delta, Alexandra Firth has developed a passion at the intersection of agriculture and soil conservation.

After graduating with a degree in ecology from Humboldt State in Northern California, the Phoenix native's career as a biological technician took her all over the U.S. and briefly to Europe. It was while working on an organic farm in New Mexico, h...


Our People: Thomas Rovery

Our People: Thomas Rovery

Rising Mississippi State wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture junior and Memphis, Tennessee, native Thomas Rovery has always had a curiosity for reptiles, with a particular interest in snakes.

"As a kid, I was always outside, pointing out camouflaged snakes, trying to identify lizards in the grass or showing off a turtle I'd found," Rovery said.

In high school, he discovered a way to satisfy his curiosity while also gaining ...


MSU deer biologist wins prestigious applied research award

MSU deer biologist wins prestigious applied research award

A Mississippi State professor in the College of Forest Resources is being recognized with a prestigious applied research award by the nation's premier wildlife science organization.

Professor Steve Demarais is the recipient of the Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research from The Wildlife Society. He will be honored at the group's annual conference held virtually November 1-5.

This Caesar Kleberg Wil...


Don't Wing the Future

Don't Wing the Future

Power companies across the nation spend millions of dollars each year repairing and replacing utility poles damaged by woodpeckers. Researchers in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center are putting their heads together to develop a predictive map of where such damages will likely occur, giving power companies a proactive and cheaper way to head off damage before the pecking even begins.

The Tennessee Valley Authority keeps the lights o...


MSU scientist returns to community-driven vulture study, relying on 'citizen scientists'

MSU scientist returns to community-driven vulture study, relying on 'citizen scientists'

A Mississippi State-led study using "citizen science" is entering its second year of data collection that ultimately could yield solutions to vulture-aircraft collisions.

MSU College of Forest Resources Associate Professor Scott Rush said he expects to deliver scientific-based recommendations from the analysis to mitigate this human-wildlife conflict, a frequent challenge for military pilots who encounter the birds during take-off, l...


Covering the Basics: Understanding the Ideal Habitat for Wild Game

Covering the Basics: Understanding the Ideal Habitat for Wild Game

There is a common misconception in the hunting world that plentiful food supply equals frequent visits by white-tailed deer or wild turkey to a specific habitat. Hunters plant food plots, place spin feeders, yet don't see the wildlife activity for which they had planned. What is missing from the equation is an equally important factor…cover.

Much like an animal needs food and water, they also need adequate shelter. That is why res...


MSU researchers build madtom catfish hotels for business of conserving imperiled species

MSU researchers build madtom catfish hotels for business of conserving imperiled species

Mississippi State researchers are discovering that opening hotels—fish hotels—for 'checking in' on imperiled, hard-to-find aquatic species is a valuable business.

Built specifically for frecklebelly madtom catfish, MSU fisheries biologists are seeing that the new housing aids them in studying the freshwater species for more effective conservation strategies.

Averaging under four inches in length and native to ri...


MSU's targeted conservation tool aims to improve profitability for farmers

MSU's targeted conservation tool aims to improve profitability for farmers

Two Mississippi State researchers and pioneers in the growing field of economically targeted conservation are showing farmers that making money off their land can be feasible even when the land isn't producing.

Wes Burger and Mark McConnell, MSU researchers in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, are launching the MSU Precision Conservation Tool, a decision-making software that identifies precise locations where conservation prac...


Scientists Search for Peak 'Gobble' Season

Scientists Search for Peak 'Gobble' Season

Each spring, turkey hunters cover themselves from head to toe in camouflage, head into the woods to find the perfect spot, take out a small wooden box and begin moving the top of the box to make a screeching sound which mimics a female. Their objective is to engage the elusive male turkey. Spring turkey hunting is a mix of tradition, culture, and economics. It occurs when turkeys are at the height of courtship. Males gobble and strut in full-f...


Wild at heart

Wild at heart

Rick Dillard's love of the outdoors serves him well as fish and wildlife program manager for the U.S. Forest Service. His passion has been a guiding force in his professional and personal life. The Potts Camp, Mississippi native and CFR alumnus comes from a long line of hunters, fishermen, and trappers.

"I fished with my grandmother before I could even carry a fishing pole. My most vivid memory, however, happened later. I was nine the fi...


Dr. L. E.

Dr. L. E. "Steve" Miranda Named SEAFWA 2020 C. W. Watson Award Winner

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) bestowed the Clarence W. Watson Award upon Dr. Leandro Esteban "Steve" Miranda during its 74th annual meeting, held virtually Oct. 26-28.

Miranda has been a prominent freshwater fisheries biologist for the USGS Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit since 1986.The award is the highest honor given by the Association and is presented in conjunction wit...


Scientists at work: Sloshing through marshes to see how birds survive hurricanes

Scientists at work: Sloshing through marshes to see how birds survive hurricanes

As Huricane Zeta menaces the Gulf Coast, residents know the drill: Board up windows, clear storm drains, gas up the car and stock up on water, batteries and canned goods.

But how does wildlife ride out a hurricane? Animals that live along coastlines have evolved to deal with a world where conditions can change radically. This year, however, the places they inhabit have borne the brunt of 10 named storms, some just a few weeks apart.

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USFWS director to MSU students: Collective efforts can 'tackle complex wildlife, conservation management issues'

USFWS director to MSU students: Collective efforts can 'tackle complex wildlife, conservation management issues'

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith smiles when she reflects on childhood summers spent at her grandfather's farm in Columbus. As one of the nation's leading natural resource professionals, Skipwith recently shared these memories and other insights with students in Mississippi State's College of Forest Resources as part of a special virtual seminar.

"Conservation and Mississippi are close to my heart. One of the ...


A New Face in Bird Research

A New Face in Bird Research

Murry Burgess was alone, reaching her hand into a swallow's nest from the top of a 16-foot ladder in a barn in rural North Carolina, when she realized something didn't seem right. Rather than the familiar texture of small chicks, she felt something smooth, slick and scaly.

"There is a huge black rat snake just sitting in the nest, chilling, after eating my research," Burgess said.

Eastern rat snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) a...


Where Have All the Bucks Gone?

Where Have All the Bucks Gone?

It's finally here and it feels like you've waited all year for this. The trail cams have been set out for months. You've been watching. You think you know who's who. There's one in particular. A ten-point buck you've seen on the camera a half a dozen times at least. It's a perfect predawn Saturday with a calm breeze. You head to the blind. You wait and wait and wonder where has the buck gone?

This scenario happens more often than many hu...


Our People: Sean Moskal

Our People: Sean Moskal

Senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major Sean Moskal has three main passions which have all been cultivated by family: hockey, magic and the great outdoors.

A native of Germantown, Tennessee, he grew up playing hockey and attended Christian Brothers High School, where he was the starting goalie on the Frozen Wave ice hockey team that his uncle founded years earlier. His whole family loves the sport, and Moskal even has had th...


The Wildlife Society selects MSU College of Forest Resources faculty member as fellow

The Wildlife Society selects MSU College of Forest Resources faculty member as fellow

A Mississippi State College of Forest Resources faculty member is acquiring the prestigious title of fellow from The Wildlife Society.

Leslie Burger, assistant extension professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, will be honored at the organization's annual conference to held virtually Sept. 28-Oct. 2. As one of the highest awards bestowed by TWS, the honor recognizes Burger for her remarkable service to the wild...


MSU's Shamaskin selected for national marine policy fellowship

MSU's Shamaskin selected for national marine policy fellowship

Andrew Shamaskin, a Ph.D. candidate studying land conservation at Mississippi State University, has been selected as a finalist for the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. A panel of professionals selected him to serve as one of 74 fellows through a highly competitive process.

He will spend one year in Washington, D.C., gaining experience with the policy-making process in agencies and committees that deal with marine a...


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