Families are invited to take a walk on the ‘wild side’ at the Second Annual Wildlife Festival at Mississippi State University’s Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton on Sept. 18.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and will include falconry demonstrations by David Hall of the Wildlife Outreach Foundation and presentations on Mississippi wildlife by naturalist Joe McGee of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences. Live snakes, alligators and turtles are some of the Mississippi wildlife that will be featured at the outdoor event.
"Wildlife experts will give presentations on management of white-tailed deer, wild hogs, birds, reptiles and other Mississippi wildlife," said Adam Rohnke, MSU wildlife Extension associate and festival coordinator.
Children’s activities include an obstacle course, wildlife touch tables, interactive displays, face painting and animal track making.
The event is hosted by the university’s department of wildlife, fisheries, and aquaculture and the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station. Admission to the event is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Local food and craft vendors will be on hand for lunch and sales.
In addition to the bird dog demonstrations and tours of wildlife management areas at the new station, a new event is sure to draw hunters and spectators.
So You Think You Can Hunt is a three-part competition that includes a 25 skeet shotgun event, a 15-station archery event and an outdoors knowledge challenge.
"The knowledge challenge includes wildlife identification, hunting regulations and more," Rohnke said. "Winners will receive prizes for the overall competition as well as individual events."
Registration for the competition will begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon. The shotgun event costs $10 per round and the archery event costs $5 per round. Competitors must be at least 12 years old and bring their own 12-gauge or smaller shotgun (unloaded and cased), shells (7 1/2 or smaller shot), hearing and eye protection. Competitors must also supply their own bow—recurved or compound only—and arrows.
"This will be a fun event for both children and adults; however, the rules will be strictly enforced," Rohnke said. "We will supply the equipment for the skeet shoot."
Those interested in participating in the competition can practice during the morning or after lunch, Rohnke said.
For more information about the workshop and detailed schedule of presentations and activities, visit www.naturalresources.msstate.edu/events/wildlife-festival-newton.html or call (601) 857-2284.