Big Win for Mississippi’s Public Land Waterfowl Hunters

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator

Highlights

  • On November 18, the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (Commission), proposed an amendment to the Malmaison Wildlife Management Area (WMA) regulations that would have established a 100-yard “No Hunting Zone” from a private property line on the westernmost portion of the McIntrye Scatters, a popular waterfowl hunting destination for public land hunters. 
  • The rule proposal was not on the meeting agenda prior to the meeting, yet the Commission took up the proposal and voted 3-2 to move forward with it. 
  • After outcry from waterfowl hunters during the public comment period, the Commission voted down the measure at their December 16 meeting resulting in a huge win for Mississippi’s sportsmen and women.

Why it Matters: The passage of this proposed regulation would have set a dangerous precedent as it could have paved the way for private landowners, who own property adjacent to Wildlife Management Areas, to pursue access restrictions on public lands in the name of “safety.”

Safety was cited as the reason for the proposed regulation change. The private landowner voiced concerns that public land waterfowl hunters were hunting so close to the property line that it may endanger individuals who are on the private property. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) staff advocated against the proposed regulation, citing the fact that 48 acres of public land would become inaccessible to the public on an issue where no safety concerns have been cited prior to the November Commission meeting.

With increasing suburbanization across the Southeastern United States, public access continues to be a challenge for many sportsmen and women. Unnecessarily limiting public access to publicly owned lands and waters stymies recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts and threatens sporting traditions. The McIntyre Scatters issue is similar to that of what Florida public land waterfowl hunters are experiencing with the Restricted Hunting Areas proposal.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the Commission for listening to the voices of sportsmen and women across the Magnolia State who advocated for the continuation of their sporting traditions on the Malmaison WMA by standing up for public access.
 

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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