Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Headed Down a Slippery Slope?
August 28, 2012 2 Comments
The State of Mississippi acquired land for a new Wildlife Management Area (WMA) this year in Claiborne County just outside of Port Gibson. This piece of property had long been managed by the previous owner, Ray John Forrest, and is a great opportunity for public land deer hunting. Hunting forums like the Mississippi Bull Nettler and Mississippi Outdoor Forums are buzzing with interest. To say that sportsmen are excited to see it open is an understatement. However, that excitement is being met with skepticism.
Like many Mississippi hunters, I have followed this situation since the initial rumor of the land sale. My first question to the MDWF&P was answered quickly on twitter.
Q. When will the draws for Canemount be open?”
A. The regs should be finalized soon. When they are we will post here 1st.
Simple enough. A couple of days later, I found the public notice on the website for the MDWFP. It looked as if someone had cut and pasted Canemount into the public notice for one of the other WMAs. That didn’t cause much concern. Later, the public notice was removed from their website for some reason.
I called to inquire about the draw and was informed that details would be provided as soon as the public notice was finalized. This was odd because they had already posted the public notice on their website. About the same time this was going on, rumors started circulating that there would be a fee in addition to the statewide hunting license, wildlife management area permit and lottery draw fee.
A few days later, a public notice was again posted on the MDWFP website. The public notice mentions the WMA permit that is required to use any of the WMAs, but doesn’t mention any additional permit. For a moment, I thought that the rumors of an additional permit ($$$) to hunt this piece of public land were incorrect. The public notice was then followed up with a press release.
The press release states in part:
Hunters may apply for hunts at http://www.mdwfp.com/draws from August 31 – September 10; there will be a $5 fee to apply. Individuals randomly selected to hunt will be required to purchase an additional permit. Hunters that do not complete full payment by September 19 will forfeit their reservation to hunt and an additional drawing will be held. The public notice for the 2012-13 hunting regulations on Canemount WMA can be downloaded from http://www.mdwfp.com.
You can read the entire press release and public notice, but you will not find an amount stated for the “additional permit.” Yesterday evening, the matter was discussed on Paul Ott’s Listen to the Eagle show, but still no answers were provided by anyone at the MDWFP.
Why the secrecy? On this issue, the MDWP is about as transparent as the water remaining in the Mississippi River. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am one of the folks that consistently bash the MDWFP, please understand that I am not. On most issues, the MDWFP does a great job with limited resources and I have all the respect in the world for the men and women that enforce our conservation laws. However, running what amounts to a commercial hunting operation isn’t what the MDWFP should be about. Like all government agencies, the actions of the MDWFP should be transparent so that taxpayers know what is going on and how our tax money is allocated. By the way, the word in the woods is that the additional permit will cost $300 for a three day hunt on public land.