Hunting for Hunters

By: Davis Brister
By: Davis Brister

Statistics show hunting and fishing license sales are down in south Mississippi so far this year.

State officials say they are not overly concerned. In fact, they say they expected it.

Hunting and fishing license sales are down 18 percent in south Mississippi.

"The six coastal counties and also our non-resident base in Louisiana is down several thousand," said Jim Walker, spokesman for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Walker said he believes hunters will come back but admits it's hard dealing with the loss in revenue.

"When people don't hunt and fish, everybody suffers," Walker said.
"The general fund suffers, our agency suffers, businesses from the guy who sells the four wheel truck to the mom and pop store that sells sausage and biscuits, everybody suffers when people aren't able to hunt and fish."

"We're not paranoid that Katrina's the end of all existence," said wildlife chief Larry Castle.

Castle says historically larger game populations will bring hunters out in full force. If they do come back, there will be obstacles, particularly with deer.

"There's going to be a few more access problems for hunters that the deer are going to find to their advantage this year," Castle said.
"They're going to have more areas where they could escape hunters. They're going to have more tops down, more trees down. Hunters aren't going to be able to see deer as easily."

Still, Walker and Castle say they'll work tirelessly to get people back. It not only helps their budget, they say hunting and fishing is not only a sport, it's good therapy.

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