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Coopwood: The MDWF&P’s Comes to Town

Recently, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks came to Cleveland for its monthly board meeting. As I have mentioned in a previous column, Governor Bryant appointed me to this board back in April.

I’m known as a “Commissioner” and there are five Commissioners on the board. We make the laws and regulate all of the outdoor rules of the state in regard to hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

The current Commissioners are: Charles Rigdon from Columbus, Billy Deviney from Jackson, Clay Wagner from the coast, Bill Cossar from Charleston, and me. All of us are over districts and my district is the old 2nd Congressional District in the Delta which runs from the Tennessee state line to the hills, to below Vicksburg.

My term is five years and already I have learned a lot about hunting in general, alligator hunting which is a growing activity in the state, salt water fishing, and our state’s public park systems. I’m honored to serve on this board and delighted to be associated with the many wonderful employees of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Normally, our monthly meetings take place in Jackson at the headquarters of the MDWF&Ps. However, this month we decided to have it in the Delta in my town. The December meeting took place at the Delta State Alumni House. All meetings are open to the public and every meeting has an agenda that we follow.

December’s meeting opened with DSU Provost, Dr. Charles McAdams welcoming us to the the campus. Charles Rigdon, who is serving as this year’s chairman, called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. whereby we approved the minutes from the previous meeting. Then we were off and running with the day’s agenda, whereby we heard comments from the public, went over hunting and fishing license sales, and then received an overview concerning the condition of our public parks system from Park’s Director, Jennifer Head.

Next, Larry Pugh, Director of Fisheries gave us a report followed by a report from Colonel Steve Adcock, our Chief of Law Enforcement director. Col. Adcock’s report is never dull and it always includes various citation reports. At almost every meeting, a few hunters come before us asking the Commissioners to reinstate their hunting licenses because they have lost it due to some pretty significant hunting or fishing violation.

Word to the wise … watch out for the game limits and make sure you obey these. And never, ever, spotlight deer because the fine goes into the thousands of dollars and sometimes the loss of your vehicle. In addition to these penalties for spotlighting, you’ll also have to attend a Hunter Education Program, then after that appear in person before the Commission and tell us why we should allow you to hunt again in Mississippi. Maybe we’ll reinstate your license, maybe not. Extreme hunting violations are serious business and that is how the Commission approaches it.

Dr. Sam Polles is the longtime Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and he knows the outdoors like no one else. By the way, Sam grew up in the Delta in Clarksdale and he is a graduate of Delta State.

These monthly meetings are informative and if you participate in Mississippi’s great outdoors and have never attended one of these meetings, I encourage you to do so. Visit www.mdwfp.state.ms.us for the time and location of these monthly meetings.

Thanks to everyone at Delta State for making our December meeting so successful.

scott coopwood

Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current.

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