The flood on the Mississippi River came during a critical time for wildlife breeding. Now some animal populations might be affected.


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After the Record Flood Hunters Fear Losing Their Season

By Daniel Cherry | Published 05 Aug 2011 05:38pm | comments

Experts are finally getting a chance to see the full impact the Mississippi River flood has had on wildlife. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how even though the floodwaters are gone, wildlife is still recovering.

As the Mississippi River rose to record levels Ellen Hammett of Greenville watched her 6000 acre hunting club go completely under water. Now she says everyone at the camp is worried how this hunting season will turn out.

"From the fisherman, to the turkey hunters, to the deer, everything is completely changed. Once a place like that goes underwater everything is different. All the animals change. We probably have new animals coming in. I know that we have a completely new fish deposit. We don't know if the turkeys will be back."

Turkeys were maybe the most affected by the flood. Since the birds nest on the ground, their spring hatch was completely wiped out in some areas. The flood also relocated some unwanted nuisance animals. Jerry Burton is from Bentonia. He says before the flood there weren't any feral pigs. Now he says they're threatening to invade his property.

"Across the river, the Yazoo River, there is quite a few of them, and they're destroying the deer hunting over there. I hope they don't come into my area because I'm going to hunt them year round until I think I got them all."

Wildlife conservation officers are still trying to assess the full impact. Chris McDonald is a wildlife biologist. He says he's trying to explain that the season won't be ruined.

"They're protective of what they're trying to manage, and they do have that concern. But the hunters shouldn't worry. Especially from a long-tern standpoint, we may have a little drop in numbers this year from a population standpoint, but the next couple of years, if we don't have another flood, we'll be right back to where we started from."

McDonald says the animals living on the river are experienced at finding a way to survive through floods.




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