MERIDIAN — Safe boating and free fishing during July 4 holiday weekend
Mississippi's lakes and rivers will be teeming with boaters and anglers this 4th of July holiday weekend, and MDWFP wants the public to have a fun and safe experience on the water. They offer tips for individuals, families and friends:
• Be Alert--According to a U.S. Coast Guard report, the two leading causes of recreational boating accidents in 2013 were due to "operator inattention" and "improper lookout." Scan your surroundings for other vessels and swimmers as you navigate.
• Gain Experience--"Operator inexperience" was cited as the third leading cause of recreational boating accidents. MDWFP offers free Boater Education courses. Boater Education is required by law for any person born after June 30, 1980 to operate a boat.
• Slow Down--"Excessive speed" was the fourth contributing factor in accidents last year. Pay attention to navigational rules and drive cautiously in crowded areas.
• Avoid Alcohol--Alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents. MDWFP Conservation Officers will be patrolling waters to enforce boating laws including boating under the influence.
• Always Wear a Life Jacket-- Seventy-seven percent of fatal boating accident victims in 2013 drowned. Of those victims with reported life jacket use, 84 percent were NOT wearing a life jacket.
Enjoy free fishing statewide on July 4! Anglers will be able to fish without a license on any Mississippi public waters. However, daily permits are still required to fish any state lake or state park lake on July 4.
available Aug. 1
Beginning August 1, MDWFP will accept draw permit applications for deer, early season teal, and rabbit hunts on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Applicants must apply online at www.mdwfp.com/draws and possess a valid Mississippi hunting license. REMINDER:applicants must wait 24 hours after purchasing a license before applying for a draw hunt.
Permitted early season teal hunts will be available on Howard Miller and Muscadine Farms WMAs; permitted rabbit hunts will be available on Nanih Waiya WMA.