Meridian Star

September 6, 2013

Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation announces first Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     LELAND, MS --The Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the Leland Chamber of Commerce have announced the first inductees into the Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will be located in the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum scheduled to open in Leland in 2016.

    The six inductees, announced by the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation Director Billy Johnson include Holt Collier, Fannye Cook, Billy Joe Cross, Paul Elias, Preston Pittman, and Eddie Slater.

According to Johnson, the Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame and Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum are both long overdue. “Mississippi outdoorsmen and women have contributed so much to enhance one of our state’s best known assets; hunting and fishing.

    The Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum will contain more than 3,000 vintage photos, firearms, fishing rods, and pieces of outdoor equipment. A special area in the museum will feature the state's duck and turkey call makers.

    Holt Collier is one of the most famous hunters in the history of our country. He was a master horseman and hunting dog trainer as well. Collier gained national attention after guiding President Theodore Roosevelt on a successful black bear hunt. In his long hunting career, he and the hunters he guided took over 3,000 bears. He had eight articles written about him in national publications, one written by President Roosevelt himself. Collier also has a national wildlife refuge near Darlove, MS named in his honor.

    Billy Joe Cross, from Meridian, is former Executive Director of the Mississippi. Game and Fish Commission. He is also past president of the Southeast Executive Wildlife Directors Association and past President of the Mississippi Flyways Council which encompasses 14 states and three Canadian provinces. Cross is former Southeast Director of Ducks Unlimited. He is a nationally known wild game chef, having produced 15 cooking shows for national TV. Cross has authored 17 wild game cookbooks, and his Billy Joe Cross Wild Game Dinners raised over a million dollars for schools’ athletic departments and various organizations.

    For outdoor enthusiasts who wish to donate items to the museum, contact Billy Johnson at 662-347-4223.