Magnolia State sportsmen enjoy more than 2 million acres of public land in 42 wildlife management areas, nine national wildlife refuges and six national forests. The national forests encompass nearly 1.2 million acres. Many public properties offer excellent squirrel hunting. Numerous rivers traverse the state, creating superb places to hunt squirrels by boat.

"Delta National Forest is one of the best places in Mississippi to hunt squirrels," Hamrick said. "Some areas in the delta have a lot of streams and waterways where someone could hunt from a small boat.

"Sunflower WMA is a big tract of land with lots of mature hardwoods. The Pascagoula River is another good area to hunt squirrels from a boat; it has a lot of bottomland hardwoods and waterways. Other good areas for this type of hunting include Divide Section and Canal Section WMAs."

Delta National Forest and its associated Sunflower WMA cover about 60,000 acres of Sharkey County near Rolling Fork.

Well watered, it contains numerous streams draining into the Big and Little Sunflower rivers.

The Big Sunflower River rises in DeSoto County and runs 100 miles to the Yazoo River. The Yazoo River flows 188 miles before hitting the Mississippi River north of Vicksburg.

The only bottomland hardwood national forest in the nation preserves some of the best squirrel habitat anywhere and offers one of the best places to bag a black fox squirrel.

"I've hunted squirrels all over the South and the Midwest," said Mark Beason, an avid squirrel hunter from Byram. "The Mississippi Delta is one of the best places in the country to hunt squirrels. It's a particularly good place to harvest black squirrels, which many people consider trophies.

"The bottomlands along the Mississippi River offer thousands of acres for squirrel hunting with outstanding habitat."

In extreme southeastern Mississippi, the Pascagoula River and Ward Bayou WMAs cover about 50,000 acres well traversed by waterways lined with hardwoods near Lucedale.

The Pascagoula River Basin drains about 8,800 square miles. It runs 80 miles before hitting the Gulf of Mexico near Moss Point.

West Pascagoula River flows into the Mississippi Sound near Gautier. And Pearl River WMA runs for about 50 miles along the river.

The Canal Section WMA includes about 32,000 acres of hardwood bottomlands and swamps near Fulton. Several streams flow through this system.

Divide Section WMA near Iuka in Tishomingo and Prentiss counties sits astride the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and covers about 15,300 acres. The 234-mile Tenn-Tom Waterway links the Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers as it flows through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

Numerous other rivers crisscrossing the state can provide good places to bag squirrels.

One of the longest rivers in Mississippi, the Pearl forms in Neshoba County and flows 444 miles to Lake Borgne. It creates about 119 miles of the Louisiana-Mississippi line.

The Big Black River begins in Webster County near Eupora and flows 330 miles southwest until it enters the Mississippi River about 25 miles south of Vicksburg.

Rising in Tippah County, the Tallahatchie River flows 230 miles before merging with the 165-mile long Yalobusha River to form the Yazoo River.

For more information on squirrel hunting in Mississippi and public hunting areas, see www.mdwfp.com.