Mississippi is blessed with six U.S. National Forests, combining to provide the state with a huge public land hunting resource that is spread across the entire state.
They are home to 14 state Wildlife Management Areas, managed by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to insure the best wildlife-related experiences possible.
Each Forest is surrounded with adequate services to support a hunting, fishing, or camping trip. The Forest Service provides many conveniences including campgrounds, and nearly all of the Forests are located near a Mississippi State Park. Most are within a short drive of a town that can provide additional services and lodging.
That includes the 190,000-acre Homochitto National Forest in Southwest Mississippi, where Mark Boyd loves to chase turkeys. It is a very popular hunting area for both state residents and non-residents.
Seven counties are included in the Forest, but the largest portions are in Adams, Franklin, Wilkinson and Amite counties. The total acreage is around 190,000. It is the oldest (1936) second largest national forest in the state, and is home to the Caston Creek ad Sandy Creek Wildlife Management Areas.
The National Forest office is located in Meadville on Highway 84 between Brookhaven and Natchez.
Homochitto presents an interesting blend of habitats. Timber-wise, the ridges and tops are covered by Loblolly and longleaf pines. The drainages are rooted in hardwood varieties. It’s about an 80/20 mix.
The tricky parts of Homochitto are the steep gullies in between the ridges. I’m talking serious steep here. I have hunted this national forest before and I remember being out of breath on a regular basis chasing up and down those ridges. It’s a lot like a western landscape than what one would expect to find in Mississippi.
In terms of turkey hunting, these same ridges and valleys represent the unique challenge. For one thing the gobbles you hear may be bouncing off of another slope two ridges over. He could be just over the edge of the ridge you’re set up on but calling the opposite direction. The terrain plays tricks on the audiology of hunting turkeys on the Homochitto.
This national forest represents a quality natural resource open to the public for hunting. Have no illusions —others will be afoot in the woods. However, don’t be put off by competition. Follow Boyd’s suggestions for turkey hunting public land and you’ll earn your spurs.