High waters cause Delta closures

Hunting is suspended in impacted areas

Due to rising water levels along the Mississippi River, some areas of the Delta have been closed to all hunting, except waterfowl, and more areas are likely to be impacted in the coming days, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Effective immediately, because the Steel Bayou gauge exceeded 90 feet, all lands in Zone 2-B are closed to hunting, except for waterfowl. Zone 2-B includes in those parts of Sharkey, Humphreys, Yazoo, Issaquena and Warren counties on land that lie south of Highway 14, west of Highway 149, South of Highway 16/149, west of Highway 3 and east of Highway 61. These lands shall remain closed until the Steel Bayou gauge falls below 88 feet. This impacts the Lake George, Twin Oaks and Sunflower Wildlife Management Areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge that is located in 2B consistent with state regulations. The Brown Tract on the northeast side of Delta National Forest, where waterfowl hunting is not permitted, is closed to all hunting.

Other areas that could be closed within the next week include:

Zone 1: When the Greenville gauge reaches and exceeds 48 feet, which is forecast as possibility on Tuesday (Jan. 15), all lands in Washington and Issaquena Counties that lie south of Highway 82, west of Highway 1 and North of Highway 14 shall be closed until the Mississippi River falls to or below 46 on the Greenville gauge.

Zone 2-A: When the Vicksburg gauge reaches 43 feet, as is forecast by either Friday or Saturday (Jan. 11-12), those lands in Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren Counties that lie south of Highway 14, west of Highway 61 and north of the Big Black River will close to all hunting except waterfowl and remain so until the Mississippi River falls to or below 41 feet on the Vicksburg gauge.

The MDWFP has also closed Shipland and Mahannah WMAs to all activities except waterfowl hunting until further notice.

The U.S. Forest Service has closed all roads on Sunflower WMA to motor vehicle access.

MDWFP said it will maintain an increased law enforcement presence in the affected areas to patrol the levees, promote public safety for residents affected by the rising waters, and enforce the wildlife laws that protect animals affected by flooding. MDWFP reminds hunters that high water has also affected areas along the Pascagoula and Pearl Rivers and it is unlawful to hunt, trap, take, frighten, or kill game or fur-bearing animals forced out of their natural habitat by high water. For more information regarding this closure and other WMAs in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com.

Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1190 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.