Skip to main content

Bang For The Buck

Bang For The Buck
Bang For The Buck
Flooded field. Photo courtesy Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Flooded field. Photo courtesy Bayou Bucks.

Floods and terrorism typically don’t go together, at least not yet.

But the long-term impacts of both are creating problems for farmers and wildlife in the heartland.

As a massive slug of water continues to make its way down the Mississippi River, deer that have been displaced by flooding pose a threat to agricultural interests outside the levee system. With everything in between the levees flooded, deer are crossing the levees, and they often feed on soybean (and other) crops, causing extensive damage.


Flood damage to crops is expected to top $2 billion, according to estimates by John Michael Riley, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University.


“Crop lost estimates are definitely around $800 million for Mississippi alone,” Riley said in a Huffington Post news story.

Riley estimates another $500 million in losses in Arkansas, and several hundred million more caused by flooding in Louisiana, Missouri and farmland north of Memphis, Tenn.

What many farmers and biologists have yet to get a handle on is the damage caused to the crops that are high and dry by a renewed influx of whitetail deer, raccoons, bears and dozens of other wildlife species that live in the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley.

David Goad, chief of wildlife management for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, estimates that is as many 40,000 to 50,000 whitetail deer are being pushed into the farmlands of Mississippi or Arkansas.




“The deer are going to move when it floods, and we’re seeing that right now," Goad said.

Farmers up and down the Delta are seeing hordes of whitetails move from the woods to the fields, and it’s costing them money and time trying to save their crops from hungry wildlife.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and presumably the state wildlife agencies in Mississippi and Louisiana, have to respond to the farmers that are incurring losses as a result of the displaced deer.


One method is to issue depredation permits to farmers, allowing them to kill the deer, but that means the deer go to waste and won’t be available for hunters to pursue in the fall. A non-lethal method that GF&C used during the 2008 flood was to give specialized fireworks to farmers to scare deer away from their crops.

Those fireworks, which are described as over-sized firecrackers, are built within a cotton-rope that acts like a fuse.

“A farmer can light one and set it to where it goes off every 30 minutes to an hour," Goad said. “They can last about 10 or 12 hours, and then they do it again.”

In 2008, Goad said the state agency bought a truckload of the fireworks and provided them to farmers to use in their fields.

“It works," Goad said. “They are really effective. They are one of our best tools to keep us from issuing depredation permits. We don’t want to do that and neither do the farmers.”

Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has reclassified the pyrotechnic devices as “explosives” and thus there’s a lot more red tape. A farmer, unless he has a license to handle dynamite, is unable to utilize those devices.

“Right now because we (the G&FC) are licensed, we’re setting these for the farmers," Goad said. “But there’s far too many farmers that need them than we can help.”

Currently, state agencies like the G&FC are contacting their senators, notably Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, to try to get them to either pass legislation or convince DHS to allow agencies to issue the fireworks to farmers. Senate Bill 223 (FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act) is currently in the legislative process with hopes of providing an exemption for farmers.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A Bolt Action from Benelli?

A Bolt Action from Benelli?

We know what you're thinking: Isn't Benelli a shotgun company? Of course it is, but decades of shotgun manufacturing actually put Benelli in a unique position to redefine what a hunting rifle should be. Episode 1 reviews some company history to explain how this all came about.

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

Get ready to braise ground venison with all the traditional chili ingredients, directly on the grill, for a smokin' hot take on this comfort food classic.Smoked Venison Chili Recipe Wild Game

Smoked Venison Chili Recipe

Eva Shockey - October 16, 2020

Get ready to braise ground venison with all the traditional chili ingredients, directly on the...

Expansion of Woodland Series targets continues fun, realistic way to practice.New for 2021, Rinehart's 1/3-Scale Moose Archery Targets ATA Show

New for 2021, Rinehart's 1/3-Scale Moose Archery Targets

Game and Fish Staff - January 07, 2021

Expansion of Woodland Series targets continues fun, realistic way to practice.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Four generations later, Faulk's Game Calls continues family tradition.Fabled Waterfowl Maker Still Turning Out Custom Calls Waterfowl

Fabled Waterfowl Maker Still Turning Out Custom Calls

John N. Felsher - January 11, 2021

Four generations later, Faulk's Game Calls continues family tradition.

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018 Whitetail

Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018

Kelly Bostian

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever seen.The Story Behind Brewster's World-Record Buck Whitetail

The Story Behind Brewster's World-Record Buck

Lynn Burkhead - October 17, 2019

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now