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Outdoors expert hopeful new wildlife commissioners will be both qualified and educated

With two vacant seats set to occupy the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is being tasked with vetting and appointing a pair of candidates here in the near future.

The seats are open after the Mississippi Senate chose not to hold a reconfirmation vote for former commissioner Leonard Bentz, Jr. amid an illegal hunting scandal. Plus, longtime commissioner and current chairman Bill Cossar will not be returning to the commission responsible for protecting Mississippi’s wildlife and outdoors when his term ends on Sunday.

Lake Pickle, a videographer and podcaster with Primos Hunting, is optimistic that Reeves will make a good choice with his selections as public interest is currently at an all-time high when it comes to the Wildlife Commission. According to Pickle, if Reeves chooses his candidates based on friendships rather than fortitude, outdoor enthusiasts are ready to governor accountable.

“We’ve learned how powerful sunshine is,” Pickle said on SuperTalk Outdoors with Ricky Mathews. “Moving forward, I would just hope that they know there are people watching this and they will take the decisions on who they’re trying to get on this commission very seriously. I think it’s safe to say there are more people now than ever before that are watching it [and] that are aware of the power this commission has. That alone is powerful.”

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Pickle added that he and other prominent outdoorsmen and women are hopeful Reeves will choose commissioners who are both qualified and educated, considering their roles will be crucial in adopting, amending, and repealing rules to conserve Mississippi’s wildlife.

He said a scientific background is the top stipulation for most as chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues to run rampant within the state’s white-tailed deer population. Bentz, a former commissioner, is remembered for his views when it came to opposing CWD zones and rescinding feed bans.

“CWD is right here. It is staring us in the eyes,” Pickle continued. “It’s paramount that we have people on the commission that can make the right decisions.”

While legislation died

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