The 2012 Wildlife Jamboree was a huge success as usual.  It is one of the largest educational events conducted in Neshoba County with approximately 3,000 in attendance. 

We conduct several educational activities at the Wildlife Jamboree each year which include Educational Speakers, Educational Booths, Wildlife Tasting Buffet, Gun Raffles, Big Buck Contest, Youth Archery Contest along with other activities and events. 

The speaker was Dave Godwin, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Wild Turkey/Small Game Program Coordinator.

Widely known as "Mississippi's Small Game Hunting Ambassador," Godwin has been recognized nationally for outstanding efforts and contributions to the conservation and management of small game including wild turkey and bobwhite quail. He spoke on turkey hunting and habitat management.

The Education Row, placed in the middle of the coliseum floor, is the effort by the Jamboree planning committee to enhance the educational experience of attendees. The roots of the Jamboree are, after all, to be an educational venue. The planning committee designated the most visible area for this purpose.

This year the education row was comprised of: the Mississippi State University Extension Service educated participants about soil sampling, food plots, snake identification, and animals of the forest, the Neshoba County Hospital passed out information concerning healthy snacks for the outdoorsman, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Safety Federation sent a representative to advocate 4-wheeler safety, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks educated participants about firearm safety, the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge advertised their hunting and outdoor opportunities for all Mississippians, the Choctaw Wildlife and Parks introduced the non-Indian population to Choctaw cultural ways of hunting, and lastly the Mississippi Corp. of Engineers passed out water safety information to all.

The Education Row not only is host to a wealth of information to all willing to participate, but it also awarded several nice prizes to some lucky participants at the end of the night.

The educational venue has proven to be a hit with all who participated, not to mention the lucky winners of the drawings. It has boasted an average of nearly 400 participants each year thus far and poised to get bigger in the future.

This is good news to the Neshoba County Extension Service and the planning committee, because the Neshoba County Wildlife Jamboree's roots have grown to branch yet another educational opportunity for Neshoba County and Mississippi.

Look for us next year, and you might just leave with an extra prize, and knowledge you can put to work for your season outdoors.

In the Wildlife Tasting Buffet, 23 participants brought wild game dishes featuring a variety of venison sausages, stews, and casseroles, as well as baked and fried fish, baked and fried squirrel, squirrel stew, turkey, and baked raccoon. This year's featured dish was wild turkey prepared in a lemon marinated meatloaf.

Side dishes included dressing, rice, sauces, and sausage rolls. Several hundred people sampled the dishes.

Recipes submitted in this year's Jamboree will be compiled and added to the 2013 Wildlife Jamboree Recipe book. We also held three raffles this year.  We raffled a 45-70 rifle, a 243 rifle with a scope, and an 870 shotgun. 

Gabe Sciple won the 45-70 rifle, Travis Dale Griffin won the 243 youth rifle and Alvin Neese won the 870 shotgun. 

Funds raised from these raffles were used to sponsor the Wildlife Jamboree. We would like to thank everyone who purchased raffle tickets at this year's Jamboree. The winners of the 2012 Big Buck Contest were Jeremy Matzek - Gun, and James Hunter Stalcup - Youth. 

These individuals won a free mount from local taxidermist.  Sponsoring the Gun division this year was David and Brandon Heflin Taxidermy and Steve Johnson Taxidermy sponsored the Youth division winner. We didn't have an entry for the Primitive Weapon division. 

Keep these contests in mind for next year and encourage individuals that you might know that have killed a big buck to enter it in next year's contest. 

There were 29 youth who competed in the Wildlife Jamboree Youth Archery and Air Rifle competition held just prior to the Wildlife Jamboree just outside of the Coliseum.

Youth competed in not only air rifle but also recurve and compound divisions of archery. Youth competed in ages 7-10, 11-14 and 15-18 categories.

First place winners were recognized that night at the Wildlife Jamboree. Austin Melton - first in 7-10 year old air rifle; Steve Bowman - first in 11-14 year old recurve archery; Eli Lewis - first in 7-10 year old compound archery; and Lathan Johnson - first in 7-10 year old recurve archery. Kory Swift - first in 15-18 year old compound archery; Lane Miles - first in 11-14 year old compound archery; Ben McDaniel - first in 15-18 year old air rifle; and Hunter Lewis - first in 11-14 year old air rifle.

There were approximately 30 vendors that provided the door prizes. There were also about 20 pots of stew, chili and BBQ along with drinks and snack cakes served.

We would like to thank all of the cooks who make this possible.