Breland returns home, takes St. Catherine Creek post by the horns

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 7, 2001

Sunday, October 07, 2001

Simply put, Randy Breland loves nature.

And 10 years ago, Breland, a graduate of Jackson Murrah and

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Southern Miss, knew there was a dream job for him.

&uot;I enjoyed what I was doing at the time, but I had heard

about the opening of the St. Creek Wildlife Refuge and thought

how much I would love to work there.&uot;

Breland attended graduate school at Arizona State and later

spent 13 years working as a civilian wildlife biologist working

for the U.S. Army.

But he had a nagging desire to move back to the Magnolia State

so that his wife and children could be closer to their extended

family. After stints working at refuges in south Louisiana and

the Mississippi Delta, Breland took over as St. Catherine Creek’s

director in mid-July.

&uot;It’s been everything we’ve hoped for,&uot; Breland said.

&uot;This is a wonderful facility and a great challenge.&uot;

The challenge lies in managing the nearly 26,000 acres of wildlife

refuge with a staff of five.

To make the task even more difficult, the refuge has some 18

miles of Mississippi River border as well as seven miles of the


&uot;You have to wear many different hats,&uot; Breland said.

&uot;But we have a really hardworking staff that is interested

in better serving the public’s outdoor wants and needs.

In addition to upkeep of the entire facility, Breland and his

staff must be law enforcers as well.

Breland had good news for waterfowl hunters, saying this year,

he anticipated one of the better waterfowl usages in recent years.

He attributed that to much-improved waterfowl impoundments,

which are man-made provisions for the migrating birds.

&uot;We have two new wells with with power units and we’ll

have lots of food this season,&uot; he said, referring to improved

conditions of the impoundments. &uot;Things are really looking

good in that area. I think if we don’t get the rainfall we need,

we will still be able to have enough water for all of the migratory


With various hunting seasons approaching full swing, one of

course finds Breland and his crew extremely busy, mowing ATV trails

and getting deer check stations ready.

Breland and his crew are now full speed ahead with archery

season having recently started. As of press time, Breland said

he knew of two deer that had been harvested from local bowhunters.

Some of the bigger events this fall include the two-day youth

hunt and opening day of muzzleloader season. The latter is part

of the three-split primitive weapons seasons that dominate the


The only rifle hunting allowed is the youth hunt and the five-day

wheelchair dependent session.

But Breland wants the public to not just see St. Catherine

Creek as a simply an area for hunters only. He said the refuge

is excellent for camping, hiking, birdwatching and just generally

viewing nature, something Breland enjoys himself.

&uot;One of the best things about living on the refuge is

being able to sit on your front porch at breakfast and watch the

beautiful sunrise and at suppertime seeing the sunset,&uot; he

said. &uot;It’s breathtaking.&uot;