Wildlife & Habitat


Holt Collier NWR is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  The Delta is well known for its diversity and abundance of wildlife and has a rich history of conservation.

  • White-Tailed Deer

    Deer on Hill - 150 x 118

    The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was designated the State of Mississippi land mammal in 1974. White-tailed deer are highly adaptable species and thrive in a variety of habitats. The areas that provide the most suitable environment include a mixture of hardwoods, croplands, brushlands and pasturelands. They prefer an interspersed habitat including meadows, forested woodlots, brushy areas and croplands.

    An animal of incredible beauty and power, white-tailed deer are able to run up to 40 miles per hour, jump 9 foot fences, and swim 13 miles per hour. The white underside of the deer's tail waves when running and is flashed as a warning when danger is sensed. Both native Americans and settlers relied on the white-tailed deer for buckskin and food.

    White-tailed deer require a variety of foods for growth and reproduction. During the spring through fall, they feed on grasses, legumes, weeds, fruit, agricultural crops and the tender growth of shrubs, trees and vines. Their diet subsists of acorns, green growth, woody plant stems and evergreen leaves during the fall and winter. Their food sources need to be less than 4 ½ feet from the ground.

    Deer have few natural predators and are managed primarily through hunting. As their population in certain areas increases, so does disease and parasites that can ultimately cause widespread die-offs. There are a number of land management techniques for controlling deer habitat including prescribed burning, timber thinning and food plantings.

  • American Alligator

    Alligator - Promo List - 150 x 118

    American Alligators are normally not aggressive creatures, except when it is a mother alligator defending her young. While alligators typically avoid humans and human activity, occasionally they do cause conflicts with humans. It is illegal and very dangerous for the public to capture and remove or kill an alligator without special permit from the MDWFP.

  • Bottomland Hardwood Forest

    Bottomland Hardwood - Promo List - 150 x 118

    Prior to European settlement, the Lower Mississippi Valley was covered with over 24 million acres of bottomland hardwood forest that supported a rich diversity of fish and wildlife species. Historically, the dominant forest type was oak-gum-cypress. Canebrakes covered the broader flats on slightly higher ground, forming extensive nearly pure stands beneath huge bottomland hardwood trees. Settlers began clearing the forest in the early 1800’s. Today more than 75 percent of the forest coverage has been lost to land clearing operations for agriculture, transportation, industrialization, and urbanization. The remaining 4.8 million acres of forest are isolated islands of habitat surrounded by cotton, corn, rice, and bean fields. Most of the surviving forests now occupy low ground dominated by water tolerant species.  Much of Holt Collier NWR was, at one time, agricultural land.  As the property was acquired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the land was reforested and young trees are present on much of the Refuge today.