City a ‘top town’ for sportsmen

Published 12:29 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

Vicksburg has been named among the top destinations in the country for sportsmen. Outdoor Life magazine ranked Vicksburg 160th in its third annual “America’s Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen.”

“To be honest with you, I thought we’d be a lot higher than that,” said Eddie Buckner, owner of Delta Outfitters. “I have friends who come and hunt with me from all over the country. They go other places and (Vicksburg) is where they love to come the most.”

Buckner said Vicksburg has many opportunities for sportsmen with fishing and “second-to-none” turkey, duck and deer hunting. “Hunting is a way of life down here,” he said.

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Bill Seratt, executive director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city attracts sportsmen from across the country.

“There’s so much public hunting, fishing and nature-viewing land here that we have seen an increase in the number of nature-based, both consumptive and non-consumptive, visitors from all over the country,” he said. “We have produced a nature guide that has all the public lands within a 30- or 40-mile radius of Vicksburg. People request that from the website and call for our brochure all the time.”

Towns were ranked based on more than 20 criteria, including the gun-friendliness of each town’s state, the number of huntable and fishable species nearby and the town’s proximity to public land and waters. Quality-of-life factors, such as cost of living and the unemployment rates, were also considered.

Vicksburg ranked No. 146 last year in Outdoor Life, which has a circulation of 800,000. The other two Mississippi towns on the list are Pascagoula (149th) and Greenville (168th). Rapid City, S.D. topped the list.

“Vicksburg should be No. 1 in this state,” said Jerry Johnson, owner of Chotard Landing Resort. “It has more to offer than Pascagoula ever dreamed of.”

Still, Johnson added, he thinks Vicksburg’s inclusion on the list might draw more sportsmen to the area.