Terry Sanford figures his first hunting excursion into the fields and woods near his family's Petal farm came when he was about 10 years old.
It was love at first sight.
"Oh, sure," Sanford said. "I'm 62 years old now, and back then, we had a farm, and the neighbors had a farm, and I started hunting with them, all around in there."
Sanford paused, then smiled.
"I guess I've still got the sickness," Sanford said.
Sanford has plenty of company. In Mississippi, it's more like a full-blown epidemic when it comes to the outdoor sports, particularly hunting and fishing.
Not only has the state sold more than 202,000 hunting and fishing licenses of various time periods and different game since the start of its 2011-12 fiscal year on July 1, the sports mean big business.
"Hunting is an incredibly popular sport here in South Mississippi and has a major impact on the regional economy," said Chad Newell, president of the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg.
"Many local and national retailers offer an array of hunting and fishing products, which creates substantial local sales, creates jobs, and adds to the tax base.
"Hunters lease land from area property owners, automotive dealers sell four-wheel drive trucks, and the list goes on and on. The ripple effect associated with the sport of hunting is quite large."