DECEMBER 1999 NEWS RELEASES

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 30

WEEK OF DECEMBER 23

WEEK OF DECEMBER 14

WEEK OF DECEMBER 2

 

 

Department thanks hunters, anglers

As the cover closes on 1999, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation extends its sincere appreciation to the hunters and anglers of Oklahoma for their continued support of the agency.

Though responsible for managing the states fish and wildlife resources, the Department receives no general state tax revenue, said Greg Duffy, Department director. Instead, the Department relies on the support of hunters and anglers through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and auxiliary permits, as well as revenue generated through federal taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

"The Wildlife Department is unique among state agencies because its operations are funded by the primary users of its services," Duffy said. "Therefore, it's an ongoing challenge to maintain the level and quality of service our constituents have come to expect and appreciate over the years. Our efforts at managing Oklahoma's wildlife resources have been very successful, and the sportsmen of this state deserve a lot of credit in helping make that success possible."

When compared to the cost of treating a family of four to dinner at a nice restaurant or a night at the movies, a hunting and fishing license is a phenomenal bargain, Duffy added. Annual hunting and fishing licenses, which expire each year on Dec. 31, cost $12.50 each. A combination license covers both hunting and fishing and costs $21. Separate permits are required for hunting deer, turkey and other species. All license requirements and costs are outlined in the Oklahoma Hunting Regulations and Fishing Regulations, which are available at sporting goods stores statewide.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is a constitutionally mandated and independent state agency that regulates, manages and conserves the state's fish and wildlife resources. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, an eight-member board appointed by the Governor, manages the agency. The Commission governs all Department financial transactions, sets hunting and fishing regulations and establishes policy for the agency. Commission members serve eight-year terms.

Former director Wint leaves wildlife legacy

Sportsmen have lost a dear friend and tireless advocate for Oklahoma's wildlife. George Wint, retired Director of The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, passed away on December 28th. He was 82.

Wint began his distinguished career with the Wildlife Department in 1950 as Assistant Federal Aid coordinator and biologist at the Darlington Game Farm in El Reno. In 1960, Wint was promoted to Superintendent of the Game Farm, a position he held until being named Assistant Chief of the Game Division in 1966. In 1972, Wint became Assistant Director, and in 1976 was named to the agency's top post. Wint retired from the agency in 1981.

"Very, very few people have had as strong a passion for Oklahoma's wildlife as George Wint", said Greg Duffy, Director of The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"Not only did George devote his life and career to improving Oklahoma's wildlife and opportunities for sportsmen, but he also spent much of his time away from work as an accomplished wildlife artist," Duffy added. "George's legacy to wildlife lives on through his beautiful paintings of quail, songbirds and outdoor scenes."

After serving in the Navy from 1942-46, Wint enrolled at Oregon State University and completed a four-year wildlife curriculum in just two and a half years. Upon returning to Oklahoma, Wint completed his master's degree at Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State University). His specialty was bobwhite quail research.

Though Wint received many professional accolades, he was particularly proud of a recent award given by his alma mater. In 1998, Wint received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Oregon State University-Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Wint is survived by wife, Lila of El Reno; son Kip and wife Vicki of El Reno; son Tim and wife DeeDee of Flower Mound, Texas and 6 grandchildren.

Free Bird Boxes available after Jan. 3

Oklahoma educators who are interested in teaching their students about birds can obtain free bird nesting boxes from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The boxes come in sets of 30 and are available free to any Oklahoma educator in any quantity as long as they are picked up. BirdBoxes will be available beginning January 3, 2000 through March 31.

The BirdBox Program, sponsored by the Wildlife Department and Phillips Petroleum, provides easy-to-assemble nest boxes made of waxed cardboard. The boxes are designed to last one nesting season and should be discarded at the end of the nesting season.

"Previously, Oklahoma educators had to be trained in Project WILD to receive free BirdBoxes," said Lisa Anderson, education specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "We have decided to discontinue the program, so once our current supply of BirdBoxes is distributed, we no longer will have them available. In light of this, we decided to allow any educator in the state of Oklahoma to receive the boxes free. All we ask is that you call ahead of time to make arrangements before you arrive to pick up the boxes."

After Jan. 3, the boxes will be available at the following locations:

ODWC Central Office, Oklahoma City (405) 521-6704.

ODWC Tulsa Office, (918) 744-1039.

ODWC SE Regional Office, Higgins, (918)297-0153.

ODWC SW Regional Office, Medicine Park, (918) 529-2795.

Those interested should call ahead to make sure boxes are still available. For more information, call Lisa Anderson at (405) 521-6704.

Blue catfish record falls again

Thanks to Dale Dennis of Lawton, Oklahoma has another new state record blue catfish. His fish, which weighed 85.25 pounds, broke the previous record of 85 pounds, which was caught less than two months ago.

Fishing off the bank at Lake Ellsworth, Dennis caught the fish December 14, at 2:30 p.m. at a depth of about 25 feet. He was using cut shad for bait on a Shimano Triton 200 reel, Shakespeare 14-foot rod and 40-pound Big Game line. The fish measured 52 inches long and 38 inches in girth.

Ellsworth is quietly becoming one of the best blue cat lakes in the state, but this fish may let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

"Lake Ellsworth has been a hotspot for local angers for quite a while," said Larry Cofer, southwest region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Everyone around here knew there were some big blues in the lake, and we thought it was just a matter of time before a record was caught."

Persistence paid off for Dennis this day. He started early by gathering some shad before heading to his fishing spot. The action was slow until the big fish hit.

"The rod just slowly went down when it first bit," Dennis said. "I set the hook and started reeling in, but it didn't really seem that big. When he first surfaced, he looked a little larger, maybe 40 or 50 pounds, but not a giant."

He got the fish to the bank three times, but each time the fish made a run and resumed the fight. The fourth time Dennis got it close enough to wade in and wrestle it to shore.

"Once I got my hands on him I realized that I might have a record," Dennis said. "I caught a 74-pound monster a couple of years back, and this fish seemed quite a bit bigger."

He phoned the Wildlife Department office and arranged to meet Cofer in Lawton to weigh the fish. The next day, officials at the Department's headquarters certified the catch as the new record.

Dennis' record catch bested the previous record of 85 pounds, caught Oct. 31 by Darrel Long at Lake Texoma. Before that, the state record for blue catfish stood at 84 pounds since 1990.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A JPEG image of this fish is available by request via e-mail. - B.H.

Department schedules public hearings

To gather input on proposed fishing regulations changes for 2001, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a series of public hearings on Jan. 10-11.

Regulation changes can originate from a number of sources, including Department field staff, citizens and conservation groups. After being considered by a biological review committee, recommendations are scheduled for public hearings, which allow citizens to voice their opinions on the proposed changes. These public hearings constitute the public input phase of the process. The recommendations are then submitted to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which can accept, amend or reject the recommendations.

This year's hearings begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the following locations:

Jan. 10:

Okmulgee - East Central Co-op Bldg., Conference Room, 2000 South Wood Dr.
Durant - Bryan County Community Bldg., Fairgrounds.
Broken Bow - Broken Bow Public Library, 404 N. Broadway

Jan. 11:
Woodward - Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Regional Office, 3014 Lakeview Dr.
Tishomingo - Tishomingo Community Center, Johnston County Fairgrounds.
Tulsa - Zebco Cafeteria (East door), 601 Apache.
Oklahoma City - Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Lawton - Lawton Public Library, Rm. 1, 110 SW 4th St.
Grove - Grove Community Center, Rm 7, 104 W. 3rd St.
Poteau - Poteau Civic center, Ste. 1, Hwy. 271 N.
Muskogee - Muskogee Public Library, 801 W. Okmulgee St.

Proposed changes will affect fishing for bass, walleye, sauger and saugeye on certain lakes. Other changes will concern matters of general interest.

Proposed changes include:

o Reducing the size limit on walleye, sauger and saugeye in lakes Ellsworth and Lawtonka from 18 inches to 14 inches.

o Changing the 13-16 inch slot length limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass from Broken Bow Lake to a 14-inch minimum size length limit.

o Adding a 13-16 inch slot length limit for all black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) at Okmulgee Lake.

o Adding a 16-22 inch slot length limit for all black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) at Dripping Springs Lake.

o Changing the bag limit on largemouth, spotted and/or smallmouth bass at Dripping Springs Lake to no more than one bass larger than 22 inches per day.

o Including Lake Murray in the bag limit rule of 15 channel and/or blue catfish, or 15 combined, per day.

o Changing the name from the "Leased Area" to "The Plaster Wildlife Management Unit" at Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area.

o Add that camping at the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area will be restricted to 14 days in a 30 consecutive day period.

o Establishing two mussel sanctuaries in the Poteau River.

Meeting to discuss  mussel sanctuaries

On Jan. 6, 2000, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a public meeting in Poteau to discuss a recommendation proposed by the Department to establish two mussel sanctuaries in the Poteau River.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Bob Lee Kidd Civic Center. It will be different from the public hearing that will be held in Poteau on Jan. 11, said Kim Erickson, chief of fisheries for the Department, because this event will be devoted entirely to gathering input on this particular issue. No other fisheries-related issues will be discussed.

"This meeting prior to the public hearing will simply give us another opportunity to gather input on an important issue to many Oklahomans, including commercial mussel harvesters," said Kim Erickson, chief of the Department's fisheries division. "It will also give the Department an opportunity to explain its position on this issue."

Specifically, the meeting will focus on a Department proposal to establish two mussel sanctuaries in the Poteau River. One sanctuary will be between the State Highway 9 Bridge and the old Pocola Highway Bridge, and the other will be between the State Highway 122 Bridge and the US-59 Bridge.

Oklahoma students show writing skills

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Station of Safari Club International recently announced the results of its annual Youth Writing Competition.

Co-sponsored by the Wildlife Department and the OSSCI, the Youth Writing Competition is divided into two categories, including one for ages 15-17 and another for ages 11-14.

Representing Oklahoma in the Age 15-17 category is Levi Wilson, 16, a junior at Leedey High School, who wrote an essay called, "A Hunter's Heritage." Also selected was Andrea Lee, 15, a sophomore at Inola High School, for her essay, "Hunting: Sharing the Heritage."

Three students were selected for the Age 11-14 category, including Nikki Williams, 14, a ninth-grader at Checotah High School, for her essay, "Hunting: Sharing the Heritage." Charlie Moss, 14, an eighth-grader at Vici High School, was selected for his essay, "My Hunting Heritage." Brooks Holcomb, 14, a seventh-grader at Leedey High School, was selected for his untitled essay.

The Youth Writing Competition is designed to promote America's hunting heritage among Oklahoma's youth. It provides them an opportunity to express the importance of hunting in their lives and to affirm their commitment to carrying on the hunting tradition. Students use the essays to relive memorable hunts, to explain why hunting is important to them and to recognize mentors who have influenced them to grow as hunters.

"The essays are always very thoughtful sometimes very introspective," said Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife Department. "America's hunting culture is wrongly blamed for some of the problems with our youth these days, and these essays always show us that hunting actually benefits youngsters. Kids with a strong hunting background, especially those who are mentored by a hunting adult, are well-adjusted, sensitive individuals who display a higher than average degree of perception about the world around them. From reading these essays, I can tell you that America's hunting heritage is in good hands."

Over the years, the Youth Writing Competition has become very popular among many Oklahoma students, with highly desirable prizes going to the winners. Essay winners in the 11-14 age category receive a scholarship to the Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. Winners in the Age 15-17 age group receive a guided antelope hunt in Wyoming.

The Wildlife Department and the OSSCI will submit the winning essays to the Youth Writing Contest held annually by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

"Oklahoma usually produces at least one national winner in the OWAA competition, and judging by the quality of this year's entries, this year should be no different," Berg said.

Partnership with Corps benefits waterfowl

In August, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation seeded more than 4,200 acres of Japanese millet at designated Corp of Engineer lakes throughout the state.

Funded entirely through Oklahoma's Duck Stamp Program, such wetland enhancement practices are conducted cooperatively between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The program creates additional waterfowl hunting opportunities for sportsmen but it also provides valuable habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.

Seasonally-flooded wetlands were once abundant throughout the state and were used by many species of migratory birds, said Alan Stacey, the Department's wetland development biologist. However, most of these natural wetlands have been converted to other uses. This is a big challenge to resource managers to replace lost migratory bird habitat with compatible habitat.

"The millet seeding program, when successfully implemented, has proven to be an effective management practice because it annually creates important food resources that were formerly provided by lost natural habitats," Stacey said.

Critical to the program's success is the high level of coordination required between the Department's area biologists, COE lake project personnel and hydrologists at the Tulsa District Office. Combined efforts among these partners help ensure ideal seeding conditions are created through controlled drawdowns on COE projects targeted for seeding.

"Typical seeding locations most often occur along lake shorelines, backwater sloughs or expansive mudflats found along upper portions of many Oklahoma lakes," Stacey said. "Several of these larger state reservoirs are between 30-40 years old, and they are heavily silted at the points where creeks and rivers enter a lake. Presently, there are several thousand acres of these nutrient rich mudflats throughout the state. If the right seasonal conditions develop, these areas can produce tremendous amounts of food for many species of migratory birds.

"Also, exposure of the flats, either through evaporation or artificially-timed drawdowns during the growing season, can often produce an abundance of natural foods as well as provide opportunities for Japanese millet seeding," he added.

After a seed crop is established, shallow flooding during the fall-winter period dictates whether waterfowl and other migratory birds can use it. If a lake receives adequate inflow, millet can sometimes be flooded in stages to maximize food resources and ensure food availability over a longer, extended period.

Reservoirs in which millet was successfully established this season include Copan, Hulah, Kaw, Keystone, Eufaula, Texoma and Waurika. Although the recent drought has created unusually low lake levels in some regions of the state, recent rains are providing timely inflows on many lakes, flooding both millet and recharging natural wetlands. Hopefully, they will continue to improve as waterfowl migration begins to move into full swing.

Volunteers needed for annual bird survey

During last year's 12th annual Winter Bird Survey, 759 Oklahomans cataloged the birds that visited their backyard feeders. Volunteers are again asked to participate in this ongoing research project. This year, it will be conducted Jan. 13-16.

"Participants counted more than 70,000 birds last year, but we hope to count even more birds during this year's survey, set for January 13-16, 2000," said Jeremy Garrett, natural resources specialist for the Oklahoma Wildlife Diversity Program.

Mirroring 1998, goldfinches were again the most common bird spotted at feeders in 1999, with 8,724 birds counted. They were followed by dark-eyed juncos (5,814), cardinals (5,614), house sparrows (5,290) and blue jays (3,247).

To participate in the bird survey, count the birds at or under your feeder, no matter what the weather conditions are like, and write them down on the survey form. All survey forms must be returned to the Wildlife Diversity Program by February 14.

The Winter Bird Survey is sponsored by the Wildlife Diversity Program to determine overall trends in Oklahoma's wintering birds, Garrett said. The program does not receive any state tax appropriations and is funded by voluntary donations. You can help fund this program by purchasing any of the four Wildlife Conservation license plates, which feature a bass, quail, deer or scissor-tailed flycatcher. They are available at your local tag agency.

Help wildlife, enroll in "Cans 4 Critters"

Oklahoma students who are interested in helping the environment and also assisting state wildlife conservation efforts should sign up now to participate in the statewide "Cans 4 Critters" contest.

Sponsored by the Department's Wildlife Diversity Program, the "Cans 4 Critters" contest helps enhance awareness among students about Oklahoma's wildlife resources.

"Now starting its sixth year, Cans 4 Critters has been extremely successful," said Jeremy Garrett, natural resources specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Over the last five years, Oklahoma students have recycled 25,100 pounds of aluminum and contributing more than $8,600 for wildlife research."

Participating in Cans 4 Critters is simple, Garrett said. Youth groups from schools, Camp Fire, 4-H, science clubs, Scouts and others recycle aluminum cans and forward the money they raise as a donation to the Wildlife Diversity Program. The deadline for the contest is Earth Day, April 22.

"The Wildlife Diversity Program has used the money for projects related to the Texas horned lizard, a rare animal that many people have not seen in decades," he said. "Last year, funds were used to gain knowledge of the natural history of Texas horned lizards. Our goal is to learn what is causing horny toads to decline and to find out how to ensure that their numbers remain common."

Youth also can receive awards for collecting Cans 4 Critters, Garrett said. Groups can win awards based on either the total donations collected or the average amount of aluminum collected. Individuals within the groups will receive a free wildlife poster for each five pounds (about 150 cans) they collect.

The Wildlife Diversity Program receives no state allocations and is funded primarily through the state tax checkoff, sales of Wildlife Conservation license plates and direct donations. To enroll your group in the contest, write to: Cans 4 Critters, Wildlife Diversity Program, 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105; call 405/521-4616. Y

Deer hunters on pace for another record

Thanks to excellent weather and abundant opportunities, Oklahoma deer hunters are on pace to set another harvest record for the 1999 season.

After tallying harvest totals from the recent deer gun season, personnel from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation registered a preliminary harvest total of 74,818 deer. That number does not include deer that will be taken in the late archery season, deer recorded in personnel books, antlerless deer taken on land enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program, nor deer harvested during controlled hunts.

Last year, the preliminary total after deer gun season was 73,442, said Mike Shaw, the Department’s wildlife research supervisor, and late entries boosted the overall total to the current record of 80,008. Based on last year’s numbers, Shaw projected this year’s final harvest at 81,500.

“Obviously, I’m pleased with the new record, but I will reserve judgment until the final figures are in to see what percentage of the harvest was does,” Shaw said. “We won’t know that until January, but my hope is that we got a fairly good increase in doe harvest. At this point, unfortunately, it appears that the increase was in the buck harvest.”

Of the state’s five geographic regions, the biggest increase in deer harvest came from the southeast region, where hunters took 11,771 deer. That’s an increase of 2,046 of the 1998 total of 10,021. A major reason for that, Shaw said, was because the rut was in full swing during the gun season, and also because of the abundance of acorns in that region.

Hunters in the northeast region took 23,800 deer, an increase of 296 over the 1998 total of 23,504. In the central region, hunters took 25,228 deer, compared to 25,054 in 1998, an increase of 154.

Two regions, the northwest and southwest, recorded decreases in the preliminary total. The northwest harvest was 6,479 deer, compared to 6,843 in 1998, a decrease of 364. In the southwest, the harvest was 7,540, a decrease of 480 over the 1998 total of 8,020.

Like last year, good weather during the deer gun season was an important factor in this year’s success. Unlike last year, however, hunters enjoyed fabulous weather during the muzzleloader season, too, resulting in a significantly higher contribution by blackpowder hunters.

“The 1999 primitive season was very good, and as a result of that, we did see an increase,” Shaw said. “That, coupled with an increase in the early archery season and a strong showing during gun season, combined to produce the new record.

“We also had favorable weather during the deer gun season,” Shaw added. “It was a little warmer than we had hoped, but I can’t complain. At least we didn’t have rain and sleet and snow. There were a lot of hunters out there enjoying themselves, and that’s what it takes.”

Final harvest totals will be available in January, when the Department tallies results from all outstanding sources. As it stands now, Oklahoma deer hunters may be able to celebrate their 15th record harvest in 18 years.

Try your hand at  Panhandle pheasants

As pheasant season begins in the Oklahoma panhandle, sportsmen can look forward to seeing plenty of birds in what should be an excellent season.

Running Dec. 1 - Jan. 1, Oklahoma’s panhandle pheasant season offers some of the most enjoyable and widely anticipated hunting of the year for one of America’s greatest upland gamebirds.

“All the landowners I’ve talked to saw a lot of birds last summer,” said Danny Watson, wildlife biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Everybody expects a good season, and nothing we’ve seen so far would dispute those expectations.”

Pheasant habitat in the panhandle consists primarily of row crops, such as milo and corn. Most of those crops have been harvested, but there’s still plenty of milo stubble and cornstalks that provide good pheasant habitat. Some of the best areas, Watson said, are fields dedicated to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which are adjacent to the crop fields.

“We’re constantly getting more habitat because a lot of lands are going into CRP that used to grow winter wheat,” Watson explained. “They didn’t used to hold that many birds, but they have for the last couple of years. That’s just one of the reasons I think the hunting is going to be really good this year.”

Although most panhandle pheasant hunting occurs on private land, the public hunting areas in the region also have fair numbers of birds. They’re harder to hunt than those on private land, Watson said, because they’ve been repeatedly pointed and flushed during quail season.

“Our WMA pheasants are pretty wily birds,” Watson said. “I encourage people to go quail hunting on public land, and if they get a pheasant, that’s a bonus.”

Another bonus is the economic windfall that pheasant season brings to panhandle communities. Although the season opened on a Wednesday this year, a number of motels in the panhandle were booked for the opening week. Anyone planning a trip should call ahead to reserve a room. Otherwise, you may have to sleep in your vehicle.

In the panhandle, the daily limit for pheasants is three roosters, with a possession limit of six after the first day and nine after the second day. Persons who hunt in two states having separate daily bag limits may not exceed the largest number of birds that can be legally taken in one of the states in which they harvest the birds. Evidence of sex (head or one foot) must remain on the bird until it reaches its final destination.

Safety is also extremely important, Watson added. In many instances, pheasants are hunted by large groups of hunters. Groups should discuss safety procedures before hunting. Everyone involved in the hunt should be aware of each other’s whereabouts and determine individual shooting zones beforehand.

Though not required, each member of a hunting party should wear a blaze orange cap or vest to be more visible. Blaze orange does not alert birds nor otherwise affect one’s hunting success.

In addition, hunters should always ask permission before entering private property. Before going afield, be sure to pick up a copy of the 1999-2000 Oklahoma Hunting Regulations, available at all hunting and fishing license dealers.

Furbearers offer exciting opportunities

With large numbers of furbearers inhabiting the fields and woodlands of Oklahoma, hunters and trappers can expect a bountiful furbearer season this winter.

Oklahoma’s statewide furbearer season runs Dec. 1 - Jan. 31 except for bobcat season, which runs Dec. 1 - Feb. 28. The season limit for bobcats is 20, with no daily limit.

Most furbearing species are plentiful, and bobcat populations are increasing in many parts of the state, said Russ Horton, central region senior biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, resulting in generous opportunities for hunters and trappers.

“Hunters and trappers have an important role in helping to maintain the health and well being of Oklahoma’s furbearer populations,” Horton said. “Trapping and hunting is the most effective tool to manage those resources, and it provides sportsmen extra opportunities to spend some quality time afield during the winter.”

Due to a depressed fur market, the number of sportsmen pursuing furbearers decreased in 1998-99. Likewise, the value of Oklahoma’s fur harvest in 1998-99 was $38,338, compared to $200,721 the previous year.

In 1998-99, hunters and trappers tagged 2,231 bobcat pelts, compared to 3,617 tagged in 1997-98. Custer County led bobcat harvest totals with 104, followed by Major County with 93.

From a management standpoint, harvesting furbearers benefits other wildlife such as ground nesting birds, especially wild turkeys, Horton said. Bobcats prey on adult wild turkeys, and raccoons consume considerable numbers of wild turkey eggs. Opossums prey on tree-nesting birds.

“Controlling predators, including furbearers, is a necessary part of wildlife management,” Horton said. “It’s also a good way to become more familiar with the areas you ordinarily hunt other game, and it’s a great way to introduce a newcomer to hunting and trapping.”

Those wanting to take bobcats, raccoons or gray fox must possess a special bobcat-raccoon-gray fox license. It costs $9 for residents, $51 for non-residents. Resident Lifetime License holders are exempt from having to purchase the license. The license is not required for those who chase furbearers with dogs but do not harvest them.

A trapping license is required for all persons who trap. Only resident landowners or tenants or their children who trap on land they own or lease (not including hunt leases) are exempt from purchasing trapping licenses.

Landowners or lessees may kill furbearers actually found destroying livestock or poultry without having a license, but they may not remove any part of the fur or carcass from the premises where taken.

Complete furbearer regulations are printed in the 1999-2000 Oklahoma Hunting Regulations, available statewide at hunting and fishing license dealers.