APRIL 2003 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF APRIL 24, 2003

WEEK OF APRIL 18, 2003

WEEK OF APRIL 10, 2003

 

WEEK OF APRIL 3, 2003

 

 Another state fish record bites the dust

For the fifth time in two weeks a new state fish record has been broken. This was no Aprils fool’s joke when Shane McCleary of Blackwell landed a new state record paddlefish weighing 121.2 pounds April 1 below Kaw dam.

McCleary usually fishes the Kaw Tailwaters regularly between February and the middle of March for paddlefish, before concentrating on crappie.

“I heard reports of people snagging paddlefish below the dam at Kaw Lake. I thought I would run out there before work and give it a try,” McCleary said.

            McCleary was below the dam snagging for about an hour when the dam gates were closed. McCleary caught and released about five paddlefish when he hooked what was to become a new state record.  Catch and release fishing does not harm paddlefish and is allowed year-round until an angler reaches his limit of one and then the angler must stop snagging.

            Mature paddlefish begin staging at the upper end of reservoirs in early spring in anticipation of the spawning run. As water temperatures rise and rains bring water levels up, paddlefish begin moving upstream to spawn.

During their annual spring spawning run paddlefish can be more vulnerable to overharvest. To provide the maximum sustainable fishing opportunities and to ensure the long-term health of the paddlefish population, the Wildlife Department has modified the fishing regulations which pertain to paddlefish.

Several regulations were amended to ensure that paddlefish will be abundant for many years to come. The daily bag limit on paddlefish taken during the spawning season was reduced from three fish to one per day. The new rules define a hook used in snagging as one single hook or one treble hook and require all hooks to be barbless. Anglers will be required to tag (with name, address and license number) all paddlefish and paddlefish parts until reaching their residence. For complete paddlefish regulations, check out the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” available at license vendors across the state.

“I thought it was a carp or shad, then it turned and ran, hit the end of the line and peeled off about 15 yards of line at a high rate of speed,” said McCleary. “I fought it out in the current when it turned and swam up to me then made a another good run about 20 yards from me. I thought it was a pretty good fish when it rolled and I guessed it at 60-70 pounds.  When it got closer I realized I had never seen a fish that big around. It took me about five minutes to land her.”

His first instinct was to let the fish go. McCleary releases the fish he snags.

 “I enjoy the thrill of snagging. I was going to turn the fish loose, until the guy next to me talked me out of it,”  McCleary said.

The huge fish weighed 121.2 pounds and was 53 1/2 inches long. The girth was 42 1/4 inches.  The previous paddlefish record of 112 pounds was set by Gene Johnson who snagged the big paddlefish from the Tailwaters of Grand in July of 1992.

Paddlefish, or spoonbills, are large, prehistoric fish found in Oklahoma mainly in the Grand and Neosho river systems. Paddlefish, which can grow to over six feet long and weigh over 100 pounds, gather algae and zooplankton from the water by swimming slowly with their mouths open.

This prehistoric prize can be caught by snagging with a stout surf rod, heavy test line, and a 12/0 treble hook. The tailwaters of Kaw is not the only place to fish for these large fish, other top paddlefish spots are places on the Neosho River like the Riverview City Park in Miami, Conner and Twin Bridges (above Grand Lake), Ft. Gibson and Oologah.

For a complete list of the regulation changes consult the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or log onto the Department's web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com. If you think you may have hooked a record fish it is important that you weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale and the weight is verified by a Wildlife Department employee.

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Editor’s note: Below are links for two accompanying photos – one is 100 DPI and one is 300 DPI and both are intended for newspaper publication. Both ending links is .jpg for the photos. They will open in your browser. If you have a pc you should be able to right click, save picture as, choose the file type you want to save as and click save. The other way to save the image is to go to file in the toolbar, save picture as, choosing the file type you want to save as and click save.

 

The time to go fishing is now

            If you haven’t dusted off your fishing equipment yet, don’t wait another day. From Altus to Alva, Miami to Mangum, Oklahoma anglers are experiencing some great fishing this spring.

According to several sources, including anglers, marina operators and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation employees, lakes all across the state are producing good stringers of fish. With so many outstanding reservoirs in Oklahoma it is tough to keep up with current fishing conditions, unless, that is, you go online to get up to the day fishing reports, at www.wildlifedepartment.com

According to the most recent report, crappie are moving into very shallow water at Lake Arcadia, just a few miles north of Oklahoma City. At Lake Oologah just north of Tulsa, fishermen are catching white bass as they move up the Verdigris River. In southeast Oklahoma, anglers are catching good numbers of trout in zone 1 of the Lower Mountain Fork River. At Canton Lake, near Watonga, walleye are being caught at night along the dam. That is just a few of the good reports pouring in from across the state

Compiled by Wildlife Department personnel and independent reporters, the updated reports even include techniques and locations to increase angler success.

Broken into five state regions, the pages also include other valuable information for the informed angler. Water temperature, water conditions and lake levels can help fishermen get the most out of their outings.

Fishermen can even have the reports delivered right to their computer. To sign up for the weekly fishing report and other wildlife news go to www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Spring turkey hunting and stream fishing combine for a great trip

            It’s a tough decision. With warming weather and longer days fishing across Oklahoma is getting better each week and tom turkeys are beginning to gobble. So do you go turkey hunting or spend the day at your favorite fishing hole? Why not do both?

            "After being cooped all winter a combination turkey hunting and fishing trip is a great way to get out and spend a nice spring day,” said Todd Craighead, host of the “Outdoor Oklahoma” television show.

            No matter where in the state you choose to chase turkeys, chances are you will not be far from a stream, lake or pond. These areas are not only good places to spot turkeys, but they also offer great fishing for sand bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish and catfish.

            "Whether you are fortunate enough to harvest a turkey or don’t even see one, you can still look forward to some fun fishing after the morning hunt. You can have a great time with an ultralight rod and a few lures during the afternoon. While fishing you may even come across a good place to set up for an evening hunt," Craighead added.

            With wild turkey populations in good shape across the state turkey hunters are looking forward to another successful spring turkey season. The season opens April 6 statewide, and runs to May 6 in 69 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. The remaining eight counties in the far southeastern corner of Oklahoma have an earlier closing date of April 28.

For complete season dates and regulations pick up a copy of the "2002-2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" and the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Commissioners vote to keep 16-day statewide deer gun season

Members of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission debated rescinding the statewide extended deer gun season to provide a 16-day season in all counties except McCurtain and Pushmataha counties, but voted 6-2 to keep a statewide 16-day deer gun season. The action occurred at the Commission’s April 7 meeting.

In other business, Damon Springer, aquatic education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, presented the Commission with a brief history and status report of the Aquatic Resources Education Program.

"The program has been a real success," said Springer. "About 20,000 kids go through the program each year. They learn about everything from how to cast a rod and reel to outdoor ethics. And most of the clinics include a chance to catch a fish."

More than 180 clinics are held each year across the state from isolated farm ponds to parks in the heart of metropolitan areas. According to Springer, the program’s 450 volunteers are essential to it’s success.

“We have so many dedicated volunteers, but none work harder than Leroy and Carol Orsburn,” Springer said.

The Orsburns were honored at the meeting by the Commission for their efforts in promoting fishing to young anglers.

“The real pay day for us is every time we see a kid smile when they catch a fish,” Leroy Orsburn said.

In the 10 years the couple has served as volunteers, they have conducted over 100 clinics with many of those clinics focusing on handicapped youth.

Also at the April meeting, Commissioners voted to reject bids for the auction elk hunt on Cookson Hills Wildlife Management Area. Bidding will be reopened until July 1 with a $7,500 minimum bid.

Commissioners accepted a $1,000 donation from the 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The funds will assist with the printing of a Lower Mountain Fork River trout habitat map.

“The 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been a great partner in improving the trout fishing opportunities in the state. Over the last year alone, the group has donated over $13,000 to benefit the trout program and this latest donation will help in letting people know about the great trout fishing on the Lower Mountain Fork River,” said Fisheries Chief Kim Erickson.

Commissioners also accepted a donation of $3,500 from the Ouachita Forest Interpretation Association. The funds will go towards the construction of an observation platform and tower at the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area.

Harold Namminga, federal aid and research coordinator for the Department was recognized for his 25 years of service to the sportsmen of Oklahoma.

“Harold’s love and dedication to the resources of our state is plainly evident. He has been a great asset to this Department and to the sportsmen of Oklahoma,” said Greg Duffy, executive director of the Wildlife Department.

Rob Ray, president of the Oklahoma Bowhunting Council, presented Benny Farrar with the Oklahoma Bowhunting Council Wildlife Professional of the Year. Farrar is the Department’s wildlife biologist for Robbers Cave, Eufaula (Gaines Creek Unit) and James Collins wildlife management areas, as well as the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

In other business, Commissioners approved a proposal for a pay package for Department employees, contingent upon a pair of funding bills in the State Legislature that would increase the cost of annual and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

Assistant Director Richard Hatcher gave commissioners an update on bills in the Oklahoma state legislature, which relate to fish and wildlife conservation. A daily update of the progress of those bills is available on the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com/legislation.htm

The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department, and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The next scheduled Commission meeting is May 5 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City at 9:00 a.m.

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Elk hunt on the auction block

Harvesting a bull elk in Oklahoma is certainly a rare opportunity. Hunters now have a chance to not only bid on a fully guided bull elk hunt at Cookson Wildlife Management Area, but also help needy Oklahomans in the process. For the fifth year in a row the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) is auctioning a bull elk hunt, and the proceeds will go to the Department’s Hunters Against Hunger program.

Through a sealed bid auction, the hunter with the top bid has successfully harvested a trophy bull for the past four years. Last year’s winner took a 6x7 bull. The hunt, which generated over $11,000 last year, is a guided three-day hunt anytime in September, October or November 2003 (subject to availability). The broken hills and rugged landscape of Cookson Hills will challenge even the seasoned elk hunter. The hunter can choose to use a bow and arrow, muzzleloader or modern rifle. The minimum bid for this year’s hunt is $7,500.

Hunters who wish to submit a bid should fill out their name, address, day and evening phone numbers with their bid amount on a card or letter, which must be notarized. Bids can be dropped off at ODWC headquarters or mailed to Oklahoma Auction Elk Hunt, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152. All bids must be received at ODWC headquarters in Oklahoma City by 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 1. Bidding is open to individuals and organizations. The permit may be transferred one time by the successful bidder, but may not be transferred for financial gain. Payment must be received within 10 days of notification.

“Proceeds from the elk hunt auction will assist the Department’s Hunters Against Hunger program,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Department. “Through a network of statewide food banks that distribute donated venison to local shelters, the program has served meals to thousands of needy Oklahomans.”

For additional information about the Hunters Against Hunger program, consult the “2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” or log onto the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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Lower Mountain Fork River offers excellent trout fishing

If you have never been to the lower Mountain Fork River in southeast Oklahoma, you should make plans to head to the pine-covered hills this spring. The rugged beauty of the area alone is reason enough to make the trip. The outstanding trout fishing is icing on the cake.

Both rainbow and brown trout can be coaxed into biting along the 12-mile lower Mountain Fork River Trout Area managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The area is known for trophy trout, in fact, the state record brown trout (9 pound, 12.8 ounces) was broken just a few months ago with a fish from the Lower Mountain Fork River.

The area is no secret to Bryan Ellis, president of the 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

“Oklahoma is a great place to live and go fishing and the lower Mountain Fork River is certainly one of the most outstanding areas in the state,” Ellis said.

Nearly 300 members strong, the chapter has been a partner in developing and improving trout fishing opportunities in the state since its inception nine years ago.

“The 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited has assisted with a wide variety of projects,” said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Department. “Not only have they donated $13,000 to help financially, but their volunteer labor has been an invaluable help as well.”

Projects the group has helped with include: habitat improvement work and creation of a trout rearing pen on the river, installation of an aerator to improve water quality for trout at the Dolese Park Pond and the sale of their special trout habitat caps have generated about $1,700 to improve trout habitat along the lower Mountain Fork.

Surveys indicate that trout fishing pumps about $1 million dollars into the local economy and there are plenty of other activities to enjoy other than just fishing for trout. Canoeing, scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding - these are just a few of the things you can do when you are not wetting a line. Broken Bow Lake is home to the state record largemouth bass and is known for its smallmouth bass, crappie, white bass and walleye. For more information, call the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce at (580) 584-3393.

Stay at one of Beavers Bend State Parks cozy and comfortable cabins and you can go trout fishing just a few steps out your back door. You could also “rough it” at the park’s new lodge where you can have view of Broken Bow Lake out the window of your luxurious room. For more information about the park log onto www.beaversbend.com or call 1-800-435-5514.

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Oklahoma’s botanical heritage posters available soon

The first in a series of posters featuring the biodiversity of Oklahoma will soon be available to the public.

The initial poster, produced by the Oklahoma Biological Survey, highlights a portion of the native plants that characterize Oklahoma. The front of the poster includes a map of the state that depicts five general ecoregions, within each ecoregion section are five plants that represent Oklahoma’s botanical diversity. While many of the plants on the poster are common across the state, others are found less frequently but nonetheless represent our state well. The back of the poster features ecological information, species descriptions, program information - including the Oklahoma Biological Survey, Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory, Oklahoma Natural Areas Registry, and the Bebb Herbarium. The purpose of this poster is to increase awareness among Oklahomans and others about the beauty and diversity of Oklahoma’s native plants.

Posters will be available to the public beginning Monday, April 21 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters located on the southwest corner of 18th and Lincoln in Oklahoma City.

For more information about the poster call Kim Shannon at (405) 325-7658 or the Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory at (405) 325-1985.

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Wildlife conservation funding bills approved by Oklahoma Senate

The Senate passed a pair of bills Tuesday aimed at bolstering the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s efforts to conserve the state’s natural resources.

The Wildlife Department’s primary funding source is the sale of annual hunting and fishing licenses, and the Department does not receive any general state tax appropriations. The two bills call for increases in the cost of both annual and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

The last hunting and fishing license fee increase was approved in 1994, and was projected to provide sufficient revenue to meet the costs of providing services for three to four years. The increase, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1995, was only $2 per license, which was half of the amount requested.

“We’re very pleased that the Senate has approved additional funding for fish and wildlife conservation in the state,” said Richard Hatcher, assistant director for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Inflation, as registered by the consumer price index, has increased 25 percent since our last fee increase was approved in 1994, and the additional revenue from the proposed increase would help restore a number of programs that have been affected by shrinking budgets.

The increased cost of providing services has forced the Department to cut its budget more than six percent in the last five years and the agency has maintained between 25 and 35 unfilled positions as a means of reducing expenditures.

House Bill 1663 would increase most annual hunting and fishing license costs. For example, the cost of a fishing or hunting license would increase from $12.50 to $20.

House Bill 1419 increases the fees for lifetime licenses. A resident lifetime combination hunting and fishing license will go from $525 to $750. This would not generate any direct revenue (the principal of the lifetime license sales cannot be spent, with only the interest on those investments eligible to be spent) but would contribute to future interest income from the lifetime license trust fund.

Both bills would become effective July 1, 2003, according the Senate versions. They now go back to the House of Representatives for consideration of the Senate amendments.

To track active legislation affecting the wildlife and sportsmen of Oklahoma, log on to the Department’s Web site at, www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Turkey hunters look for great second half of season

Reports indicate moderate to excellent success for turkey hunters afield the first two weeks of the season. Several check stations have contacted the Wildlife Department for additional carcass tags and those hunters who haven’t been successful yet are looking forward to the second half of the season.

“Hunters are seeing a lot of birds and I have already heard of several hunters harvesting trophy toms,” said Jack Waymire, southeast region senior biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The season has been going well so far, but I expect it will only get better in the next few weeks.”

Waymire added that weather could be a very important factor when it comes to turkey hunting.

“When it’s real windy, it can be hard to hear birds,” Waymire said. “I think that as the rain moves through and the wind settles down, the turkeys will be a little easier to locate.”

Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor for the Department agreed that the best is yet to come for turkey hunters.

“Turkey populations are up and I’ve heard of quite a few successful hunters,” Smith said. “It seems like the gobbling activity is kicking in a little late this year, but that is great news for the hunters who are out there now. There is going to be some great hunting in the days ahead.”

To hunt turkeys in Oklahoma, hunters must possess a resident or non-resident Oklahoma hunting license or combination license, as well as a turkey permit ($7.75). Lifetime license holders are exempt from having to purchase the turkey permit.

Hunters do not check turkeys taken west of I-35, but all turkeys harvested east of I-35 must be checked at the nearest hunter check station. For more information on regulations and bag limits, consult the “2002-2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” which are available at hunting and fishing license vendors across the state or online at www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Crappie moving shallow

Check out this week’s fishing report from lakes across Oklahoma and you will soon detect a recurring theme.

“Crappie fishing good on jigs in shallow water near brush.”

The reports, compiled by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation personnel and other individuals, are singing a similar tune - crappie fishing is picking up. Crappie fishing is one of the most popular fishing opportunities available and the action is heating up across the Sooner State.

"This is certainly the time of year when anglers begin catching crappie in shallow water," said Barry Bolton, assistant fisheries chief for the Department.

According to Bolton, crappie can be found moving into shallow water to spawn once the water temperature reaches the upper 50s to lower 60s. Crappie spawning generally takes place in water only 18 to 36 inches deep.

“The best place to fish for crappie this time of year is around brush in shallow water," Bolton added. “A small jig or minnow is often very effective and the nice thing is, you can be very successful fishing from shore.”

For a complete list of regulations, anglers should pick up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” before heading out on any fishing adventure and check out specific lake conditions and fishing action by logging on to the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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Don’t forget to apply for controlled hunts

It’s not too late, but time is running short for hunters to submit their applications for the 2003 Controlled Hunts. Applicants have until May 2, 2003, to turn in their applications.

Hunters can apply over the Internet 24 hours a day by logging onto www.wildlifedepartment.com Not only can hunters save a stamp by applying online, they can also confirm that their application has been received as soon as they apply. This year’s Controlled Hunts booklets are also available at hunting and fishing license dealers located throughout the state.

Administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Controlled Hunts Program offers a wide variety of highly desirable hunts through a random drawing. Some hunts are held to provide high-quality hunting experiences on high-profile areas where it is necessary to regulate hunting pressure. Others are held to achieve management goals for certain species, and others are held to provide hunting experiences in areas where access is otherwise limited.

A $5 fee is required of all applicants including lifetime hunting or lifetime combination license holders and that fee is good for all 2003 Controlled hunts applications for one individual. Since the fee is per person and not per application, hunters should decide to apply for all their hunt categories either by mail or online, but not both. Hunters who choose to mail in their applications must complete the processing fee payment form on page 20 of the controlled hunts booklet. Payment can be made by the following methods: cashier's check, money order or credit card.

For complete application instructions, including tips on enhancing your chances of being selected, consult the Oklahoma Controlled Hunts 2003 booklet or log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com

 

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Floating Oklahoma’s streams is a fun way to catch fish

When most people think of fishing they think of heading out to one the state’s numerous lakes or ponds, but Larry McKinney isn’t most people.

McKinney thinks of clear running water, big boulders and towering cottonwoods.

“There is nothing more fun than fishing along the many streams and rivers in the eastern half of the state,” said McKinney, an avid stream fisherman from Midwest City.

Oklahoma is home to more than 20,000 miles of streams and rivers - from meandering rivers big enough for barges to seasonal creeks barely big enough for a canoe. Smallmouth bass are undoubtedly the stars in Oklahoma’s streams, but one of the major draws for fishermen is the diversity the venue offers.

“I like fishing for largemouth or spotted bass, but one of the things I like about it is the fact you never know what you’re going to catch,” McKinney said.

Big bluegill, feisty green sunfish and channel catfish are often caught while floating a stream, but other species unique to streams such as brilliantly colored long eared sunfish or rock bass can be a special bonus.

“I enjoy fishing at the lake, but there is something special about fishing in a stream. It’s always exciting to see what is around the next bend,” McKinney said.

According to McKinney there is no special equipment required to take advantage of this unique fishing opportunity.

“An old pair of tennis shoes and a fishing pole is all you really need, however, it is a lot of fun to float a stream in a canoe, preferably one without a deep keel so you can slide over the rocks better,” McKinney said.

An ultra light rod and reel teamed with a small jig or even a little crankbait can be a quite effective method for catching stream fish. Lures imitating small crayfish or minnows are often the best choice.

When it comes to safety, McKinney says common sense is the order of the day.

“Respect the water, wear your life jacket and take a friend and you will have a great time,” McKinney said.

The eastern half of the state holds the bragging rights for stream fishing. There are many excellent fishing opportunities on the creeks and rivers winding through the area. When you find a place to wet a line, be sure to ask landowner’s permission before crossing private land.

The many tributaries of the upper Mountain Fork River in southeast Oklahoma offer some of the best scenery to go along with your fishing adventure. The Illinois River in northeast Oklahoma is home to several businesses that cater to those looking for a relaxing day on the water. Whether you want to rent a canoe for an afternoon or stay a week. Call the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce for more information (918) 456-3742. The Baron Fork River, Lee Creek and Flint Creek, all in northeast Oklahoma, also offer some great fishing.

Wherever anglers travel on their fishing trips, they are having a big impact on the state’s economy. A recent report by the American Sportfishing Association shows that an impressive $484,178,493 in retail sales were generated by Oklahoma’s anglers, which rippled through the economy to generate $992 million in economic output for the state.

In an effort to ensure the state’s stream fish populations are healthy for generations to come, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has implemented several new fishing regulations. Following are a few of the notable changes for 2003:

In the Illinois River upstream from the confluence of Baron Fork Creek and in Baron Fork Creek, Lee Creek and Little Lee Creek, smallmouth bass have a 9- to 12-inch protected slot limit and a daily limit of six, of which only one may be 12 inches or longer. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have a combined daily limit of six, of which only one smallmouth bass may be 12 inches or longer.

In the Glover River, from the confluence with Little River upstream to the “Forks of the Glover,” smallmouth bass have a 12-inch minimum size limit and a daily limit of three. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have a combined daily limit of six, of which only three may be smallmouth bass.

Anyone with questions about fishing in Oklahoma or about state fishing regulations should contact their local game warden, or contact the Department's fisheries division at (405) 521-3721.

For a complete list of regulations, anglers should pick up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” before heading out on any fishing adventure or log on to the Departments Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Elk hunt on the auction block

Harvesting a bull elk in Oklahoma is certainly a rare opportunity. Hunters now have a chance to not only bid on a fully guided bull elk hunt at Cookson Wildlife Management Area, but also help needy Oklahomans in the process. For the fifth year in a row the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) is auctioning a bull elk hunt, and the proceeds will go to the Department’s Hunters Against Hunger program.

Through a sealed bid auction, the hunter with the top bid has successfully harvested a trophy bull for the past four years. Last year’s winner took a 6x7 bull. The hunt, which generated over $11,000 last year, is a guided three-day hunt anytime in September, October or November 2003 (subject to availability) on the Cookson Hills Wildlife Management Area. The hunter can choose to use a bow and arrow, muzzleloader or modern rifle. The minimum bid for this year’s hunt is $7,500.

Hunters who wish to submit a bid should fill out their name, address, day and evening phone numbers with their bid amount on a card or letter, which must be notarized. Bids can be dropped off at ODWC headquarters or mailed to Oklahoma Auction Elk Hunt, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152. All bids must be postmarked by Tuesday, July 1. Bidding is open to individuals and organizations. The permit may be transferred one time by the successful bidder, but may not be transferred for financial gain. Payment must be received within 10 days of notification.

“Proceeds from the elk hunt auction will assist the Department’s Hunters Against Hunger program,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Department. “Through a network of statewide food banks that distribute donated venison to local shelters, the program has served meals to thousands of needy Oklahomans.”

For additional information about the Hunters Against Hunger program, consult the “2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” or log onto the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Controlled hunts application deadline approaching soon

The deadline is looming - procrastinating hunters have until May 2, 2003 to submit their applications for the 2003 Oklahoma Controlled Hunts program.

Hunters can apply over the Internet 24 hours a day by logging onto www.wildlifedepartment.com Not only can hunters save a stamp by applying online, they can also confirm that their application has been received as soon as they apply. This year’s Controlled Hunts booklets are also available at hunting and fishing license dealers located throughout the state.

Administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Controlled Hunts Program offers a wide variety of highly desirable hunts through a random drawing. Some hunts are held to provide high-quality hunting experiences on high-profile areas where it is necessary to regulate hunting pressure. Others are held to achieve management goals for certain species, and others are held to provide hunting experiences in areas where access is otherwise limited.

A $5 fee is required of all applicants including lifetime hunting or lifetime combination license holders and that fee is good for all 2003 Controlled hunts applications for one individual. Since the fee is per person and not per application, hunters should decide to apply for all their hunt categories either by mail or online, but not both. Hunters who choose to mail in their applications must complete the processing fee payment form on page 20 of the controlled hunts booklet. Payment can be made by cashier’s check, money order or credit card.

For complete application instructions, including tips on enhancing your chances of being selected, consult the Oklahoma Controlled Hunts 2003 booklet or log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com

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