AUGUST 2004 
NEWS RELEASES
 

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 26, 2004

WEEK OF AUGUST 19, 2004

WEEK OF AUGUST 12, 2004

WEEK OF AUGUST 5, 2004

Frederick resident among finalists for national conservationist award

Bill Crawford of Frederick has been named a finalist for a prestigious national award for his contributions to the cause of wildlife conservation.

Crawford, a former Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioner, is one of four finalists for Budweiser’s 2005 Conservationist of the Year award.

The winner of the award will receive a $50,000 grant and the runners up will receive $5,000 each to be used towards wildlife conservation efforts. Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will award the grants. The award will be decided by votes registered at budweiser.com. To vote, log onto budweiser.com, click on “Game Time,” then “Outdoors,” and finally “Conservationist of the Year.” The deadline to vote online is November 26, 2004.

Crawford led a six-year effort to restore what was once the state’s largest natural wetland, Hackberry Flat. The effort involved various corporations, businesses, and the City of Frederick in a partnership that also included state and federal agencies and non-profit conservation organizations. The project began in 1993 and now covers 7,120 acres of wetlands and surrounding uplands.

“Hackberry Flat is the most important wetland restoration project ever attempted in Oklahoma,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Since its dedication, Hackberry Flat has been a haven to thousands of migrating waterfowl, and has provided sportsmen with amazing migratory bird hunting opportunities. The area has also attracted a diversity of wading birds and shore birds. It is rapidly becoming one of the states most visited watchable wildlife areas.”

To learn more about Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area log on to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

Additionally, Crawford is an active member in the Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International. He has been strong supporter of the organization’s efforts to increase youth hunting opportunities.

Currently, he and his wife also are creating a natural history museum in downtown Frederick. The museum will house taxidermy mounts from across the world and the museum is designed to educate the public about the important role sportsmen play in wildlife conservation.

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September 3 deadline for bonus youth deer hunts

Beginning deer hunters have a unique opportunity to participate in five youth controlled antlerless deer hunts that will take place on private lands in several Oklahoma counties. Applications must be received at the Wildlife Department no later than 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 3, 2004.

The hunts are scheduled for either mid October or mid January. This year 47 bonus antlerless deer gun licenses will be drawn for youth 12 to 16 years of age who have completed their hunter education requirements.

"These hunts are on private property and should provide young hunters a great opportunity to see some deer as well as a chance to harvest a doe," said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has endorsed the youth hunt program and we are thankful for the landowners' willingness to allow these kids the opportunity to hunt on their property.”

To apply for a hunt, applicants must send the Department a 4 by 6 index card titled "Private Lands Youth Deer Hunts." The card should provide the hunter's name, date of birth, mailing address, telephone number, hunter education certification number, social security or driver’s license number, their hunt preferences (up to three county choices may be listed) and lifetime license number if applicable. A non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old must accompany the youth, and must also be listed on the index card. The index card should be labeled “Private Lands Youth Deer Hunt” and should be mailed to: Department of Wildlife, Attn: Wildlife Division-Youth Deer Hunts, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

Hunts will be offered in:

Successful applicants will receive a notification letter in the mail about their hunt. The letter will inform them of their selection and provide details about the hunt and license requirements. Selected youth will need to purchase a $10 Resident Youth Deer Gun License unless they possess an Oklahoma Resident Lifetime Hunting or Resident Lifetime Combination License. The youth's non-hunting adult does not need a license. Any antlerless deer harvested during the controlled hunt will be considered bonus deer and will not count against the youths’ combined season limit.

For additional information concerning the hunts, contact the Department at (405) 521-2730.

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Norman hunter education clinic is just a few weeks away

One of the nation’s largest hunter education clinics is just a few weeks away. The 33rd Annual Norman Hunter Education Clinic will be held Saturday, August 21, but the deadline for registering is August 16.

“It’s always a fun time and we think this year’s clinic will be even better. We are going to a home study format, which will allow students to spend less time in what is normally 100-degree heat,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC).

Students must register for the course by calling (405) 521-4636 and then complete a workbook or the Internet course, which they will bring to class. In the past, students were allowed to “walk-in” on the day of the course. That will not be an option this year, as they must pre-register and complete the workbook.

Students will have the opportunity to fire a .22 rifle and participate in field exercises including fence crossing and firearms field carries.

“We don’t want anyone to miss out on this class. That is why it is so important to get registered and complete the workbook,” said Meek.

Currently, workbooks are available at the following locations:

  • ODWC Headquarters, 1801 N Lincoln.
  • H & H Gun Range, 400 South Vermont, Suite 110, Oklahoma City, I-40 and MacArthur.
  • Midwest City Library, 8143 East Reno Avenue, Midwest City, N. Midwest Blvd. and E. Reno Ave.
  • Noble Public Library, 204 North 5, Noble.
  • Tri-City Wal-Mart near Blanchard and Norman Wal-Marts.
  • The Internet version of the course can be found at www.wildlifedepartment.com
  • To find out more about the Norman Hunter Education Clinic or other upcoming clinics, log on wildlifedepartment.com or call (405) 521-4636.

     

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    Zebra mussel larva found in Kaw Lake

    They’re small, they barely even move, but they are bad news. Zebra mussels have been discovered in another Oklahoma lake and that has fisheries biologists concerned.

    Zebra mussel larva were recently discovered in Kaw Lake in north central Oklahoma. The unwelcome visitors likely moved down the Arkansas River from Kansas, according to Everett Laney, fisheries biologist with the Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    Originally from western Asia, these small, rapidly-growing, mussels can cluster together in tightly-grouped colonies.

    “This is the first time we have seen them in Kaw Lake, but zebra mussels have been present in the Arkansas River system for 10 years now, however this year we have seen a significant increase. In the past we have documented infestations of about 500 zebra mussels per square foot at Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam, but this year we have seen infestations as high as 12,400 mussels per square foot,” Laney said.

    These mussels have proven to have a serious impact on both the environment and the economy, according to Jeff Boxrucker, senior fisheries research biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,

    “Nationwide, zebra mussels have a $3 billion negative impact every year on water users. They can alter native ecological systems and disrupt water withdrawal operations by clogging intake pipes,” he said. “They feed by filtering a tremendous amount of water through their shells. By doing so they are competing with native species for a limited amount of nutrients.”

    The mussels could also cause engines to overheat by accumulating in water intakes of inboard and outboard boat motors. Boats should not be left in infested water for extended periods of time. The mussels attach quickly to boat hulls and can affect boat-handling capability, reduce fuel efficiency and slow boating speeds.

    “Unfortunately, there is no feasible means to eradicate zebra mussels from a lake once they have become established,” Boxrucker said. “However, we can take precautions to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels. Probably

    the most important thing you can do is to wash your boat and flush the motor with hot, clean water every time you travel to a different lake.”

    The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Corps of Engineers, and several other state and federal agencies and universities have joined together to form a Zebra Mussel Task Force. This task force was formed to unite the efforts of these organizations in stopping the spread of zebra mussels.

    In addition to washing your boat off with hot water, the Zebra Mussel Task Force also recommends the following practices for boaters:

  • Drain and dry all live wells, bait buckets and bilge areas.
  • Remove any vegetation that is stuck to the boat and trailer.
  • Never transfer water or fish between lakes and reservoirs.
  • For more information about how to stop the spread of zebra mussels or to see a picture of one, log on to the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com

    If you think you may have found a zebra mussel, contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Oklahoma Fisheries Research Laboratory at (405) 325-7288.

    Anglers and boaters can also log on to 100thmeridian.org. The 100th Meridian Initiative is a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies to prevent the westward spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species in North America.

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    Opening day of dove season just days away

    This has certainly not been a typical August in Oklahoma. Cool afternoons and rainy nights have replaced the bone-dry heat of previous summers. The weird weather has many dove hunters wondering how the cool summer might affect opening day of dove season.

    “You might as well try to make a long range forecast of the weather as try to forecast how the dove season is going to be. You just never know until the sun comes up on opening morning,” said Mike O’Meilia, migratory game bird biologist for the Wildlife Department. “The one thing I do know is that you’re not going to have a very good season if you’re at home on the couch watching TV, so just get out there give it a try.”

    Whether it rains or shines, dove season is one of the most highly anticipated hunting seasons in the state – and it is no wonder why. Dove not only offer first class wingshooting and fine tablefare, dove hunting is an easy sport to get started in. A shotgun, an ample supply of shells and a place to go is all you really need to have a great day of dove hunting.

    Dove can be found from one corner of the state to the next, but hunters do not have to travel far to find dove. Recently harvested grain fields and cattle watering ponds on private lands can be excellent places to hunt dove, and they can often be found only a few miles outside city limits. Additionally, excellent hunting can be found on some of the wildlife management areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. In fact many areas of those properties have been managed specifically for doves.

    To find out more about these areas, log onto wildlifedepartment.com and check out the new free digital wildlife management area atlas. In addition to detailed maps, sportsmen can find additional information such as camping locations and contact information for local biologists.

    For complete dove hunting regulations, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” at a sporting goods retailer near you.

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    Noble Foundation to host white-tailed deer management seminar

    Hunters and landowners can learn about 22 years of whitetail deer research during the free White-tailed Deer Management Seminar on Saturday, Sept. 25. The seminar will be hosted by the Noble Foundation at the Pontotoc Technology Center Auditorium in Ada. It will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will include lunch. An in-depth afternoon session, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. will follow at the Wildlife Unit near Ada.

    "This seminar will present information on an essentially free-ranging deer herd from 20-plus years of research, something you won’t find elsewhere," said Ken Gee, a foundation wildlife specialist. "Much of the research we've done has management applications."

    The program at the Pontotoc Technology Center will cover aging deer by tooth wear, food habits of whitetail deer in the cross timbers, the drop-net system for trapping deer, breeding success of deer, use of infrared-triggered cameras and a presentation on antler development and doe group dynamics.

    Presentations at the Wildlife Unit will be cover infrared-triggered cameras for deer surveys, food plant identification and diversity and antler development.

    "The session at the Wildlife Unit will be an opportunity to get a hands-on look at technology such as camera equipment and the drop net technique," Gee said.

    Pre-register for the seminar by calling Melissa Castleman at the Noble Foundation at (580) 223-5810 by Sept. 19 in order to guarantee a seat.

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    Now is the time to find a hunter education class near you

                From Lawton to Oologah to McAlester to Woodward there are 60 different hunter education courses scheduled in the next six weeks. Now – more than ever – is the perfect time to get yourself or family signed up.

                “This is the prime time to take a hunter education course. Right now there are more courses in more areas than there will be the rest of the year. As the weeks go by, the number of courses will slowly dwindle, so don’t wait until it is too late to find one near you," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "With the youth antlerless deer gun season coming up October 15-17, now is the time to get your young hunter in a class."

                Anyone born on or after January 1, 1972, upon reaching 16 years of age must have completed a certified hunter education course in order to purchase a hunting license. Additionally, any hunters under the age of 16 (below the age required to purchase a hunting license) must complete a hunter education course in order to use a firearm to hunt big game (deer, elk or antelope).

                Approximately 14,000 hunter education students are certified annually at more than 300 courses statewide. To find out more about the hunter education program or to find a course near you, log on wildlifedepartment.com or call (405) 521-4650.

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    Fourth annual BioBlitz will be in Okmulgee

                A gathering of scientific minds creates the opportunity for hands-on learning about plants and animals living in the neighborhood.

                Oklahoma’s fourth annual BioBlitz will showcase Okmulgee’s natural world as scientists, educators, students and volunteers gather at Okmulgee/Dripping Springs State Park, Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11.

                Volunteers from across the state will scramble for 24 hours to find as many living organisms as possible in a 4,000-acre area. Everything living is fair game, from plants to insects to mammals, fish, birds and microorganisms in the soil. The inventory area includes the state park and the Wildlife Department’s Okmulgee Wildlife Management Area.

                Doug Fox of the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma has assisted with event coordination the past several years.

                “It’s exciting to watch kids and adults learn about things they’ve been living next door to their entire lives but have never known about.  Last year, we uncovered 1,071 different species. You don’t have to go to Florida or South America to find biodiversity.  We’ve got it right here,” Fox said.

                The public is invited to visit “base camp” at Okmulgee State Park Saturday, Sept. 11 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors can see examples of the specimens being collected, meet with scientists and discover how fieldwork is conducted. Base camp is located at Pin Oak Landing, near the Okmulgee Lake dam, five miles west of Okmulgee on SH-56.

                For a more hands-on experience, inventory volunteers are welcome, Fox said.  The inventory begins at 3 p.m., Sept. 10 and ends at 3 p.m., Sept. 11.  No experience is necessary, and there is no charge. A Friday night BBQ and camping area will be provided for all volunteers.  To be included on an inventory team, download a registration form at www.biosurvey.ou.edu/BioBlitz.html.

                Fox said that the event has evolved over the years thanks to great event sponsors. Last year hailed the introduction of an education field day. It introduced 170 Woodward area students and teachers to bats, insects, and water resources.

                “I had a blast watching the kids go from one learning station to another. There was all this energy between the scientists and students,” Fox said.

                The BioBlitz Education Team received a $15,000 grant from the National Geographic Society’s Education Foundation for this year’s field day. They hope to reach 250 students, according to Wendy Gram, director of educational programs at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

                The field day is a hands-on outdoor classroom.  It introduces elementary school students and their teachers to local reptiles and amphibians, mammals, fish, insects and other wildlife.

                “The students work directly with field scientists to collect data, interpret landscape maps, and identify local plants and animals. We help students learn how they can investigate the plants and animals that live in their own back yards,” Gram said.

                The Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma organizes BioBlitz and it is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education, and Department of Tourism and Recreation. Local sponsors include the Okmulgee County Conservation District and Okmulgee Main Street.

                BioBlitz occurs in a different Oklahoma community each year.  It has previously been held in Norman, Broken Bow and Woodward.   For more information about BioBlitz visit www.biosurvey.ou.edu/BioBlitz.html.

     

    BioBlitz Events at a Glance

    Date & Time                                Event                                                    Place

    Tues., Aug. 31  
    9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.                      4-5th Grade Teacher Workshop                Okmulgee State Park: Pin Oak Landing

     Thur., Sept. 9     
    7 p.m. – 8 p.m.                          BioBlitz Open House                             Citizen’s Bank Meeting Room

    Fri., Sept. 10 
    9 a.m. – 2 p.m.                          BioDiversity                                           In Action Field Day   Okmulgee State Park: Pin Oak Landing

    Fri., Sept. 10 – Sat., Sept. 11

    3 p.m. – 3 p.m.                          BioBlitz –24-hour species inventory         Okmulgee & Dripping Springs state parks  and Okmulgee Wildlife Management Area

    Sat., Sept. 11
    10 a.m. – 2 p.m.                          BioBlitz’ Public Viewing                        Okmulgee State Park: Pin Oak Landing

     

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    Plan for archery season success today

                The first of Oklahoma's big game seasons, the archery deer season is one of the most popular activities available to Oklahoma hunters. The long season runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15, allowing ample opportunity for even the busiest hunters. Not only does the sport offer plenty of time in the woods, a new hunter can get started for a relatively small investment.

                "First time archers looking to purchase a bow should consult an archery pro-shop manager. There are a number good deals out there on used and new archery equipment. Most archery pro-shops will set a bow up for you so you can shoot it before you buy it,” said Colin Berg, avid bowhunter and education supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

                According to Berg, it is particularly important that new hunters spend time practicing shooting an arrow accurately and consistently.

                "You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t practice your chances of success are slim,” Berg said. “Disciplined practice is what separates the good shooters from the mediocre ones.”

                Harvesting a deer with bow and arrow is a great test of a hunter’s skills, and successfully harvesting an animal requires a perfect blend of many elements. There is no better time than right now to begin learning the skills of a successful archer.

                For more information about archery hunting opportunities pick up a copy of the “2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” available at sporting goods retailers. To learn more about public hunting opportunities log on to wildlifedepartment.com and check out the new free digital wildlife management area atlas.

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    Free dove hunting Sept. 4-5

    There’s nothing better than sharing your love of hunting with someone else and Oklahoma’s free hunting days - Sept. 4 and 5 - offer Oklahoma residents the chance to introduce friends and family to the sport of hunting.

    "Not only is it a great time to take a kid hunting, it’s also a great time to introduce adults to our sporting heritage as well," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Both squirrel and dove are plentiful around the state and offer sportsmen lots of action during early September."

    Before you head out on any hunting trip, be sure to pick up a copy of the "2004-05 Oklahoma Hunting Guide," available at sporting goods retailers and license vendors statewide. The guide offers complete regulations pertaining to dove and squirrel hunting as well as information about public hunting areas in the state.

    Hunters who are considering purchasing a lifetime hunting or fishing license this year should remember that lifetime licenses will increase by $25 beginning September 1, 2004. The increase will cover the cost of the new Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit. Current lifetime license holders are exempt from the permit.          

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     Karl White to be honored with statewide award 

                Visitors to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks are quickly lured to the “Karl and Beverly White National Tackle Museum.” This first-class exhibit is a favorite of many visitors to the Aquarium, located in Jenks alongside the Arkansas River.

     The Oklahoma Museums Association has recognized the fascinating exhibit by announcing that Karl White will be recognized at their 2004 Awards Program. The awards recognize outstanding achievement by museums and individuals throughout the state during the past year. 

    Karl White, of Luther, Oklahoma, will receive a Certificate of Recognition for donating his fishing tackle collection to the Oklahoma Aquarium. White’s fishing tackle collection has been compiled over the course of 55 years with White and his wife, Beverly, traveling all over the country in search of that rare item, purchasing entire collections or individual fishing lures, rods, reels, bait buckets, etc.

    This entire collection, appraised at $4 million, was donated to the Oklahoma Aquarium in 2002 and is housed in the “Karl & Beverly White National Fishing Tackle Museum.” The highest price White paid for a single piece was $31,350 for the Snyder Reel, the first bait-casting reel produced. Also among the collection are many “firsts,” such as the Skeeter Bass Boat, which was barely recognizable when purchased, but has been restored to its original beauty.

    White serves as Curator Emeritus of the museum and is still very involved with his collection, continuing to purchase pieces to enhance the collection. White also serves as a consultant for BASSMASTER magazine with a column entitled “What’s It Worth?” In the column, he appraises, identifies and answers questions concerning antique tackle.

    Not only can visitors see the Tackle Museum and hundreds of species of fish from around the world, but they can also stop by the Wildlife Department office located on the northwest corner of the Aquarium premises. From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. visitors can stop by the Department’s office to purchase a fishing license, pick up a new copy of the hunting guide or ask questions of Wildlife Department personnel.

    The Oklahoma Aquarium is open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays until 9:00 p.m. General Admission prices are $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors and military (I.D. required) and $8.95 for youth (ages 3-12). Children under three are admitted free.

    Driving Directions to the Oklahoma Aquarium:

    From the Creek Turnpike: Take the Peoria/Elm exit, turn north, go one block to Aquarium Drive (101st), and turn right. Take Aquarium Drive east to the river and you will drive right to the Oklahoma Aquarium Entrance.

    From Highway 75: Take the Jenks Main Street exit and go east to the 9th Street light. Turn left on 9th Street, turn right at the marquee sign and drive under the bridge to the Oklahoma Aquarium.

    From I-44/Riverside: Take Riverside Drive south to 96th Street. Turn right onto 96th street and right again at the 9th Street light to the Oklahoma Aquarium Entrance. 

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     Duck blind drawings to happen Sept. 25 

    Drawings for permanent duck blinds on Fort Gibson, Eufaula and Webbers Falls lakes will take place Sept. 25. Anyone wanting a permanent blind permit must be 16 years of age and they must be present at the drawings, which will be held at the Wildlife Department’s northeast regional office in Porter. 

    Schedule for Duck Blind Drawings

    7:00 a.m. Registration for Fort Gibson Lake
    8:00 a.m. Drawing for Fort Gibson Lake Permits

    9:30 a.m. Registration for Eufaula Lake
    10:30 a.m. Drawing for Eufaula Lake Permits
     

    12:00 p.m. Registration for Webbers Falls Lake
    1:00 p.m. Drawing for Webbers Falls Lake Permits 

    The duck blind drawing for Waurika Lake will be held September 25, 9 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers office at the dam at Waurika Lake.

    The duck blind drawing for W.D. Mayo Lake will be held September 25, 10 a.m. at Spiro City Hall, located at the south end of main street in Spiro.

    Applicants must have an Oklahoma hunting or combination license and a valid state waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp, unless they are exempt. Additionally, they need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit.

     

     

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