JUNE 2005
NEWS RELEASES

WEEK OF JUNE 30, 2005

WEEK OF JUNE 23, 2005

WEEK OF JUNE 16, 2005

 

WEEK OF JUNE 9, 2005

WEEK OF JUNE 2, 2005

 

Pre-register for the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo and you could win a lifetime hunting and fishing license

         A few minutes of your time could pay off with a lifetime of memories.

         By pre-registering for the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, you will be entered in a special drawing for a lifetime combination hunting and fishing license. You can now register for the inaugural event at wildlifedepartment.com. Thanks to generous sponsors, a total of 32 annual and nine lifetime hunting, fishing or combination licenses will be given away at the event.

         With more than 100 different activities already confirmed, there will be plenty to do during the free, two-day event, which will be held August 27 and 28 at the Lazy E Arena north of Oklahoma City. Young and old alike will be sure to find something that interests them at the Expo from shotgun shooting, to a live butterfly exhibit, to dog training.

             Individuals can increase their odds of winning a lifetime license by participating in the unique hands-on hunter education course offered at the Expo. One of the Expo hunter education course participants will win a lifetime hunting license.

           For complete details on Expo giveaways, including rules and eligibility, log on to wildlifedepartment.com

 

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Women’s shotgun shooting clinic to be held in Tipton

Women of all ages are invited to a free shotgun shooting clinic June 11 in Tipton.  The clinic is sponsored by the National Rifle Association's Women On Target program and the Oklahoma City Gun Club.

"Women have a place in the shooting sports that Women On Target is helping them find, and these instructional shooting clinics are NRA's way of showing women just how enjoyable and fulfilling recreational shooting really is," said Stephanie Henson, NRA Women's Programs manager. "I am especially pleased that this event has been underwritten by a grant from the Oklahoma Friends of NRA State Fund Committee and The NRA Foundation, Inc., allowing more women to receive first-class firearm instruction for very little cost.”

There is no cost to attend the clinic, which will be held at the Tillman County Shooting Sports Range, located one half mile miles south of Tipton on Highway 5. The clinic will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end about 2:30 p.m.

Ed Cunnius, coordinator of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Shotgun Training and Education Program, will be at the clinic to provide one-on-one expert instruction and information.

“It should be a great time. We had more than 70 ladies attend the event last year and we’re expecting another great turnout this year,” Cunnius said.

The goal of NRA's Women On Target program is to introduce women to shooting sports and provide them the opportunity to meet other women with similar interests. This program sponsors women-only instructional shooting clinics and women's hunting excursions nationwide.

All necessary equipment will be provided by the club, including firearms, ammunition, eye/ear protection and lunch. Clinic will feature training in the safe handling of shotguns to help participants learn the fundamentals of shooting in a relaxing and fun-filled environment.

For more information about the Wildlife’s Department’s STEP program log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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One million bats fly at Selman Bat watches                                                                                            

The nightly exodus of one million bats attracts hundreds of visitors to the Selman Bat Watch near Freedom each year, and it is time again to register for the special event. Participants have until June 27 to sign up to attend a Bat Watch in July.

The Selman Bat Watch was ranked in the top 10 “lesser-known, but still jaw-dropping spectacles,” by “Birder’s World” magazine in 2003. It is the northernmost location in the United States to see a Mexican free-tailed bat flight and the only public viewing in Oklahoma. These Mexican free-tailed bats are the same species as those seen at Carlsbad Caverns and the Congress Avenue Bridge in Texas, according to Melynda Hickman, event organizer and biologist at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“If you see the bats’ nightly emergence from a distance, it looks like columns of thick smoke. But when you’re right there within 300 yards of the cave entrance, and the bats pass directly overhead, there’s no doubt you’re seeing and hearing bats. It’s a unique experience,” Hickman said.

The Bat Watches are Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., July 7-30. A Thursday night Kid’s Bat Watch is new this year. It is adapted for children between the ages of three to seven and runs from 7:15 p.m. to approximately 9:45 p.m., depending on when the bats emerge. To register log on to wildlifedepartment.com

The event accommodates 75 people each night, and pre-registration is required. The cost is $10 for adults (13+) and $5 for youth.  Located in northwest Oklahoma, the event begins at Alabaster Caverns State Park and visitors are escorted to the Selman Bat Watch area for an evening of exploring, learning and bat-flight viewing. 

Every spring about 500,000 female Mexican free-tailed bats migrate from Mexico and Central America to arrive at the Selman Bat Cave where they birth their young. Free-tailed bats require a specific cave size and opening for roosting and breeding. According to Hickman, the Selman Bat Cave meets the bats’ needs. It is one of only five major sites in Oklahoma used by females to raise their young.

The bats return year after year to the Selman Bat Cave, which is on a tract of land managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.  The Department purchased the area in 1996 because of its ecological importance to Mexican free-tailed bats and to provide opportunities for people to see and to learn about bats.

 

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 Bill Phelps elected to chair the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission

         The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously voted to approve a new slate of officers who will serve one-year terms beginning July 1. Bill Phelps of Lawton was elected chairman; John Groendyke of Enid will be the vice-chairman; and M. David Riggs of Sand Springs was elected as secretary.

         Phelps, who was appointed to the Commission in 2002, represents District 6 which encompasses Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian, Caddo, Grady, Comanche, Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties. He has worked for CenterPoint Energy for 29 years, and since 1994 has served as the vice president and general manager of its Oklahoma Division. Phelps attended both the University of Arkansas-Monticello and East Texas State University majoring in agri-business.

         “I feel strongly that we need to continue the good work done in providing hunting and fishing opportunities for youth. It is vital that we pass on our love of wildlife and the outdoors to the next generation,” said Phelps, who is an active member of Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Sporting Clays Association.

         According to Phelps, the Commission will also continue to focus on providing more places for Oklahomans to hunt and fish.

         “Providing access to all Oklahomans is something I feel is very important and it is something the Commission will emphasize over the next year,” Phelps said.

         He added that Commission Chairman Bruce Mabrey has provided solid leadership over the past year on a variety of issues and “it will be a challenge to fill his shoes.”

         While there may be plenty of work to do, Phelps said the future of wildlife conservation is bright and he is particularly looking forward to the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo August 27-28 at the Lazy E Arena.

         “I think the Expo is turning out to be a fantastic event for all Oklahomans with an interest in the outdoors, whether they are a long-time hunter/angler or someone who wants to learn more about outdoor activities,” Phelps said. “The Expo will also offer a number of Department employees to showcase their many talents and fields of expertise from wood carving to cooking to fly tying.”

         Also at the June meeting, the Commission accepted a $10,000 donation from NatureWorks, Inc. of Tulsa. The funds will be used for the Department’s Hunters Against Hunger Program.

         “NatureWorks has been a generous supporter of this important program over the last several years,” said Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         Each year Oklahoma hunters donate tens of thousands of pounds of venison to the Hunters Against Hunger program, which facilitates the distribution of deer meat to hungry families in the state.

         “We appreciate the relationship we have with the Wildlife Department and we look forward to many more productive years of this partnership,” said John Reeves, vice president of the NatureWorks board of directors.

         In other business, the Commission approved the 2006 fiscal year budget and received a report on the 2005 Legislative session. For a complete update on wildlife-related bills, log on to the Wildlife’s Department legislative tracker at wildlifedepartment.com.

         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 July 11 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City at 9 a.m.

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“Taste of the Wild” featured at inaugural Wildlife Expo

            Most everyone has tried a helping of fried fish before and hunter’s families often enjoy a big bowl of venison chili, but have you ever tried smoked beaver? You can try all these delicacies and much more at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Aug. 27-28 at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City.

“A Taste of the Wild” is an interactive exhibit where visitor’s can sample wild game cooked on the spot by expert cooks.

“I think folks will really enjoy this part of the Expo,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and one of the many Department employees working on the inaugural event. “It will be a great chance to introduce someone to wild game cooking who hasn’t ever had the opportunity to try it.”

Peoples added that all the recipes used at the event will be available to Expo participants.

“For myself and many other hunters and anglers I know, cooking, serving and eating wild game is a big part of the outdoor experience,” Peoples said.

         Wild game cooking certainly will not be the only highlight of the Wildlife Expo. With more than 100 different booths and activities already confirmed, there will be plenty to do during the free, two-day event, which will be held August 27 and 28 at the Lazy E Arena. Young and old alike will be sure to find something that interests them at the Expo from shotgun shooting, to a live butterfly exhibit, to dog training.

            Participants who pre-register for the Expo at wildlifedepartment.com will be eligible for a special lifetime combination license giveaway. When you pre-register online at www.wildlifedepartment.comand attend the Expo, you will automatically be put in a drawing for a lifetime combination hunting and fishing license.  For complete details on this and other Expo giveaways, including rules and eligibility, log on to wildlifedepartment.com

 

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 Department to hold vehicle auction

         Are you in the market for a used vehicle? If so, you will want to head out to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s public vehicle auction. It will be held Thursday, June 23, at 6 p.m. at the Department’s headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City.

         “We have a good variety of Ford and Chevrolet trucks. All of them are four-wheel drive and many of them are extended cab models,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”

         A total of 25 vehicles will be available at the event, including a 1998 Ford Expedition, a 1997 ton Ford truck and a 1996 Buick Century.

          For more information about the auction call (405) 521-4600 or for a complete list of auction vehicles, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 6:00 p.m. and items may be inspected June 23 from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

 

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Selman Bat watches offer summer adventure       

         If you’re looking for a little fun family adventure this summer, consider attending one of the popular Selman Bat Watches near Freedom this July. Participants have until June 27 to sign up to attend a Bat Watch in July.

         The Bat Watches are Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., July 7-30. A Thursday night Kid’s Bat Watch is new this year. It is adapted for children between the ages of three to seven and runs from 7:15 p.m. to approximately 9:45 p.m., depending on when the bats emerge. To register log on to wildlifedepartment.com

         The event accommodates 75 people each night, and pre-registration is required. The cost is $10 for adults (13+) and $5 for youth.  Located in northwest Oklahoma, the event begins at Alabaster Caverns State Park and visitors are escorted to the Selman Bat Watch area for an evening of exploring, learning and bat-flight viewing. 

          

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Massive indoor ponds to be built inside the Lazy E Arena

The Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City, has certainly seen a wide variety of entertaining events from high-flying motorcycles to not-so-sane bull riders, but the venue has never seen anything like the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.

            For two full days in August (Aug. 27-28), wildlife and fisheries experts and outdoor enthusiasts from across the state will take over the massive arena and grounds welcoming citizens from near and far to learn more about the Oklahoma outdoors.

            “There has never been an event like this in the state. It is exciting to see how it is all coming together,” said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and one of the many Department employees working on the inaugural Expo.

            Visitors to the free event can participate in a very diverse list of fun activities from catching a fish, to painting a wildlife picture to shooting a bow and arrow. 

            “There is going to be so much to do, but I think one of the highlights will be the two indoor ponds we are going to build right into the floor of the arena,” Erickson said. “These aren’t little goldfish ponds either, it is going to take about 155,000 gallons of water to fill them.”

         Participants will be able to try their hand at canoeing and kayaking in one of the ponds. The other will feature a special kid’s casting game along with numerous seminars ranging from fly fishing to learning to use a cast net.

         Dog lovers won’t want to miss the special Big Air Dog demonstration by Tulsa’s own Ken Butler, the Silver Medalist from the 2004 ESPN Great Outdoor Games, and his award-winning Chesapeake Bay retriever. A waterfowl hunting enthusiast, Butler began jumping the dog as a fun experiment that culminated in a near world record jump at last year’s Great Outdoor Games. Butler and partner Douglas Detherow will bring several hunting retrievers that are also competition jumpers and they will conduct exhibitions in the pond inside the Lazy E Arena.

         According to Erickson the indoor ponds would have never been possible without the support of a number of Expo sponsors.

         “I think a few people thought we were a little crazy when we said we wanted to build two ponds inside the arena. But through the generosity of Expo sponsors and the hard work and ingenuity of Department employees, I think these ponds will be great attraction at the Expo,” Erickson said.

         The construction of these unique ponds is made possible by the following sponsors: Aquascapes Designs, Inc., Carlisle Syntec Incorporated, Continental Ponds, Inc., Ero-Tex, Pacific Echo, Raven Industries and Sanctuary Water Gardens

         If all the talk about ponds gives people the itching to go fishing, all they have to do is stroll outside the arena.

         “We’re going to offering special clinics both days at the small lake on the grounds of the Lazy E. We’ll provide the rod and reel and bait – you don’t even need a fishing license at this special event,” Erickson said.

            For complete details about the 2005 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, including how to register to win great Expo prizes, log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com

 

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Young wild animals should be left alone

         Hunters and anglers, and all outdoor enthusiasts, want to give nature a helping hand whenever they can.  But when it comes to young wildlife, the best thing to do is almost always to stand back, stay out of the way and let nature take care of itself.

         “It’s only natural to want to help when we see a young animal. But, despite our best intentions, we can do more harm than good when we interfere,” said Mike Shaw, wildlife research supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         Birds and squirrels can be blown out of their nest in storms, and although they appear alone and helpless, the parents will often find these youngsters and care for them wherever they might be. It is very common for small wildlife to become separated from their nest and siblings, but probably the most common wildlife found alone are white-tailed deer fawns.

         "If you see a fawn by itself, there is a very slim chance that it is an orphan. The doe is likely nearby and waiting for you to leave so she can move her fawn off to safety," Shaw said.

           In Oklahoma, most fawns are born in May and June, and start becoming visible in mid to late June.

          For more information about deer or about wildlife watching opportunities, log onto the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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Study will reveal bat numbers at Selman Bat Cave

            Biologists estimate more than one-million Mexican free-tailed bats spend each summer at the Selman Bat Cave near Freedom, and a current Wildlife Department project will reveal accurate numbers. Wildlife Department Biologist Melynda Hickman leads the on-going study, which captures the bats’ emergence on video for the research team to analyze.

 “We’ll compare Selman numbers from year to year, and we’ll also compare our numbers with other colonies across the southwest to better understand the status of these bats,” Hickman said.

Mexican free-tailed bats winter in Mexico and migrate to the United States each summer to raise their young. The bats prefer to roost in caves made of gypsum rock.

The gypsum requirement limits the free-tails’ range to only five states. Within those states, there are approximately 17 maternity colony locations, five of which are found in Oklahoma. These 17 locations are responsible for each new generation of Mexican free-tailed bats, Hickman said.

“If something were to happen to just one of those caves, it could have a significant impact on their entire population,” she said. 

According to Hickman, the Selman cave serves as an important link in maintaining the northern part of the species’ range because it is far removed from other maternity caves in Texas and New Mexico.

“We think there’s been a population increase in the Selman colony, and as the survey provides year to year data, we’ll know for sure,” Hickman said.

Important free-tailed caves in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico have suffered population losses. Among other threats, biologists have linked high pesticide usage and vandalism to these declines.

Biologists believe the Selman population is doing well because the cave site is far away from urban areas, and agricultural producers in western Oklahoma use fewer pesticides.

Hickman said, “There just aren’t as many insects here for farmers to combat.

“We know the bats at Selman eat about 10 tons of insects every night. The bats are most likely responsible for the low numbers of agricultural pests in this area.”

This study is funded through the State Wildlife Grants program, which provides resources to every state in America for the management of wildlife species not hunted, fished or already endangered.  In Oklahoma, the program benefits 82 percent of the wildlife such as songbirds, lizards and bats.

For more information about participating in a Selman Bat Watch this July, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com

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 Expo offers 100 different booths and activities for wildlife enthusiasts

Ask Melynda Hickman what she thinks is most exciting about the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo and a blank stare will likely cross her face. It’s not that she can’t think of anything, she just can’t think of any one thing.

            “Please don’t ask me to pick my favorite. There is just too much going on to pick just one event,” said Hickman, one of the many Wildlife Department employees working on the free Wildlife Expo, Aug. 27-28, at the Lazy E Arena north of Oklahoma City.

Ask Hickman to pick her top five displays and activities at the Expo and she will list at least 15. And she is only stopping then to catch her breath.

“There is the guided night walk with real live bats, the Forest of Family Fun with a bunch of activities for kids, the different interactive art exhibits like feather painting and wood carving, the wildlife scavenger hunt, then there is the booth where people can see live, trained falcons…,” Hickman continues.

Then she gets a somewhat pained look on her face and exclaims.

“I almost forgot the outside events,” she says. “You’ll be able to learn about camping, bird feeding, rock climbing, attracting wildlife to your backyard and more. You can even try using an atlatl, a spear-throwing device used by early hunters.”

         With more than 100 different booths and activities already confirmed, there will be plenty to do during the free, two-day event, which will be held August 27 and 28, at the Lazy E Arena north of Oklahoma City. Young and old alike will be sure to find something that interests them at the Expo from shotgun shooting, to bird watching, to dog training.

         “There will be a wide range of hunting and fishing related events at the Expo. You can learn how to shoot a shotgun or take the whole family to the family fishing clinic at the pond on the grounds of the Laze E Arena,” said Nels Rodefeld, assistant chief of information and education for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         According to Hickman, many different sponsors, such as the Oklahoma City Zoo, are playing an integral role in the success of the Expo. Other groups such as the Rogers County Conservation District and Rose Rock Landscape and Design have also proven generous with their time and resources, according to Hickman.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the monumental event, which is designed to promote and perpetuate Oklahoman’s appreciation of the state’s wildlife and natural resources.

         Participants who pre-register for the Expo at wildlifedepartment.com will be eligible for a special lifetime combination license giveaway.

         For complete details on Expo giveaways, including rules and eligibility log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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Oklahoma ranks second in hunter growth

Hunting is a safe and growing sport in Oklahoma, so much that the state ranks second in the country according to a recent report published by a trio of national conservation organizations.

            Oklahoma ranks second only to Missouri in hunter replacement ratio, according to the “Families Afield” report published by the National Wild Turkey Federation, the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This ratio represents those entering the sport versus those leaving it. Oklahoma has a 1.1 hunter replacement ratio, meaning that for every 100 individuals who stop hunting, there are 110 new hunters that take up the sport. The national average hunter replacement ratio is .69 and neighboring states of Texas, Kansas and Arkansas rank 21, 23 and 43 respectively.

            “I think this really speaks to the value Oklahomans place on our hunting traditions and it also reflects well on the diverse and healthy game populations we enjoy,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “It’s great to be in second place, but we’re not satisfied there. We are going to continue to work hard to share the hunting heritage with new generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”

            According to the report, hunting is safer than many other popular activities including basketball, baseball, cheerleading, tennis, aerobics and volleyball, When an adult supervises youth hunters they are especially safe. Only .0001 percent of these hunters reported injuries according to the report.

            For more information about hunting in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Texoma producing big stripers

         The water level may be down - six feet low, but rising at last report - but the fishing at Lake Texoma is as good as ever. Anglers on the sprawling reservoir are reporting excellent striped bass fishing over the last several weeks.

         “Not only are folks catching good numbers of stripers, they’re also catching some big fish. I have had several reports of fish from 20 to 25 pounds,” said Paul Mauck, south central region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

          Lake Texoma, located on the Red River along the Oklahoma and Texas border, has earned a reputation as being one of the top striper lakes in the nation. Known for their outstanding fighting abilities, striped bass are long-lived and fast growing. Stripers are voracious predators with a diet consisting mainly of threadfin and gizzard shad.

         "The striped bass population is really in good shape right now. And the number of fish over 20 inches has been impressive during the last few weeks,” Mauck said.

         Anglers are allowed to keep two stripers over 20 inches in length and Mauck is urging anglers to exercise caution once they catch a limit of fish over 20 inches.

         “This time of year schools of stripers will often move to deeper water to find cooler temperatures,” Mauck said. “There can be problems when you pull a big fish up quickly from 30 feet or deeper and then release it. Their air bladders can not compensate for the quick changes in pressure and the fish may die.”

         Mauck said the best thing to do is find another school of fish once anglers have caught two big stripers. Additionally, information on how to release the pressure on the striper’s air bladder can be found at www.wildlifedepartment.com         Those fishing Lake Texoma need either an Oklahoma or Texas annual fishing license, depending on which state's waters they will be fishing, or anglers can purchase a Lake Texoma Fishing License for $12. The Lake Texoma license allows an angler to fish the entire lake.

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Dock Dogs will make a splash at the Wildlife Expo

            The story has simple enough beginnings, but Tulsan Doug Detherow would have never guessed where it would take him.

            Detherow met Ken Butler at a Tulsa Hunting Show about five years ago and the two quickly hit it off. And why not, the pair had plenty in common. They both worked at the same company, although in different divisions, they both shared a passion for hunting ducks and geese and they both loved dogs.

            At the show Ken entered one of his dogs, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, in a contest to see whose hunting retriever could jump the farthest into a large tank of water. Ken’s dog took first place and the very next year Doug was at the contest with his very own Chessie competing in the fledgling sport.

            Dock Dog competitions, as they are now called, have come a long way since then. Today the sport has swelled to include hundreds of jumping dogs at sanctioned events all across the country, complete with big crowds and big money purses. The competitions are featured in ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games. In fact, Butler and his Chesapeake Bay Retriever won a silver medal at the 2004 Great Outdoor Games.

            Today Doug and Ken, who both live in Tulsa, are stars in the world of Dock Dogs, but they’re not getting big heads about the whole thing.

            “We often compete against the same teams at several events, but there aren’t many folks who know our first name. But everybody knows our dogs," Doug said.

            They couldn’t be happier about that either. They take pride in showing off the breed. Most Dock Dogs are small and fast, like Little Morgan the lightening quick black lab who holds the world record at over 26 feet. On the other hand Chessies are generally big and strong. They jump with power rather than speed. You could compare them to Mac trucks versus little sports cars.

            You can see these four-legged athletes at the inaugural Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Aug. 27-28 at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City.

            Butler and Detherow will bring several hunting retrievers that are also competition jumpers and they will conduct exhibitions throughout the Expo at a pond inside the Lazy E Arena.

            With more than 100 different booths and activities already confirmed, there will be plenty to do during the free, two-day event. Young and old alike will be sure to find something that interests them at the Expo from shotgun shooting, to bird watching, to wild game cooking.

            Participants who pre-register for the Expo at wildlifedepartment.com will be eligible for a special lifetime combination license giveaway.

            For complete details on Expo giveaways, including rules and eligibility log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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Boaters needed to take special kids fishing

            Camp Cavett is looking for 75 volunteer boat owners to take kids fishing near Catfish Bay on Lake Texoma, Saturday, July 9.

            Approximately 150 kids with serious medical conditions from the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital will take part in the Eighth Annual Camp Cavett Kid’s Fishing Derby. The camp offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer or sickle cell anemia. People willing to donate their time and boat are in short supply according to personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

            “Some of these kids have had a tough time over the last few years, but they’re just like any other kids they love to go fishing and take a boat ride. Both the volunteers and kids have a great time. It is something we all look forward to," said Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department and president of the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters.

            A free cookout as well as tackle, bait and lifejackets will be provided.

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New law provides exemptions from Fishing and Hunting Legacy permit

         At the close of the 2005 Legislative session, Governor Brad Henry signed several bills that will affect hunters and anglers across the state.

         Oklahomans who are normally exempt from an annual hunting or fishing license will no longer be required to purchase a Fishing and Hunting Legacy permit thanks to House Bill 1814. The bill also allows the Department to use revenue from the permit to purchase, lease, or purchase easements for property to be used for public fishing and hunting.

         “We were pleased that the Legislature passed this bill to provide some exemptions from the Fishing and Hunting Legacy permit. This is the one bill that was requested by the Wildlife Department and we think this will make the permit more equitable for the hunters and anglers of the state,” said Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         A pair of bills affects Oklahoma residents who were injured while serving their country. House Bill 1240 exempts veterans who are 100 percent disabled from all deer archery, deer primitive firearms and deer gun licenses. Senate Bill 498 creates a $25 lifetime combination license for veterans with a compensable disability of 60 percent or more. It also creates a $200 lifetime combination license for veterans who have a compensable disability up to 60 percent.

         Senate Bill 498 also exempts persons fishing in a Department sanctioned aquatic education fishing clinic from fishing license requirements.

         Although not a law, House Concurrent Resolution 1010 directs the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission to adopt rules changing the class hour requirement for the traditional hunter education course from ten hours to eight hours.

         For more information on these bills or to follow the law-making process next year, log on to wildlifedepartment.com and click on Legislative Tracker. Following is a list of other new legislation signed by the Governor that deals with fish and wildlife issues:

    House Bill 1575 - Authorizes residents who are 100 percent disabled and are receiving disability payments from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund to purchase disability hunting and fishing licenses.

    House Bill 1814 – In addition to exempting certain persons from the Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit, it also creates a $5 rattlesnake harvest license for persons who are participating in an organized rattlesnake hunting event or festival.  This license allows people in organized rattle snake hunts to participate without also possessing a hunting or combination hunting/fishing license.

    House Bill 1722 - Provides that any person who has been convicted or has pleaded guilty to two wildlife violations in a two-year period, may, after one year, apply for a new hunting or fishing license only after paying a reinstatement fee of $200 for residents and $500 for nonresidents. The reinstatement fee shall be in addition to other fees required for the hunting or fishing license.

    Senate Bill 685 -  Allows residents of the 49 other states, including Kansas, to purchase nonresident deer, antelope or elk licenses regardless of the license policies in those states.

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