SEPTEMBER 2005 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 29, 2005

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 22, 2005

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 15, 2005

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2005

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2005

Inaugural Wildlife Expo proves to be huge success

More than 45,000 people participated in the first Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City last weekend.

            “It was without a doubt the biggest outdoor related event in the state’s history. To say the Expo was a success would be a big understatement,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who hosted the event. “Before the event many people told me they had very high expectations. Then, after it was over, many of those same folks told me it was bigger and better than they thought it would be.”

            According to Duffy, the success of the Wildlife Expo shows the passion that Oklahomans share for the outdoors.

            “About one in three Oklahomans hunt or fish and even more enjoy watching wildlife,” he said. “And for about an hour or so on Saturday it seemed like every one of them had come to the Expo. We are already working hard on next year’s Expo and I think we have some good ideas on new events and ways we can spread out the crowd and provide better access to the arena.”

         The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation partnered with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the monumental event, which featured more than 100 hands-on activities. The Expo was designed to promote and perpetuate the appreciation of Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor recreation.

         “I spent some time visiting with participants and it was great to hear how many of them were trying one of the activities, like archery or rock climbing, for the first time,” said Duffy. “In Oklahoma we are blessed with so many ways to enjoy the outdoors and the Expo certainly showcased that.”

         According to initial survey results, more than 80 percent of Expo participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the Expo and said they were likely or very likely to attend the 2006 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.

         Wildlife Department officials have already said that there will be an Expo next year and they will build on this year’s success to make it even better. Check the Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com in the coming weeks to see the dates for next year’s event.

        

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Cutline: More than 45,000 people attended the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo last weekend. According to early survey results more than 80 percent of the visitors said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the inaugural event.

 

Cutline: Visitors were lined up Sunday morning to try more than 100 hands-on activities at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.

  

Record deer measured at Oklahoma Wildlife Expo

        A massive, non-typical whitetail deer rack with 24 scoreable points was officially scored at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, Saturday, August 27, at the Lazy E Arena. Measuring 248 6/8 inches, the deer was taken by Michael Crossland of Grandfield and is the new number one Cy Curtis entry.

        Crossland took the huge buck in Tillman County which was previously reported to have 31 points. The antlers were held as evidence in a court case and Crossland took possession of them August 2 when the case was dismissed by a Tillman County judge.

         The former non-typical Cy Curtis record whitetail, taken in 2003 in Hughes County, scored 240 3/8 and had a total of 29 points. Crossland’s buck also surpasses the current Oklahoma Boone and Crockett record non-typical whitetail taken in Johnston County in 1970 which scored 247 2/8 inches.

         More than 45,000 people attended the Wildlife Expo hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Participants were able to stroll through more than 100 different booths and hands-on activities during the free, two-day event.

 

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Department schedules pre-employment exam

         The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a standardized pre-employment examination Friday, Sept. 30, at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium at Rose State College.

         The exam is for individuals seeking employment as fisheries or wildlife biologists, game wardens, hatchery managers and technicians and information and education specialists. It will cover state and federal wildlife laws and regulations, fisheries and wildlife management, Oklahoma geography and biological and environmental sciences relating to fish and wildlife.

         Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period, and test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date. Applications for employment will be sent to individuals with the top 25 scores. Taking the exam does not guarantee employment, nor does the exam necessarily indicate the Department currently has openings. Interviews will be scheduled only when an opening is available.

         The Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium is north of Interstate 40 at the intersection of I-40 and Hudiburg Rd. in Midwest City. The doors will close promptly at 10 a.m. Those arriving after 10 a.m. will not be permitted to take the exam. The free exam is open to anyone who meets the education requirements for the tested positions.

         For more information about the exam or hiring process, contact the Wildlife Department’s Human Resources office at (405) 521-4640 or check the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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 Commission hears of the “tremendous success” of first Oklahoma Wildlife Expo

            The inaugural Oklahoma Wildlife Expo was a tremendous success with more than 45,000 attending the event, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation told the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission at its September meeting.

            By every account the Wildlife Expo was a tremendous success,” Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told the Commission. “The dedication, passion and talents of the 250 Wildlife Department employee volunteers and the 650 non-employee volunteers really shined through.”

        The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation partnered with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the monumental event, which featured 175 hands-on booths and activities. The Expo was designed to promote and perpetuate the appreciation of Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor recreation.

            According to initial survey results, 60 percent of the participants attended with families and the comments have been very positive.

        Hatcher said about one third of Expo participants tried an outdoor activity for the first time and about two thirds of those individuals said they plan to try the new activity again within the next year. One of the more popular venues involved shotgun shooting, where more than 1,800 people participated in the Department’s Shotgun Training and Education Program over the two-day Expo.

            Also at their September meeting, the Commission approved Wildlife Department personnel to work on five- to seven-day rotations for hurricane relief in Louisiana and other states. All personnel or equipment funds expended by the Wildlife Department will be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Wildlife Department Director Greg Duffy said that the Department has not yet been asked, but if it were, Department services would not be affected.

            In other business, the Commission approved the 2005-06 duck and goose hunting season dates and daily limits. The seasons and daily limits will be similar to last year, with most of the state enjoying a 74-day duck season and six-bird daily limit. One significant difference is that hunters and waterfowl will enjoy a 12-day mid season closure. In past years the closure period, commonly referred to by waterfowlers as the “split” has run only five days.

            “We worked within the federal frameworks to allow the same number of open season days and increase the length of the split. We think this will allow the migrating birds a better rest period and will provide hunters with a second opening day with fresh birds,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

            Hunters should consult the “2005-06 Waterfowl Hunting Guide” for complete hunting regulations and license requirements. Waterfowl Guides will be available by Oct. 1 at hunting and fishing license dealers statewide or hunters can obtain complete regulation information from the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

            In housekeeping business, the Commission approved rule changes governing ATVs and off road vehicles on Ouachita, Black Kettle and Rita Blanca wildlife management areas. The changes allow the language in the Wildlife Department rules to match rules already in place established by the U.S. Forest Service, which is the federal agency that oversees the use of national forests and grasslands.

            The Commission also approved a permanent rule that currently is in effect that would exclude about two miles of the Lower Mountain Fork River from the trout license requirement for those fishing for species other than trout. Specifically, the area is from the mouth of Rough Branch Creek downstream to the re-regulation dam, commonly call the re-reg lake. All other special fishing regulations that currently apply in this area remain in effect.

            After meeting in executive session, the Commission moved that the Wildlife Department sell real estate property in Marshall County at no less than any other state agency that sold land there, however no less than the appraised value.

            The Commission’s next regular meeting will be Oct. 3 at the Wildlife Department’s headquarters in Oklahoma City.

            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.

 

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Waterfowl season includes new 12-day mid season split

         Dates have been set for Oklahoma's upcoming waterfowl season and waterfowl hunters across the state can look forward to another productive season.

         The seasons and daily limits will be similar to last year, with most of the state enjoying a 74-day duck season and six-bird daily limit. However there were three changes made to the 2005-06 seasons.

         First, hunters and waterfowl will enjoy a 12-day mid season closure. In past years the closure, known commonly as the “split,” has run only five days.

         “We worked within the federal frameworks to allow the same number of open season days and increase the length of the split. We think this will allow the migrating birds a better rest period and will provide hunters with a ‘second’ opening day with fresh birds,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         Second, the daily limit on scaup will be reduced from three to two birds. And third, the daily limit on white-fronted geese will be reduced from two birds to one bird. These reductions were required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and were designed to ensure the long term population health of these two species.

         “Of course, in Oklahoma our waterfowl season is always dependent on the weather to the north, but from every indication it looks like we should have another good waterfowl season,” Peoples said.

         In zone 1 (most of northwest Oklahoma), the first half of the duck season will open Oct. 29 and run through Dec. 4, with the second half beginning Dec. 17 and running through Jan. 22, 2006.  Pintail and canvasback season will open Oct. 29 and run through Dec. 4, and then re-open on Dec. 17 and run through Dec. 18. Youth waterfowl hunting days in zone 1 will be Oct. 22 and 23.

         In zone 2, the duck season will run from Nov. 5 through Dec. 4 and Dec. 17 through Jan. 29, 2005. Pintail and canvasback season will open Dec. 22 and run through Jan. 29. Youth waterfowl hunting days in zone 2 will be Oct. 29 and 30. 

         Panhandle counties will offer the longest duck season. Opening Oct. 8 and running continuously through Jan. 11, 2006. Pintail and canvasback season will open Oct. 8 and run through Nov. 15. Youth waterfowl dates for the panhandle will be Oct. 1 and 2.

         Hunters will be allowed a daily limit of six ducks combined, no more than five of which can be mallards. Of those, only two mallards may be hens. Only two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads may be included in the daily limit. There is a shortened season on pintails and canvasbacks with a daily limit of one pintail and one canvasback during the specified time period in each of the established duck seasons.

         The statewide Canada goose season will run from Nov. 5 through Dec. 4 and Dec. 10 through Feb. 12, 2006. The daily limit will be three birds.  The season for white-fronted geese will run Nov. 5 through Dec. 4 and Dec. 10 through Feb. 3, 2006.  The daily bag limit is one. The regular season for light geese (snows, blues and Ross’) will run Nov. 5 through Dec. 4 and Dec. 10 through Feb. 12. The daily bag limit is 20.

         Sandhill crane season will be from Oct. 29 – Jan. 29, west of I-35 only. The daily limit will be three birds.

         Hunters can log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com to check out the latest wetland status reports. Once the season begins, periodic waterfowl reports are also available at the Department’s Web site.

         Hunters who wish to participate in the waterfowl season must have a resident or non-resident hunting license, a 2005 Federal Duck Stamp, and unless exempt, a 2005 Oklahoma Waterfowl License, a Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit and a Harvest Information Program Permit. The federal duck stamp costs $15 and is available at U.S. Post Offices. Hunters pursuing sandhill cranes must also purchase a separate sandhill crane hunting permit.

         Hunters should consult the “2005-06 Waterfowl Hunting Guide” for complete hunting regulations and license requirements. Waterfowl Guides will be available by Oct. 1 at hunting and fishing license dealers statewide or hunters can obtain complete regulation information from the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Guided waterfowl hunts offered to youth in northeast Oklahoma

Young hunters will want to put their name in a drawing for the Youth Waterfowl Hunt and Field Day at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge near Vian, Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is hosting the special hunt, along with help from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Oklahoma State Game Warden Association.

To be a part of this event, youth must be ages 14 or 15 at the time of the hunt  and they must submit a postcard to the refuge. There will then be a random drawing to select the participants for the event.

The event will be held Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, 2005. The first day will be a field day with activities such as duck calling, hunting safety, decoy placement, waterfowl identification, retriever demonstration and shotgun shooting. The second day will be the hunt day and participants will be taken on a guided waterfowl hunt.

To participate in this event, anyone that will be age 14 or 15 at the time of the hunt must submit a postcard with their name, address and age to:

 

Youth Hunt

Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Rt. 1 Box 18-A

Vian, OK  74962

All entries must be received by November 1, 2005. Lodging will not be provided, however there will be special discount rates available at an area motel. Lunch will be provided on the field day and breakfast will be provided on the hunt day.

 

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35-pound channel catfish breaks state record

         A routine fishing trip turned into a record-breaking day for one Muskogee man. Gary Doak Jr. caught a 35-pound, 15-ounce channel catfish while bass fishing Sept. 11 at Taft Lake west of Muskogee.

         “If someone told me there was a fish that big in the lake I would have probably said they were crazy,” said Doak, Oklahoma’s newest record fish holder. “That is one of the things that makes fishing so much fun – you throw your line in the water and you never know what will bite on the other end.”

         Doak, who lives in Muskogee, got more than he bargained for when he hooked the huge fish in the predawn hours of Sunday, Sept. 11.

         “I was bass fishing just before sunrise when the catfish hit in about 10-12 feet of water. I didn’t know what it was, but I was hoping it was a state record bass. It kind of pulled me around for some time in my little boat – I was just hoping my rod and reel would hold together,” Doak said.

         Doak was using a two-inch long plastic sunfish bait and 16-pound test line. He realized he had a catfish when he went to scoop it up in the dip net.

         “There was no way that fish was going to fit in the dip net, so I just horsed it in as best I could,” he said. “Because it was still dark and it was so big, I assumed it was a blue cat.”

         It wasn’t until the sun came up that Doak realized he had caught a channel catfish, but he still didn’t realize he had a potential state record.

         “When I told a buddy I had caught a channel catfish that might weigh 30 or 35 pounds, he said to take the thing straight to the nearest certified scales,” Doak said.

         He quickly contacted officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who certified the fish as the new state record. The huge fish was 39 1/4 inches long and measured 26 1/4 inches in girth. Doak plans on having a taxidermist mount the fish.

         The previous channel catfish record of 34 pounds, 11 ounces was set by Barry Bond who pulled the big catfish from Canton Lake in May of 2002.

            For a complete list of record fish and the procedures regarding certifying state record fish, consult the “Oklahoma Fishing Guide.” 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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Cutline: Gary Doak Jr. of Muskogee caught a state record 35-pound, 15-ounce channel catfish while bass fishing Sept. 11 at Taft Lake west of Muskogee. 

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 August quail roadside survey up 72 percent over last year

         August roadside surveys conducted by personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation show a statewide increase of 72 percent over the 2004 survey.

         “We do these surveys in both August and October. The August results look promising, but the October counts should give us a better picture on this fall's quail population,” said Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Wildlife Department.

         Not only are this year’s results significantly higher then in 2004, but also the statewide quail index is up 53 percent from the previous 15-year average.

         “August survey results suggest the 2005 quail hunting season will be a good one.  Despite periods of drought this spring and mid summer, rains and mild temperatures have been timely and early reproductive efforts appear largely successful,” Sams said. “The number of broods observed during the survey increased from 44 in 2004 to 73 in 2005.”

         Sams added that results of the August survey generally don’t include quail produced from late nesting attempts, which typically peak in late August.

         The August surveys showed increases in quail numbers over last year in all regions with the exception of the southeast region. The largest increases were observed in the southwest, northcentral and northwest regions.

         Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologists have conducted the roadside surveys during both August and October for the past 16 years. Observers count the number of quail seen to provide an index of quail abundance and reproductive success. There are 83 different 20-mile routes located throughout the state except for Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.

         Running Nov. 12, 2005 - Feb.15, 2006, quail season is one of the most popular events in the state, drawing hunters from all over the nation to enjoy some of America's finest bird hunting. For complete August roadside survey data, log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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    Cutline: The outlook is promising for the upcoming quail season according to Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

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 Archery season offers ample time to head to the woods

         Coming off a record setting archery season, deer hunters are looking forward to the opening of the archery deer season on October 1. During the 2004 archery deer season, bowhunters harvested 14,639 whitetail deer, topping the previous record of 14,278 set in 2002. The archery harvest was 16 percent of the total deer harvest.

         Running from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15, deer archery season offers more than 100 days of hunting. The first of Oklahoma's big game seasons, the archery deer season attracted more than 81,000 Oklahoma hunters last year.

         With few exceptions, the majority of Oklahoma’s more than 75 public wildlife management areas are open to deer archery hunters for all or part of the season. The following is a short list of wildlife management areas with good bowhunting opportunities – for a complete list or to view the Department’s award-winning online maps, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

         For more information about public hunting areas pick up a copy of the  "2005-06 Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”         Hunters can also find updated check station locations, antlerless dates and zones, and a wealth of other information in the guide or by logging on to the Department's Web page at wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Wildlife Department implements fuel conservation strategies

Gas prices are high and seem to be getting higher every month - not exactly breaking news. But rather than just increasing spending for fuel, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is taking measures to improve fuel efficiency.

“Hunters and anglers entrust us with their license dollars wisely and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We should be a leader in getting the most out of our fuel budget that we can. We think those dollars should go to fish and wildlife conservation efforts instead of the pump.”

The Wildlife Department is the state agency charged with managing Oklahoma’s rich wildlife and fisheries resources and has employees in every county of the state. The Department’s 325 employees drive approximately a million miles every year.

“Just like many Oklahomans, we as an agency looked at our fuel budget and realized that we could not, or should not, continue with business as usual,” Duffy said. “For example, our employees will be driving 60 miles per hour, not the posted speeds of 70 or 75. This may seem like a small step, but when you cover as much ground as we do, it can add up to significant savings.”

The Wildlife Department has also instituted a four-day, 10-hour work week for many of its employees.

“Sportsmen won’t see any effect in terms of the services we provide, but by increasing our efficiency we can decrease the time we spend on the road and decrease spending at the pump,” Duffy said.

The agency is not stopping there. According to Duffy, the Wildlife Department continues to look at its vehicle fleet with an eye to making it more efficient. Vehicle maintenance, like keeping clean air filters and properly inflated tires, will also be a priority.

“The Wildlife Department does not receive any money from general tax revenues with our budget coming primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing license dollars. We want to spend the sportsmen’s money carefully because that’s the responsible thing to do,” Duffy said.

Duffy conceded that no matter how efficient the Department becomes, energy costs will always be a significant portion of the budget.

“We’ll always have to buy fuel and keep the lights on, but we are confident that hunters and anglers want us to be prudent so that we spend their dollars on a wide variety of services that have longer-lasting benefits, like wildlife protection, habitat improvement, fisheries research and education programs for the next generation.”

For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Oklahoman chosen by the Secretary of Interior to judge federal duck stamp contest

         Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton called on Bill Crawford, of Frederick, to serve as a judge in this year’s federal duck stamp contest, held in Memphis, TN, Sept. 14-15.

         Crawford, an innovative and committed wildlife conservationist, spearheaded one of the most ambitious wetland restoration projects ever undertaken – the $10-million Hackberry Flat Wetland Restoration Project – that acquired and restored a 7,200-acre natural wetland basin.  The project, managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, has received national attention for its importance to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

         “The duck stamp program has a long history as an important tool in wetland conservation and it was a real honor to be a part of that process,” Crawford said. “It was an extremely gratifying experience, but it was difficult choosing among so many great entries. There were more than 230 entries from wildlife artists all over the United States,”

         Sherrie Russell Meline, from Mt. Shasta, California, took first place honors with her painting of Ross' geese and her art will grace the 2006-2007 Federal Duck Stamp. The sale of Federal Duck Stamps raises approximately $25 million each year to fund waterfowl habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

         "Sherrie Russell Meline's beautiful rendition of Ross' geese continues the duck stamp's tradition of outstanding wildlife art," said Matt Hogan, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "More important, it will help us convey the importance of preserving our nation's wetland habitat and the wildlife and communities it supports."

         All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry duck stamps. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp goes into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which purchases wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

         Russell Meline has entered the Federal Duck Stamp competition 15 times over the last 25 years. 

         "I am very honored and flattered," said Russell Meline. "I am completely honored to have been in the competition with the best artists out there, and I’m totally shocked that I won."

         Russell Meline's winning artwork is a close-up of a Ross' goose in reeds with several flying birds in the background. She completed the work over a four-month period. Russell Meline was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in fine arts. She began her art career doing three-dimensional art, but was inspired to paint waterfowl after she began collecting waterfowl decoys. 

         Second place went to Bruce Miller of Mound, MN, who painted a pair of northern shovelers. Third place went to Jim Caturia of Cottage Grove, MN, who also painted a male northern shoveler.

         The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the nation's longest running federally-sponsored art competition. No cash prize is awarded, but winning can boost the professional reputation of even a previously unknown wildlife artist. Winning artists stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of limited edition prints of their duck stamp designs.

         Crawford served as part of a five-judge panel and joins a short list of only 160 people to receive the judging honor in the stamp's 71-year history.

For more information about the history of the federal duck stamp program, log on to www.duckstamps.gov. For more information about duck hunting in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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 Cutline: Weeds are an important part of quality quail habitat, according to Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Landowners can increase the plant diversity and quail cover on their property through a range of management techniques such as disking, prescribed fire and controlled grazing.

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Weeds – good for quail, bad for allergies

            Weed pollen may have many Oklahomans reaching for a tissue this fall, but that is good news for quail, according to Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“Biologists call them forbs, but everybody else calls them weeds,” Sams said. “These forbs or weeds are often overlooked as an important component in quality quail habitat.”

While weather patterns often dictate booms in quail populations, no boom would be possible without habitat, and weeds are an important part of quail habitat.

            “There’s nothing we can do about the weather, but we can work hard to make sure that quality habitat is available for quail. Good habitat, and weeds are a part of good habitat, is like a buffer - it can lessen the impact of severe weather swings,” Sams said. “While weeds are cussed and discussed by landowners managing for grass, weeds are a life blood of quail in native brushy prairie.”

            According to Sams, one of the most important factors in quality habitat is weed diversity.           Sams points out that ragweed, sunflowers, crotons, smartweed and many other weeds are important part of a quail’s diet.

“Bobwhite require a variety of foods for their nutritional needs and the more types of seeds available the better,” said Sams.

Managing for a variety of plant species, rather than emphasizing a single species in a food plot, increases the probability of the proper food being available, Sams said. Different plants produce seeds at different times during the growing season and different types of seeds provide different nutrients. Just having ragweed and other weeds is not enough, though. In fact, properties covered in ragweed reflect grazing abuse and are not usually good quail habitat.

Landowners can increase the plant diversity and quail cover on their property through a range of management techniques such as disking, prescribed fire and controlled grazing.

To learn more about improving the quail habitat on your property, log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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   Cutline: Weeds are an important part of quality quail habitat, according to Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Landowners can increase the plant diversity and quail cover on their property through a range of management techniques such as disking, prescribed fire and controlled grazing.

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Department schedules pre-employment exam

         The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a standardized pre-employment examination Friday, Sept. 30, at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium at Rose State College.

         The exam is for individuals seeking employment as fisheries or wildlife biologists, game wardens, hatchery managers and technicians and information and education specialists. It will cover state and federal wildlife laws and regulations, fisheries and wildlife management, Oklahoma geography and biological and environmental sciences relating to fish and wildlife.

         Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period, and test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date. Applications for employment will be sent to individuals with the top 25 scores. Taking the exam does not guarantee employment, nor does the exam necessarily indicate the Department currently has openings. Interviews will be scheduled only when an opening is available.

         The Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium is north of Interstate 40 at the intersection of I-40 and Hudiburg Rd. in Midwest City. The doors will close promptly at 10 a.m. Those arriving after 10 a.m. will not be permitted to take the exam. The free exam is open to anyone who meets the education requirements for the tested positions.

         For more information about the exam or hiring process, contact the Wildlife Department’s Human Resources office at (405) 521-4640 or check the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com

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Youth waterfowl hunting opportunities abound statewide

         If there was ever a year to introduce a youngster to the traditions of waterfowl hunting – this is it.

         “Taking young hunters afield is one of the most important things we can do to pass on our hunting heritage and a true appreciation for the waterfowl resource,” said Mike O’Meilia, migratory game bird biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “There are just too many good opportunities to not make plans to take a young hunter this year.  Whether you take a son or daughter out on one of the youth waterfowl weekend days or you take a  neighbor’s or relative’s youngster who would otherwise not have the chance to go on one of the special controlled youth waterfowl hunts, this can be a truly memorable experience for a youngster.”

         Following is a short list of waterfowl opportunities for youth hunters this year. For complete details log on to wildlifedepartment.com

 

Youth waterfowl hunts hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Who: Oklahoma youth ages 12-15 who do not have an adult mentor who waterfowl hunts
What: one-day guided waterfowl hunt with Wildlife Department employee
When: Deadline to apply is Oct. 24, the hunts will take place throughout the duck season
Where: The hunts will take place on lakes in all four quadrants of the state.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt and Field Day at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge
Who: youth must be ages 14 or 15
What: Waterfowl seminars and demonstrations followed by a guided duck hunt the next morning.
When: Entries must be received by November 1, the youth waterfowl and field day will take place Dec. 22 – 23
Where: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge near Vian, Oklahoma 

Washita National Wildlife Refuge youth waterfowl day, near Foss
Who: kids ages 12-17, although participants of all ages are welcome to attend.
What: The special event will feature eight different interactive stations related to waterfowl hunting. Youth participants will be eligible to win one of two guided waterfowl hunts in January on the refuge.
When: Oct. 22
Where: Washita National Wildlife Refuge, near Foss 

Youth Waterfowl Seasons
Who: Youngsters 15 and under
What: three separate weekends set aside just for youth waterfowl hunting
When: Check the “2005 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide” for season dates.
Where: Each waterfowl zone is open for youth only on separate weekends. Check the “2005 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide” for a zone map.

           For more information about waterfowl hunting in Oklahoma or to find a hunter safety course near you, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

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Teachers and students eligible to win hunts and great outdoor prizes

         The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International (OSCSCI) are looking for Oklahoma’s top conservation minded students and teachers. Through a youth writing contest and teacher application, OSCSI and ODWC will reward a state teacher and several students with trips of a lifetime.

         The theme of the contest is “Hunting: Sharing the Heritage” and students in the 11-14 age category are competing for an all expense paid trip to the Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. The Safari Club International’s Apprentice Hunters’ Program is a unique, hands-on experience which covers a wide range of topics including; the ethical basis of modern sport hunting, wildlife management, field identification, and wild game cooking. The Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International will provide travel reimbursements to attend the weeklong course.

         Winners in the 15-17 age category will receive an all-expense-paid guided antelope hunt in New Mexico. Funding for the trips, including a full shoulder taxidermy mount, is provided by the Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International.

         The four statewide winners and their legal guardians will be invited to Oklahoma City to attend an awards ceremony in March. In addition, the top 25 essay entrants will receive a one-year youth membership to Safari Club International. The winning student essays will be published in the OSCSCI newsletter Safari Trails. Publication qualifies the winning entries for the National Youth Writing Contest sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Several past winners have come from Oklahoma.

         Students aren’t the only ones eligible to win. A conservation education scholarship is also available for educators. One teacher will be awarded an all-expenses-paid scholarship for an eight-day conservation education school at Safari Club International’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) at Granite Ranch near Jackson, Wyoming.

         The AWLS program is conducted during the summer and presents an outdoor program for educators, which concentrates on natural resource management. Participants learn about stream ecology, map and compass, language arts and creative writing in an outdoor setting, fly tying, shooting sports, wildlife management, the Yellowstone ecosystem, camping, white-water rafting, educational resources and how to implement outdoor education ideas. Lodging, meals and training materials will be provided by Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will cover transportation to Jackson, Wyoming.

         Both the essay contest rules and scholarship applications are available from the Department's Web site www.wildlifedepartment.com. Essays and applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 23, 2005, or delivered by 5:00 p.m. Nov. 28, 2005, in person to the Department of Wildlife’s Jenks Office at 201 Aquarium Drive, in Jenks. Address entries to: Essay Contest, Education Section Supervisor, ODWC Jenks Office, PO Box 1201, Jenks, OK 74037.

 

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Department to hold equipment auction

         The public is invited to attend the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s surplus auction to be held Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9 a.m. at Lake Burtschi near Chickasha.

         “There is a wide variety of equipment that will be available for bid,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”

         More than 100 items will be available at the event, including farming equipment, trucks, boats and boat motors. For those not looking for large items, there is also plenty to choose from including, spotting scopes, office supplies, computer hardware, and much more.

For more information about the auction call (405) 521-4600 or for a complete list of auction items, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 9 a.m. at the Lake Burtschi Wildlife Department office, located 11 miles west of Chickasha on SH 92. Items may be inspected Oct. 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In case of rain the sale will be held Oct. 9, same time and same place.

 

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