MARCH 2008 NEWS
WEEK OF MARCH 20, 2008
WEEK OF MARCH 13, 2008
WEEK OF MARCH 6, 2008
New paddlefish management program already increasing fishing opportunities
An agreement between the City of Miami and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will mean better and cheaper fishing for paddlefish anglers in Miami’s Riverview City Park.
At a recent meeting, the Miami City Council unanimously approved a proposal from the Wildlife Department to eliminate the City of
“This agreement comes as a result of the Wildlife Department’s new paddlefish program,” said Keith Green, paddlefish program coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “This is a major increase in opportunity for
Mike Johnson, City of
“It’s a win-win situation,” Johnson said.
Green emphasized, however, that voluntary angler participation is important for the agreement to stay in place and for the paddlefish program to prosper.
“The City of
The paddlefish management pilot program was established recently near the Twin Bridges area of the Neosho River and, as evidenced by the agreement between the Department and the City of Miami, is playing an important role in paddlefish management. The primary functions of the paddlefish research center are to collect important data for the Department’s paddlefish management plan, process paddlefish meat for anglers and salvage paddlefish eggs. Funds derived from the program go back to the resource, which means better fishing in the future, along with projects such as improved fishing access, paddlefish management, angler education and more.
The Department’s paddlefish management program has involved an extensive process of netting, weighing, measuring and marking paddlefish with metal tags on the front of the jaw before releasing them to be caught by anglers by way of snagging. Anglers who snag a tagged paddlefish are encouraged to report their catch to the Wildlife Department to not only help in the management of paddlefish in
The center is open during prime paddlefish snagging months (approximately Feb. 15 – May 15), and anglers can bring their catch to the center for cleaning and processing. Additionally, anglers such as those at
The paddlefish research center is seasonally staffed by employees trained in proper handling and processing of fish products, and other research centers may be set up at future locations.
Paddlefish anglers are required to obtain a free paddlefish permit before fishing for paddlefish in
For more information about paddlefish angling, including regulations and hot fishing locations, consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Meeting to focus on wind power policy for wildlife management areas
A public meeting will be held in Woodward to gather input from hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts about possible wind power development on areas owned by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The meeting will still be held Wed., March 12, at 6 p.m. at the
“The Commission is looking at this issue closely because it is a policy decision that could impact several areas in western
For people who are interested in voicing their opinion but will be unable to attend the meeting in Woodward, they can go to Department’s Web site and email in their comments. The Wildlife Department’s Web site can be accessed at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
Applications available for Wildlife Department Youth Camp
Youth interested in wildlife, fisheries and law enforcement can apply now to attend the 10th annual Oklahoma Wildlife Department Youth Camp scheduled for June 2-6, 2008. This camp is free, and youth get a chance to learn about careers in wildlife conservation.
Held at OU Biological Station near
The camp is free of charge, but will be limited to 35 youth. Applicants should be interested in fish and wildlife management or law enforcement and must submit a 75-word essay explaining why they want to attend the camp, why they believe they should be selected and what they expect to learn while attending. They must also submit a letter of recommendation from a person of their choice other than a family member and a photograph of a recent outdoor-related event or activity.
Applications will be accepted Feb. 1 – April 18, and applicants must turn 14 prior to June 2, 2008. Obtain applications by logging on to the Wildlife Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com. Simply print off the application, fill it out and mail it in with the essay, letter of recommendation and photograph to: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Law Enforcement Division Youth Camp,
hunting opportunities expanded with new regulations
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission passed several hunting and fishing regulation changes at its regular meeting Monday, particularly some deer hunting regulation changes aimed at improving Oklahoma’s deer herd while providing additional hunting opportunities for antlerless deer.
Specific deer hunting regulation changes include the following:
* Archery hunters will be allowed to harvest a deer of either sex during the period of Jan. 1 to Jan. 15.
* The bag limit for archery season was increased from four to six deer.
* Legal firearms for muzzleloading season were redefined by allowing the current technology of electronic ignition and future technological changes for muzzleloading firearms to be legal for deer, provided the firearm is loaded from the muzzle and uses a powder and bullet set-up.
* Deer gun season on Honobia Creek,
The Commission voted 5-2 to reject one item in the list of hunting-related proposals, which would have allowed those persons certified to use crossbows to use a device that permits a regular bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw.
“These changes expand deer hunting opportunities in many ways, but they also serve to help manage the state’s deer herd,” said Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department.
Other changes that were approved affect fisherman and several popular fishing spots. The new rule amendments are as follows:
* Paddlefish anglers will be required to attach their paddlefish permit number to their fish, and it will be a requirement for paddlefish viscera to be removed before leaving the state. Additionally, paddlefish anglers will be required to have a free annual paddlefish permit. These paddlefish rules are currently in effect under emergency rules.
* The boundaries on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System were clarified.
* Spotted bass were exempted from length limits statewide except for certain streams.
* Spotted bass bag limits were removed statewide except for certain streams.
* Alligator gar rules were modified after public hearings to define the closed area, shorten the period of closure and restrict all angling methods.
* The use of non-metallic materials will be allowed where natural materials do not exist for attaching limblines.
“I am confident these changes will benefit the fisheries in
The Commission approved several other items at the regular meeting regarding nuisance wildlife control and feral hog nuisance and depredation rules. Approved amendments are as follows:
* An existing emergency rule regarding the poisoning of prairie dogs on public land was made permanent.
* Prior to shooting beavers at night, it will be a requirement that the game warden for that county be notified.
* Rules were established for issuing permits to landowners, lessees or their designated agents and to any entity of local government to control nuisance wildlife or feral hogs as authorized in statute (29:4-135.). The issuance of the permit was streamlined by allowing the area game warden or wildlife employee to immediately respond to a complaint and, upon verification of the problem, issue a permit immediately for an appropriate time period up to one year. The change also allows for the person doing the authorized control work to sell coyotes and beaver with proper documentation.
* Restrictions were tightened on the possession, importation, culture, sale or use of invasive Asian carp and blueback herring.
* The Commission will be allowed to add or delete aquatic plants from the “Species to Watch” list.
In addition to wildlife changes, oil and gas rules were updated to reflect industry technology and procedure changes.
The new regulations must now pass through the legislative process and be signed by the governor. Look for complete details in the next Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Guides.
In other business, the Commission recognized Gene Pester, game warden supervisor, and Arthur Joe Young, also a game warden supervisor, for 35 years of service to the Wildlife Department. Additionally, Jimmy Foster, communications manager, and Steve Webber, information specialist, were both recognized for 20 years of service.
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 set for 9 a.m. April 1 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and
New Kaw lake record flathead hooked
If Lesley B. Carson-McNeff of Mustang had caught her 78 lb. flathead catfish from Kaw Lake this time last year, she may have been the only one to cherish the sweet memory, but since she caught it March 8 of this year, the big cat will go down in the record books.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation initiated its Lake Record Fish Program in February, 2008, to recognize the biggest fish from a number of lakes across the state, as well as the anglers who reel them in.
McNeff’s catfish goes down as the first lake record flathead catfish and the third lake record caught since the inception of the program. It was caught on a trotline baited with whole shad, and McNeff, 25, and her father braved cold weather to bring home the fish.
“It was really cold,” McNeff said. “It was 19 degrees when we got on the water.”
The pair checked her father’s trotline first, coming up with three nice-sized flatheads, then switched to check Lesley’s trotline. There was only one fish on the trotline, but neither of them expected to find a Kaw lake record — weighing an even 78 lbs with a length of 51 inches and a girth of 34.25 inches.
“I was not disappointed that it was the only fish on the line!” McNeff said.
McNeff enjoys running trotlines this time of year with her father, who learned the art of successful trotline fishing from his father.
“My dad’s the best trotline fisherman I know,” McNeff said. “He knows how and where to set them, how to run them.”
And McNeff’s father has been showing her the ropes since she was just a youngster. Her flathead catfish comes after two other lake records were set in late February. One was a 14 lb., 8 oz. largemouth bass caught by Allen Gifford,
Besides Kaw Lake, there are currently 12 other major lakes included in the Lake Record Fish pilot program, including Arbuckle, Broken Bow, Canton, Eufaula, Ft. Cobb, Grand, Keystone, Sardis, Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Thunderbird.
Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include flathead, blue and channel catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass. Minimum weights are set for each species and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
Anglers who catch a potential record fish from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on wildlifedepartment.com.
Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
An easily-operated search feature is available on the Web site that allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from the size of record fish caught to what kind of bait or rod and reel was used to catch them.
All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes.
For more information about the new Lake Record Fish Program, or for more on bass fishing in
Editor's note: Below is a link for an accompanying photo that is 300 DPI and intended for newspaper publication. The ending link is .jpg for the photo. The photo will open in your browser. If you have a pc you should be able to right click, save picture as, choose the file type you want to save as and click save. The other way is on file in toolbar, save picture as, choosing the file type you want to save as and click save. Images can be viewed with the article
Lake Record Fish weekly tracker now provided to Wildlife News subscribers
With prime fishing season underway across the state, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s new Lake Record Fish Program is exploding with action. Nearly a dozen lake records have been caught and certified since the program’s Feb. 1 kick-off, and some records have been broken twice in just a matter of days.
“New lake records just keep coming in,” said Greg Summers, fisheries research lab supervisor for the Wildlife Department.
And though the Lake Record Fish program is brand new, Summers said it is no coincidence that this time of year is yielding so many records at lakes across the state.
“If there is any time of year for the fishing to be good, it’s now through the next several weeks,” Summers said. “The
To keep sportsmen informed, the Wildlife Department is providing a weekly Lake Record Fish program update in its weekly news release, showing all record fish caught and certified during the previous week. This resource is provided in addition to an extensive online database showing all lake record fish information on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
To see the complete database of all lake record fish caught, or to learn more about the Lake Record Fish program, log on to the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
LAKE RECORDS CAUGHT AND CERTIFIED MARCH 9 TO MARCH 16
Weight: 8.8 lbs.
Angler: Flynn King
Date: March 9
Bait: Hard baits/plugs
Photo link: http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=385
Weight: 9.2 lbs.
Angler: Jim Sweetwood
Date: March 14
Bait: Hard baits/plugs
Photo link: http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=403
Weight: 2.3 lbs.
Angler: Mark Payne
Date: March 10
Photo link: http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=387
Weight: 2.6 lbs.
Angler: Michael Roger
Date: March 8
Photo link: http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=389
Wildlife Department Youth Camp exposes teens to career opportunities
Youth interested in attending the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s annual Wildlife Youth Camp still have time to apply, and those that attend may just discover a future career.
Held at OU Biological Station near
The free camp is slated this year for June 2-6 and offers teenagers a unique glimpse of what it is like to be a wildlife professional, but perhaps the most appealing part is the experience they get in a number of activities ranging from rifle and shotgun training to wildlife identification, wildlife law enforcement, wildlife and fisheries biology, wildlife management, self-defense, ropes and rappelling. Just ask Grace or Pugh, and they will tell you the same thing. In fact, when asked what their favorite part of the camp was 10 years ago, they both said it was the hands-on learning opportunities and time spent with game wardens. Not only that, but attending the camp helped confirm their already growing interest in wildlife-related professions.
“Getting hands-on experience in the field helped solidify my desire for a career in law enforcement,” Pugh said.
Pugh, who currently is stationed in Tillman County, had already spent the majority of her life around the outdoors and was leaning toward pursuing a career as a game warden, but getting to work with professionals in resolving various staged outdoor scenarios and being encouraged to discuss how situations should be handled in a day in the life of a game warden helped her choose a career path.
Grace, now stationed in Osage County, agrees, saying the Youth Camp “creates a desire to want to learn more” about various careers the Wildlife Department offers, and if nothing else, it’s just plain fun to participate in all the activities available at the camp, whether it is shooting or another outdoor activity.
“What kid would not enjoy that?” Grace asked.
Pugh, who learned about the Youth Camp when her parents read about it in the newspaper, said the weeklong event has a way of opening the eyes of youth to how diverse the game warden position can be, and it also lets participants see just how many other job options there are in wildlife fields. She said if a youth is at all interested in wildlife, the camp is for them.
“It’s free, and you are going to find out exactly what’s out there,” she said. “It’s a fun week out of the summer.”
The camp will be limited to 35 youth. Applicants should be interested in fish and wildlife management or law enforcement and must submit a 75-word essay explaining why they want to attend the camp, why they believe they should be selected and what they expect to learn while attending. They must also submit a letter of recommendation from a person of their choice other than a family member and a photograph of a recent outdoor-related event or activity.
Applications will be accepted until April 18, and applicants must turn 14 prior to June 2, 2008. Tell a youth they can get an application by logging on to the Wildlife Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com
need to print off the application, fill it out and mail it in with the
essay, letter of recommendation and photograph to: Oklahoma Department of
Wildlife Conservation, Law Enforcement Division Youth Camp,
For Pugh and Grace, the Youth Camp was fun, but it helped them gain a better understanding of conservation and a clearer vision for their futures. And for Pugh, the experience has come full circle, as she is signed up to help with this year’s youth camp for her first time. She expects the camp to be very rewarding, and who knows, she might be just the right person to inspire a future wildlife professional.
Time running out to submit images to Outdoor Oklahoma
Oklahomans with a digital camera and an interest in the outdoors may just see their work published in this years Annual Reader’s Photography Showcase edition of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine but they better act fast. Submissions will no longer be accepted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation after March 31.
Last year’s competition marked the first all digital Reader’s Photography Showcase.
“We are encouraging everybody who enjoys the outdoors in
Although the editors of Outdoor Oklahoma encourage readers to submit images including a variety of outdoor-related subjects, the magazine has been focusing on “faces in the outdoors” to show hunters, anglers, kids and other outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the outdoors.
Each participant may submit up to five digital images. Each submission must include a description of the photo, including the location taken, names and hometowns of subjects and what it took to get just the right shot. Photos should be in sharp focus, and images should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). The canvas size should be about 8 inches by 11 inches. Slides and print images will not be accepted.
Hopeful photographers can mail a disk to: "Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine, Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation,
Individuals can subscribe to “Outdoor Oklahoma” by calling 1-800-777-0019. Subscriptions are just $10 for one year, $18 for two years, or $25 for three years. You can also subscribe over the Internet by logging on to the Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.