JULY 2009 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF JULY 30, 2009

WEEK OF JULY 23, 2009

 

WEEK OF JULY 16, 2009

 

WEEK OF JULY 9, 2009

 

WEEK OF JULY 1, 2009

Year-round trout fishing makes for fun summer vacation
            Trout in the Lower Mountain Fork River offer some of the best cold water angling even during some of the hottest months of the year.
            The Lower Mountain Fork River trout fishery is stocked with rainbow trout nearly every two weeks, while brown trout are occasionally stocked.
            Because of heavy rainfall, the Lower Mountain Fork River trout fishery in southeast Oklahoma recently experienced the most extreme flooding the area has seen since Broken Bow Lake was impounded in 1969. The lake feeds the Lower Mountain Fork, and the recent flooding caused significant damage to portions of the trout fishery. However, biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say that, although fishing was affected for a short time by flooding and inaccessibility, fishing is getting back to normal and anglers are enjoying great summer fishing.
            “Habitat enhancements in Spillway Creek, Evening Hole, and the stream we created called Lost Creek, all in Beavers Bend State Park, suffered impacts from the flooding,” said Paul Balkenbush, streams management supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “We have addressed several of these issues already, but it is going to take some time to repair it all. Still, trout stocking has fully resumed and fishing in the area is good. Summer anglers should be as successful as always at the Lower Mountain Fork River.”
            The Lower Mountain Fork River designated trout stream includes an 11-mile portion of the Lower Mountain Fork extending from the Broken Bow Lake spillway downstream to the U.S. Route 70 bridge. About five miles of the trout fishery lies within Beaver's Bend State Park in McCurtain County. Bank access is unlimited within the state park and downstream to the Re-regulation dam. Great camping and cabin rentals throughout the area attract anglers from all over to enjoy world-class angling and many other forms of outdoor recreation.
            “One great thing about trout fishing at the Lower Mountain Fork River is that you can go fishing with your family close to home, but feel like you are far away on a once-in-a-lifetime getaway,” Balkenbush said. “But it's not ‘once-in-a-lifetime' because it is here to stay and you can go all you want. The scenery is second to none, and you can enjoy other activities such as hunting, camping, hiking and much more.”
            The Wildlife Department's streams management team works vigorously on projects to enhance trout habitat in certain state waters. Along with the year-round trout fisheries at the Lower Mountain Fork River and Lower Illinois River, seasonal trout fisheries in Oklahoma include Lake Pawhuska, Robbers Cave, Blue River, Lake Watonga, Quartz Mountain and Lake Carl Etling. Trout season in these areas kicks off Nov. 1.
            Trout are an introduced species to Oklahoma, and anglers can view the trout stocking schedules on the Wildlife Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            A trout license is required for all who fish in state-designated trout areas or in tributaries of state-designated trout streams during trout season. Trout anglers also must carry a resident or nonresident fishing license, unless exempt, while fishing. Anglers who bought their annual fishing license before July 1 also must have a fishing and hunting legacy permit, available on wildlifedepartment.com or anywhere fishing licenses are sold. Fishing licenses sold after July 1 will have the legacy permit included in the cost of their fishing license. Anglers should also note the special trout angling regulations that are in effect in certain areas.
            For trout angling tips as well as daily trout limits, season dates and other trout fishing regulations for each area, log on to wildlifedepartment.com or consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide.”
 
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Wild game a favorite at the Expo
            Most sportsmen would agree that eating well makes an outdoor adventure all the better. At this year's Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27, visitors can get a taste of some of the best outdoor cooking, as well as get a few tips on how to prepare their own camp foods, wild game and more.
            Held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City, the Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma's largest outdoor recreation event, offering guests the chance to shoot shotguns and archery equipment, ride mountain bikes and ATVs, catch fish in a fully-stocked pond, experience kayaking, attend seminars and even sample wild game and camp cooking for free.
      At this year's Expo, wild game meat will be served at the popular Taste of the Wildlife booth, where last year more than 1,000 pounds of fried catfish, more than 1,000 pounds of venison and about 220 gallons of buffalo chili were served to Expo visitors. Dutch oven demonstrators also served about 7,000 samples of camp-style food at last year's Expo and provided seminars on the basics of Dutch oven cooking in the outdoor area of the Expo.
      “Visitors to the 2009 Wildlife Expo should make it a point to try each of the foods served at the Taste of the Wild booth,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “They should also be sure to attend a Dutch oven seminar to learn a new recipe or even learn about this style of camp cooking for the first time.”
      In addition to sampling game meat and camp food, visitors can also attend a cooking seminar with renowned chef, restaurant owner and wild game cook Michael Fusco. Fusco, who owns Michael Fusco's Riverside Grill in Tulsa, shows the ins and outs of handling and preparing wild game with culinary expertise every year at the Expo.
            “Michael Fusco has partnered with the Wildlife Expo from its beginning and has always been a favorite among Expo visitors,” Hurst said.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host Expo. The huge event is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.
            Whether catching a fish for the first time or building a bird house to take home with them for free, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a full weekend of free outdoor knowledge, skills and experiences as hundreds of volunteers and Wildlife Department employees work to keep the event exciting, educational and entertaining.
            “If you want to try over a hundred outdoor activities, then be at this year's wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27,” said country music star and outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Ada, who has made an appearance at the Expo in the past. “If you love to hunt and fish like I do, then take someone to this year's Wildlife Expo.
            The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year's Expo activities.
            This year's Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. Educators interested in planning a trip to the Wildlife Expo with their students this year should call (918) 299-2334 for more information.
 
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Dove hunters gain 10 days, unlimited Eurasian collared dove limit
            Dove hunters will enjoy expanded opportunities this fall, including 10 additional days of hunting.
            For all of the state except the southwest zone, the 2009-10 dove season will run from Sept. 1-Nov. 9, with a daily limit of 15 mourning doves and white-winged doves. However, there will be no daily limit of Eurasian collared doves as long as the birds are transported to their final destination with fully feathered heads or one wing naturally attached.
            In the Southwest Zone, where the season will run Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 3, the daily limit has been increased from 12 to 15 mourning doves and white-winged doves daily, and no daily limit on Eurasian collared doves that have fully feathered heads or wings naturally attached until transported to a final destination. The southwest zone starts on U.S. 62 from the Texas border west of Hollis, east to Interstate 44, Interstate 44 south to OK 7, OK 7 east to U.S. 81 and U.S. 81 south to the Texas border at the Red River.
            To hunt doves, sportsmen need a hunting license, unless exempt. Additionally, all migratory bird hunters, unless otherwise exempt, must carry a Harvest Information Permit (HIP) while afield. Hunters who bought their annual hunting license before July 1 also must have a fishing and hunting legacy permit, available on wildlifedepartment.com or anywhere hunting licenses are sold. Hunting licenses sold after July 1 will have the legacy permit included in the cost of their hunting license.
            The expanded dove season opportunities were approved by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission at its July meeting, along with regulations for September resident Canada goose, September teal, rail, gallinule, woodcock and common snipe seasons. The regulations fall within a federal framework that allows states to create their seasons for these species according to guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dates for each season are available on the Wildlife Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            In addition to expanded dove hunting opportunities, September teal season hunters will also be able to hunt resident Canada geese at the same time. September teal season will be Sept. 12 through 27, statewide, with a daily limit of four teal. This year's special September resident Canada goose season will run Sept. 12 through 21, statewide, with a daily limit of five.
            According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the decision to schedule the special September resident Canada goose season during September teal season comes in response to requests from sportsmen wanting to hunt resident Canada geese and teal at the same time.
            “We'd very much like for more people to participate in the resident Canada goose season,” Peoples said.
            In other business, the Commission accepted a grant of $7,500 from the National Rifle Association Foundation to purchase ammunition and shooting supplies for the 2009 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo. The grant is expected to cover about half the cost of all shooting expenses.
            The Commission also recognized Steve Nall as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Landowner of the Year. Nall's western Creek Co. property has benefited from numerous wildlife habitat improvements, including cedar control and native vegetation management.
            Additionally, the Commission also recognized Rich Fuller, information supervisor, for 20 years of service to the Wildlife Department, and Dale Schmitz, assistant hatchery manager, for 30 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. Aug. 3 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.
 
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Wildlife Department's Oklahoma Landowner of the Year recognized
            Western Creek Co. landowner Steve Nall was recently awarded the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Landowner of the Year Award.
            Every year the Wildlife Department selects a landowner who has gone above and beyond to improve their property for wildlife habitat, and according Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department, this year is no exception.
            Nall is the owner of Canyon Creek Ranch in western Creek Co., which spans over 1,000 acres of mixed hardwoods with scattered mixed grass openings. His wildlife conservation efforts include prescribed burning, food plot management and participation in several Wildlife Department landowner programs such as the Deer Management Assistance Program, the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and fish stocking program. Nall also participates in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and actively involves his young daughters in his effort while introducing them to the outdoors.
            “It's wonderful that Steve is introducing these girls to the outdoors and it's obvious from visiting with him and some of the pictures that he has shown of the place that it's about the kids,” said Russ Horton, lands and wildlife diversity supervisor for the Wildlife Department.
            Efforts such as prescribed burning have led to increases in wildlife on the property while also helping control the spread of Eastern red cedar.
            “I certainly consider it a privilege and an honor to be selected as Landowner of the Year and definitely appreciate the recognition and the work not going unnoticed,” Nall said. He added that the work and progress on his ranch would not have been possible without the Wildlife Department and its employees as well as everyone who has helped work on the ranch.
            “An achievement like this is definitely a group effort, and I want to take this time to just thank everybody that's been involved,” Nall said.”
            To learn more about wildlife conservation and landowner programs operated by the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.


 
Photo Caption: Steve Nall, recipient of the Wildlife Department's Landowner of the Year Award, makes sure to involve his daughters in the outdoors and in the management of his 1,088-acre Creek Co. ranch.
 
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Wildlife Department receives $7,500 NRA grant for Wildlife Expo
            Visitors to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's 2009 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo have the opportunity to try first hand several outdoor activities, including shooting sports thanks to a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation.
            At its July meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is the governing board of the Wildlife Department, accepted a grant of $7,500 from the NRA Foundation to purchase ammunition and shooting supplies for the 2009 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo. The grant is expected to cover about half the cost of all shooting expenses.
            The Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma's largest outdoor recreation event designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources. Among other activities, Expo visitors have the opportunity to try a variety of shooting sports including air rifle shooting and shotgun shooting. Last year, about 4,200 Expo visitors shot close to 27,500 shotgun shells, and an estimated 60-70 percent of the shooters were under the age of 18.
            According to Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Wildlife Department, the National Rifle Association and its Oklahoma members, through the Friends of the NRA and the NRA Foundation, have been very supportive of the Wildlife Department, particularly in the areas of shooting sports education and promotion. Rodefeld added that, in the past, NRA foundation grants have been used to purchase shotguns, clay target throwers, trailers, and other equipment for the Department's Shotgun Training and Education Program.
            Darren Delong, senior field representative for the NRA, presented the grant check to the Wildlife Department on behalf of the NRA.
            “The NRA is glad to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to bring the Wildlife Expo to Oklahoma,” Delong said. “It's a great event and we are happy to provide this grant. We know it will go a long way in sharing the tradition of shooting sports and the outdoors with Oklahomans.”
 


Photo Caption: At its July meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission accepted a grant of $7,500 from the NRA Foundation to purchase ammunition and shooting supplies for the 2009 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo. Pictured is Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Wildlife Department, accepting the grant check from Darren Delong, senior field representative for the NRA.
 
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Controlled hunt results available now online
         Applicants can find out if they were drawn for any of the hunts offered through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Controlled Hunt program by logging onto the Department's web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
         Once applicants log on to the Web site, they can click on the "Controlled Hunts Results Available" link and enter their last name, birthday, and the number they used on the original application (either their Social Security or driver's license number). The system will only access the Controlled Hunts results database when the correct number matches with the hunter's other information.
         Sportsmen also can check their results at computer terminals available at the Department's headquarters and at certain regional offices during those offices' regular business hours. Contact information for Wildlife Department field offices are available at wildlifedepartment.com. In addition, many local libraries offer Internet access to library cardholders. Applicants should check with their local library for Internet services and user-policies. Successful applicants will also be notified by mail.
            “This is a free service that is easy to use,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration and finance for the Wildlife Department. “It takes only minutes to find out if you have drawn out on that hunt you've been hoping for.”
            The opportunity to hunt on some of Oklahoma's most unique and desirable hunting properties have made the Department's controlled hunts program one of the most popular programs in the country.
         For more information about the Wildlife Department's Controlled Hunts program, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.


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Efforts underway to improve water quality at the Illinois River trout fishery
            Summer water temperatures on the Lower Illinois River have been higher than normal the past two years. Wildlife Department officials are working jointly with Southwest Power Administration (SWPA) and the Corps of Engineers (COE) to develop a strategy to allow the continued stocking of trout throughout the summer.
            “Both the Corps and Southwest Power have been very open to our suggestions and have accommodated our request whenever possible,” said Jim Burroughs east-central region fisheries supervisor. “We can't rule out that stockings may have to be halted later this summer but we're hoping for the best. If not for the cooperation of both COE and SWPA, stocking schedules would likely have at best been altered and at worst postponed already.”
            The waters released through SWPA turbines used for hydropower generation flow directly into the Lower Illinois River trout stream. In normal years hydropower generation supplemented with releases from the Corps is sufficient to support the trout fishery. However, because of abnormally high flood releases the last two years, the supply of cold water near the bottom of the lake has been depleted. Fisheries officials hope that a cold winter followed by a spring without much floodwater in the Tenkiller drainage will result in pre-2008 water conditions.
            “The good news is that trout stockings will continue for now, but stocking locations may vary depending on the water conditions on individual stocking days. Stockings will focus on upstream sites and sites with flowing water as these typically will have cooler water than downstream locations and those with only pooled water”, said Burroughs. “Our goal is to continue stocking all summer but we will have to evaluate conditions on a week by week and even a day by day basis.”
            Stockings have also been adjusted from mornings to evenings to coincide with water releases by the SWPA.
            The Illinois River is one of only two year round trout fisheries in the state. Trout fishing has been excellent this spring with some anglers reporting the best fishing ever. Officials hope to be able to continue stocking and keep angler success and satisfaction high.
 
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Birdwatchers find just what they are looking for at the Wildlife Expo
            Over 350 bird species can be found in Oklahoma, and visitors to the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27 will have the chance to view several of them at an interactive birding area.
            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 Expo. Held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City, the event is designed to promote and instill appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.
            An entire area at the Expo grounds is being dedicated to birding activities, including a birdwatching station complete with feeders and a blind to avoid spooking visiting birds. Visitors can enjoy seminars held every hour covering topics such as how to attract birds to a backyard, how to feed wild birds and how to identify wild birds. Additionally, visitors to the Expo can learn about what makes a suitable birdhouse as well as what to avoid when searching for a birdhouse for their property. Additionally, guests can even build their own fully functional bluebird house at the Expo that they can take home with them. Volunteers will be on hand instructing guests and helping them build birdhouses that will attract bluebirds to their yards for years to come. Plus, the entire event is free, including building materials for the birdhouse make-and-take exhibit.
            “Birds are an important part of Oklahoma’s wildlife, and everybody can participate in birding activities in some way,” said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department. “Whether it is putting out a bird feeder or birdhouse, participating in the Wildlife Department’s winter bird survey, or simply getting out and enjoying the diversity of birds in the state, Oklahoma’s birds offer something for everyone.”
            Birds and birdwatching are just the beginning of what’s available for outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts at the Expo. Activities range from shotgun and archery shooting to fishing, kayaking, ATV riding, mountain biking and much more. Additionally, numerous learning opportunities are available at booths and exhibits at the Expo. Visitors can speak with wildlife biologists and outdoorsmen experienced in fishing, hunting, game calling, wildlife and fisheries management, reptiles and amphibians and more, as well as attend seminars on hunting dog training, wild game cooking, Dutch oven camp cooking and mule packing, among other topics. And for Expo visitors who like to shop, a large area called the Outdoor Marketplace is set aside at the Expo for vendors who will be on hand showcasing and offering for sale their outdoor merchandise and services.
            The Expo is Oklahoma’s largest outdoor recreation event, drawing tens of thousands of people each year, including celebrities.
            “If you want to try over a hundred outdoor activities, then be at this year's Wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27,” said native Oklahoma country music star Blake Shelton, who has made appearances at the Expo in the past. “If you love to hunt and fish like I do, then take someone to this year’s Wildlife Expo.
            The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year’s Expo activities.
            This year’s Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. Educators interested in planning a trip to the Wildlife Expo with their students this year should call (918) 299-2334 for more information.
 
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Save time, obtain a hunting or fishing license online
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Web site is making it easier for sportsmen to get their hunting and fishing licenses.
            The Wildlife Department recently revamped its online license system to help sportsmen manage their hunting and fishing license purchases online. By logging on and setting up an account, sportsmen can obtain hunting and fishing licenses without waiting in lines the night before a trip or the day before their favorite season opens. Plus, they save even more time on future license and permit purchases since their account information only has to be entered when they sign up the first time.
            “The new online license system is designed to help sportsmen meet all their licensing needs in a hassle-free, user friendly manner with the convenience of getting everything they need from the comfort of their home,” said Mike Chrisman, license supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “I am confident that sportsmen who check it out and set up an account with us online will be glad they did.”
            Sportsmen who sign up to manage their license account online only have to enter the required information once. That information, which is required in order to obtain a hunting or fishing license online or from one of many vendors across the state, is then stored so that license renewals and other licenses can be obtained quickly and easily.
            “Sportsmen can update their information as they please, such as in the event they relocate to a new address, but they don’t have to keep re-entering information or getting out to the nearest vendor to buy a license,” Chrisman said.
            If a sportsman has purchased a hunting or fishing license online from wildlifedepartment.com in the past, they are not required to set up an account; however, in order to modify or change their information, an account must be established. Online accounts also are not required to obtain a free Harvest Information Permit (HIP) or paddlefish permit.
            Most hunters are required to have an appropriate state hunting or fishing license to hunt or fish in Oklahoma. A full list of requirements and exemptions is available in the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or on wildlifedepartment.com.
            The online license system also points users to other helpful information available on wildlifedepartment.com. Along with providing a user-friendly online license system for sportsmen, wildlifedepartment.com also includes a wealth of other features and information to help sportsmen keep up with what is happening in Oklahoma’s outdoors. Outdoor-related news, calendars, tips, and regulations are available on the site, as well as information on wildlife and fish identification, wildlife law enforcement, landowner and educational program, and more. The site also includes maps of Wildlife Department lands and information on various Department programs and research projects.
            To learn more about wildlife conservation, hunting or fishing, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Lake Record Update: Trotline angler lands big Eufaula flathead
            Angler Mike Blankenship of Okmulgee caught a 66.5-lb. lake record flathead catfish June 26 from Eufaula Lake. The fish was caught on a trotline using natural bait.
            More information about the flathead and other lake record fish can be found on an easily-operated search feature available at wildlifedepartment.com, the Web site of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The feature allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from weight of the fish to the kind of bait and the brand of rod and reel used to catch it.
            The Wildlife Department’s Lake Record Fish Program continues to grow. Since last year the program has doubled in size and there are now 28 lakes currently enrolled in the program.
            The Lake Record Fish program recognizes anglers who catch a fish that qualifies as a record setter for the lake in which it was caught. Though the program was established as a way to serve anglers and recognize significant fish, it also serves as an indicator of trophy fish production in the state’s lakes.
            Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers, or vendors. The lake record keeper may then enter the fish into an automated database via the Internet. 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.
            All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes.
            Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead 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 included to avoid a rush of potential yet easily broken records early in the program’s inception.
            For more information about the new Lake Record Fish Program or for contact information for lake record keepers, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
            To view a photograph and to learn more about Blankenship’s Eufaula Lake record flathead catfish, log on to http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=735&lake%5B%5D=66&species%5B%5D=12&&sort


 
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Oklahoma youth outdoor writing contest winners take national honors for excellence
            Two Oklahoma teenagers were recognized recently for placing high among their peers in a nationwide youth outdoor writing contest.
            Steven Maichak of Edmond took third place in the senior prose division (grades 9-12) of the Norm Strung National Youth Writing Competition, and Raini Stiles of Collinsville took first place in the junior prose division (grades 6-8). Both received national recognition and cash rewards.
            “This speaks highly of the youth here in Oklahoma,” said Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife Department. According to Berg, Oklahoma always has youth that perform very well in national level competitions for outdoorsmen.
            Maichak and Stiles were entered in the national writing contest as part of their reward for winning a local outdoor writing contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International. Contestants in the annual statewide youth outdoor writing contest pick from two essay topics — “Hunting: Sharing the Heritage” or “What I like about Archery in the Schools and Bowhunting” — giving them a chance to share their outdoor heritage with others. The winning essays of the state contest are then entered into Norm Strung Youth Writing Competition. Additionally, winners in the state's senior division receive an all-expenses-paid antelope hunt in New Mexico, and junior division winners receive a scholarship to the YO Ranch Apprentice Hunter Program in Texas. The scholarship to the YO Ranch Apprentice Hunter Program and expenses for the antelope hunts are covered by the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International with funds raised at the Chapter's annual banquet.
            The youth writing competition is designed to promote America's hunting heritage among Oklahoma's youth. It provides them an opportunity to express the importance of hunting in their lives and to affirm their commitment to carrying on the hunting tradition. Students use the essays or short stories to relive memorable hunts, to explain why hunting is important to them and to recognize mentors who have influenced them to grow as hunters.
            The Wildlife Department and the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International submit the winning essays to the Norm Strung National Youth Writing Competition, held annually by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
            To learn about how to compete in the state's youth outdoor writing contest and become eligible for the Norm Strung writing contest, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
****Photo*****
 
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 at
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com .
 

 

Steven Maichak
 


Raini Stiles


 

 

Photo Caption: Steven Maichak of Edmond took third place in the senior prose division (grades 9-12) of the Norm Strung National Youth Writing Competition, and Raini Stiles of Collinsville took first place in the junior prose division (grades 6-8). Both received national recognition and cash rewards.
 
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Lake Record Fish Program continues filling books
            The heat is not stopping Oklahoma anglers from catching a mess of fish that qualify as records in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Lake Record Fish Program. Recently several crappie, catfish and a striped bass hybrid have been added to the books.
            More information about the lake record fish program can be found on an easily-operated search feature available at wildlifedepartment.com, the Web site of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The feature allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from weight of the fish to the kind of bait and the brand of rod and reel used to catch it.
            The Wildlife Department's Lake Record Fish Program continues to grow. Since last year the program has doubled in size and there are now 28 lakes currently enrolled in the program.
            The Lake Record Fish program recognizes anglers who catch a fish that qualifies as a record setter for the lake in which it was caught. Though the program was established as a way to serve anglers and recognize significant fish, it also serves as an indicator of trophy fish production in the state's lakes.
            Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers, or vendors. The lake record keeper may then enter the fish into an automated database via the Internet. 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.
            All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes.
            Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead 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 included to avoid a rush of potential yet easily broken records early in the program's inception.
            For more information about the new Lake Record Fish Program or for contact information for lake record keepers, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
RECENT LAKE RECORD UPDATES:
 
Skiatook
Crappie
Weight: 2 lbs.
Angler: Ken Fostar
Bait: Natural bait
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=747
 
Keystone
Crappie
Weight: 3.7 lbs.
Angler: Dave Bargas
Date: June 3
Bait: Jig
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=716


Keystone
Blue catfish
Weight: 63 lbs.
Angler: Kevin Cartwright
Date: June 6
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=719
 
 
Skiatook
Flathead
Weight: 59 lbs.
Angler: J.T. Combs
Date: June 6
Bait: Natural Bait
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=744
 
Skiatook
Striped bass hybrid
Weight: 9 lbs.
Angler: Larry W. Jones
Date: June 26
Bait: Hard baits/plugs
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=741
 
Murray
Channel catfish
Weight: 15.2 lbs.
Angler: Darla Herndon
Date: July 22
Photo link:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=752
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Volunteers help make fishing memories for children with illnesses
            Sixty-eight volunteers recently came together to take over 100 kids from Oklahoma Children's Hospital fishing at Lake Texoma.
            Camp Cavett offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses, and each year anglers and boaters from across Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana volunteer their time and their boats to take them fishing.
            “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,” said Gene Gilliland, central region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
            Gilliland volunteers each year and said some of the campers don't get to fish at home, either because their conditions will not allow them to fish easily or because they are in the hospital too much to find time. Getting the opportunity to go through Camp Cavett gets them involved in the outdoors, giving them something to look forward to as well as broadening their appreciation for the natural world.
            “Both the volunteers and kids have a great time. It is something we all look forward to," Gilliland said.
            Other opportunities this summer will allow childhood patients to experience fishing as well, and volunteers are needed. Children who are burn victims will have the opportunity to go fishing Aug. 15 through the 2009 Oklahoma Firefighters' Burn Camp. Volunteers who wish to guide or provide a boat can print out a form available by logging on to
http://www.okbassfednation.com/Community/Burn%20Camp%20Boater%20Form.pdf  , and upon completion, mail or email it to the address provided. For more information, contact Burn Camp Fishing and Boating chairman Kristi Collins at (918) 830-463.
 

 


Photo Caption: Camp Cavett offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses, and each year anglers and boaters come together as volunteers to take the campers fishing on Lake Texoma.
 
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Olympic and Paralympic archers to train at UCO
            The University of Central Oklahoma has been designated as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site for archery, and those archers will soon be able to use the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Arcadia Lake Conservation Area facility for training.
            The U.S. Olympic Committee announced UCO’s designation Tuesday, July 28, at the Oklahoma River Boathouse.
            “Central is committed to providing an opportunity-rich environment to enable people to become productive, creative, ethical and engaged citizens and leaders, and this designation as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site exemplifies that commitment,” said University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) President W. Roger Webb. “We couldn’t be more proud to serve the community and the country as a partner with the United States Olympic Committee.”
            UCO’s involvement in Paralympic sports began in 2000, when it hosted the first annual Endeavor Games for Athletes with Physical Disabilities. Then at the 6th annual Endeavor Games in 2005, USA Volleyball announced UCO as the official site of Men’s National Sitting Volleyball, making the university an official Paralympic Training Site. There are currently nine resident athletes who live and train on the campus in the sports of archery, sitting volleyball and track & field.
            Though the designation came in July, UCO resident archery athletes have already brought the training site international glory, having a successful run at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. T.J. Pemberton, a Guthrie native and Paralympic archer, finished fourth in the Men’s Individual Compound Open competition.
            “With a successful run at the 2008 Paralympics and the new Olympic designation, UCO looks forward to continuing to contribute to the U.S. Olympic movement,” said Katrina Shaklee, Director of Sports and Recreation at the UCO Wellness Center. “UCO is devoted to expanding its Paralympic and Olympic services and venues for the elite athletes in training.”
            One way UCO will be expanding its training services is through a partnership with the Wildlife Department. In December 2008, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is the governing board of the Wildlife Department, approved a resolution to work with UCO to develop archery facilities at the Department’s Arcadia Lake Conservation Education Area. The facility will be part of a memorandum of understanding between the Department and UCO to work together in developing interest and participation in the sport of archery. Initial efforts will focus on an outdoor Olympic archery practice range for the University’s Paralympic and Olympic athletes, and in the future, indoor archery training and shooting facilities.
            “Oklahoma has a longstanding tradition of archery, and now the state will leave an even bigger imprint on the sport with UCO’s designation as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic archery training site,” said Richard Hatcher, director of the Wildlife Department. “There are over 80,000 bowhunters and thousands more archery enthusiasts in Oklahoma, and the Wildlife Department is glad to be a partner in the Olympic movement.”
            The Arcadia Lake Conservation Education Area is a unique property located in central Oklahoma that offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, fishing and more. At least 25 fishing clinics are held on the area each year. Development and construction of a 7,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose building on the area grounds is in progress and will be used for a number of educational and recreational purposes such as hunter education, aquatic education and wetland education. Additionally, a wetland boardwalk and outdoor teaching facility will provide educational opportunities as well as increased public access in the future for walk-in fishing access, wildlife viewing and nature hiking.
            The planned Olympic archery training facility will not only benefit UCO’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, but also will compliment the Wildlife Department’s Oklahoma Archery in the Schools program. Oklahoma Archery in the Schools is part of a nationwide program to introduce students to the sport of archery through target shooting practice and competition among schools. The last Oklahoma Archery in the Schools state shoot hosted more than 1,000 student shooters at the Oklahoma Cox Convention Center in April. Thousands of students from close to 200 schools participate in the program statewide.
            For more information about the Wildlife Department’s Arcadia Lake Conservation Education Area, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Tulsa residents and visitors enjoy wildlife artwork
            Tulsa residents and visitors commonly come across elk, whitetail deer, and even mountain lions right in the middle of town thanks to one organization that is using art to not only decorate the city with lifelike wildlife statues, but also to support conservation.
            NatureWorks is a Tulsa-based conservation organization that has been supporting wildlife and sportsmen for years by providing money for habitat projects and programs such as the Wildlife Department’s Hunters Against Hunger program. But the all-volunteer group is also responsible for numerous bronze wildlife statues that decorate parts of the City of Tulsa.
             NatureWorks is the outgrowth of the Ducks Unlimited Wildlife Art Show that started 30 years ago in downtown Tulsa. Today, NatureWorks hosts the annual art show that draws both national and international wildlife artists to display their work. The art show and sale also generates funds that NatureWorks uses to support conservation projects.
            “NatureWorks annual Art Show and Sale produces proceeds that enable NatureWorks to fund nearly 100,000 in wildlife conservation projects annually,” said John Cowen, monuments chairman for NatureWorks.
            Sticking to its appreciation of wildlife and art, for the last decade NatureWorks has been donating the bronze wildlife monuments, which depict various species of wildlife native to Oklahoma and other parts of the country, to the city of Tulsa.
            Pictures of the beautiful bronze monuments could never do them justice, as their size is normally described as “heroic.” While many of these statues are larger than life depictions, they fit perfectly into the Tulsa metro area.  
            “NatureWorks has given 19 larger than life bronze monuments to the Tulsa community since 1994,” Cowen said. “Many of the monuments can be seen along the Arkansas river on Riverside Drive. The monuments are selected over a year in advance of their placement and monuments numbers 20 and 21 are already in the works.”
            The first bronze monument was erected in 1994 near the Gilcrease Museum in honor of Harold C. Stuart for his lifelong commitment to conservation.  Since then a total of 18 bronze monuments have been presented in the Tulsa metro area recognizing various individuals and groups for their enthusiastic commitment to wildlife conservation.
            Along with providing wildlife statues for viewing pleasure, NatureWorks also helped fund Wildlife Department projects such as the wetlands project at Keystone Lake, the Grand River Paddlefish study, habitat improvement on the Oologah Wildlife Management Area, and many other Department projects across the state. Additionally, NatureWorks provided a grant in 2009 that puts the Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Oklahoma magazine in every public school and library in the state, furthering outdoor education and putting wildlife information in the hands of future stewards of the outdoors.
            With the warm weather and a few weeks of summer break still remaining, now is an excellent time to take the family to Tulsa and check out some of these monuments that provide a life like representation of wildlife.  For location information, log on to natureworks.org and check out the monuments link at the top of the page.  In addition to providing locations of monuments, it also offers a cool online brochure with info on each of the monuments and NatureWorks.
            For more information about NatureWorks, log on to natureworks.org.
 
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Western Oklahoma photography contest open; winner to be displayed at Wildlife Expo
            This year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo will include something for every kind of outdoorsman, including photographers hoping to showcase their work.
            The Oklahoma Wildlife and Prairie Heritage Alliance is currently accepting entries for the Great Plains Trail Photography Contest, and the winning photo will be displayed at the Wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Judging for the contest will take place at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site in Cheyenne, which will be accepting entries through Aug. 10.
            Submissions should depict the unique attractions, landscapes, wildlife, and wildflowers found across portions of the Great Plains Trail of western Oklahoma.
            “The Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma is a road-based wildlife viewing trail that takes visitors into some of the most unique landscapes in Oklahoma,” said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, a primary partner in the Great Plains Trail project. “Unique wildlife species such as the Texas horned lizard, American pronghorn, prairie dogs and American avocets are just a few of the many wildlife species that can be seen while driving the loops of the Trail.”
            The Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma explores a significant portion of the state located west of HWY 81. Full details on the Great Plains Trail, including different routes, maps and local amenities along the trail can be found by logging on greatplainstrail.com.
            To enter the contest, applicants must mail or deliver their submissions and an official entry form to Washita Battlefield Historic Site, Rt. 1 Box 55a Cheyenne, OK 73628. Contest entry forms and rules can be found online at owpha.org.
            The Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, hosted by the Wildlife Department, is Oklahoma’s largest outdoor recreation event, offering guests the chance to shoot shotguns and archery equipment, ride mountain bikes and ATVs, catch fish in a fully-stocked pond, experience kayaking, attend seminars and even sample wild game and camp cooking for free. The Wildlife Department partners with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host Expo. The event is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.
            Whether catching a fish for the first time or building a bird house to take home with them for free, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a full weekend of free outdoor knowledge, skills and experiences as hundreds of volunteers and Wildlife Department employees work to keep the event exciting, educational and entertaining.
            “If you want to try over a hundred outdoor activities, then be at this year's wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27,” said country music star and outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Ada, who has made an appearance at the Expo in the past. “If you love to hunt and fish like I do, then take someone to this year’s Wildlife Expo.”
            The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year’s Expo activities.
            This year’s Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. Educators interested in planning a trip to the Wildlife Expo with their students this year should call (918) 299-2334 for more information.
 
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Artists wanted for Oklahoma waterfowl stamp design contest
            The Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design contest hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will feature the ringneck in 2010-11, and entries will be accepted from July 1 through Aug. 31, 2009.
            Every year artists from across the country enter their renditions of a pre-selected waterfowl species in the contest, and the winning art is printed on the next year’s Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp, which can also serve as an Oklahoma waterfowl hunting license. Oklahoma waterfowl hunting licenses are required of Oklahoma waterfowl hunters, unless exempt.
            “When waterfowl hunters purchase a stamp or a waterfowl license, they are funding on-the-ground habitat work,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “The stamp is a popular item for collectors as well.”
            Duck stamp sales help finance many projects that benefit ducks and geese. Since the duck stamp program began in 1980, thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat have been created through duck stamp revenues.
            Artwork may be of acrylic, oil, watercolor, scratchboard, pencil, pen and ink, tempera or any other two-dimensional media. The illustration must be horizontal, six and a half inches high and nine inches wide. It must be matted with white mat board nine inches high by 12 inches wide with the opening cut precisely 6.5 x 9. Artwork may not be framed or under glass, but acetate covering should be used to protect the art. All artists must depict the ringneck, and any habitat appearing in the design must be typical of Oklahoma. Artists also can include a retriever dog in their entry, as long as the ringneck is the featured element of the artwork. For complete entry guidelines, call (405) 521-3856.
            Entries should be sent to the Duck Stamp Competition Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Fed Ex, UPS and other ground deliveries should be sent to 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
            Entries will be judged on anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for printing. The winner and honorable mentions will appear in a future issue of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine.
            A non-refundable entry fee of $20 (cash, money order or cashier’s check) must accompany each entry. No entries will be accepted after 4:30 p.m. Aug. 20.
            The winning artist will receive a purchase award of $1,200, and the winning entry will become the sole and exclusive property of the Wildlife Department.
            A selection of waterfowl stamp art from previous years is currently on display in the lobby of the Wildlife Department headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln, in Oklahoma City.
            Prints of previous winning waterfowl artwork can be purchased at wildlifedepartment.com.
            For more information about the contest call (405) 521-3856. For a complete list of contest rules, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Tenkiller anglers’ comments sought for five-year management plan
            Lake Tenkiller anglers have an opportunity to share their thoughts with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Aug. 6.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation values public input in the management of the state’s wildlife resources, and will hold the upcoming meeting to gather feedback on the agency’s five-year fisheries management plan for the lake.
            Anglers have the opportunity to speak their mind on a range of topics affecting the lake ranging from fishery and management goals, objectives and strategies for the lake.
            All Oklahomans are welcome to attend. The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Tahlequah City Library, located at 102 S. College.
            Lake Tenkiller is located in eastern Oklahoma and is part of Oklahoma’s 1,120 square miles of lakes and ponds. There are an estimated 611,000 anglers in the state who spend about $502 million annually. Fishing creates an estimated 10,300 jobs in the state. The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations and is supported by hunting and fishing license fees and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.
            For more information about the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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