APRIL 2010 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF APRIL 29, 2010

WEEK OF APRIL 22, 2010

 

WEEK OF APRIL 15, 2010

 

WEEK OF APRIL 9, 2010

 

WEEK OF APRIL 1, 2010

 

Gobbler season opens April 6; biologists report current turkey activity
            April 6 marks the first day of spring turkey season in Oklahoma, and biologists’ reports from the across the state offer sportsmen early insight going in to the month-long season.
            According to biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, hunters should be successful during turkey season in areas across the state.
            According to Ron Smith, southwest region senior wildlife biologist for the Wildlife Department, hunters in southwest Oklahoma should expect a good season.
            “This year should provide great hunting,” Smith said. “Two years ago we were seeing tremendous numbers of jakes in many places. It seems this year we are seeing lots of nice, mature gobblers. This could be the year a hunter could afford to be extra patient and wait for old big boy. I know I've seen at least a dozen long beards that have really got my attention where I hunt.”
            Smith said the 2009 spring turkey season was a good one in southwest Oklahoma despite unusually cold weather at times and usual windy conditions.
            This year, Smith said mature gobblers still appear to be grouped together, but signs of spring breeding behavior are beginning show.
            “We are seeing early signs of toms starting to strut a little,” Smith said. “Hens are still in pretty large groups. I think with fair weather this week, birds will continue to break up and get more active.”
            While its always smart to begin where successful hunting has been found in previous years, some hunters in southwest Oklahoma may find birds in new places, according to Smith.
            “Birds have noticeably moved into some new areas,” Smith said. “This may have been a result of severe ice damage to core winter roosts. We have seen good numbers of birds in places that we haven't before and received reports of smaller numbers in areas where they have been good in the past. In all, it's not a long range movement; just usually across the fence a half mile from previous hot spots. I wouldn't quit on the old honey holes but pay attention a little further out than usual.”
            In the northwest region of the state, biologists report that turkey activity is beginning to shift toward breeding behavior and that good numbers of two and three-year-old birds are being spotted.
            “These groups of one to three toms usually have anywhere from seven to 20 hens with them and they are still spending a lot of time on cropland, similar to winter behavior,” said Wade Free, northwest region wildlife supervisor for the Wildlife Department, “But there has been a gradual shift to rangeland, timber, and more upland areas where the hens are spending more time in search of favorable nesting areas.”
            Free said hunters can expect tom turkeys to be “henned up” early in the day, so later afternoon calling could be most productive. But as the season progresses and warmer temperatures arrive, gobbling activity can be expected to pick up.
            “If we don’t get that traditional April snow storm in the northwest, the season opener will be a good one,” Free said.
            Free said it is important to have studied the behaviors of wild turkeys for times like those when tom turkeys are difficult to call, such as when they are well-surrounded by hens in the early season. Setting up in good habitat where birds are known or expected to be is helpful when calling activity is slow.
            “Calling is important but if you can out smart the birds before you ever strike the call you are way ahead of the game,” Free said. “A poor to fair caller with excellent hunting skills will always harvest more birds than the best caller that hasn't scouted and studied the birds.”
            Free advises hunters to consider the same advice he tells his own children when it comes to turkey hunting.
            “I always ask my kids, ‘If you were a coyote and wanted turkey dinner, where would you set up? Okay, go there,’” Free said. “If you are in the right spot, your calling will be good enough. On public land we like to set up where other hunters may push the birds in our favor. Another good tactic that has put more birds in the bag for us is, when you are ready to pick up and move to another location, set your watch and stay 15 more minutes. This will get you more turkeys, I guarantee it.”
            Steve Conrady, wildlife biologist stationed at Canton Wildlife Management Area in northwest Oklahoma, estimates that flocks in his area are mostly broken up and that gobbling activity on the roost is good.
            “Hunting midday will likely be more successful for harvesting mature toms,” Conrady said. “Avoid hunting near roost locations or disturbing birds on the roost. Disturbance in or around the roost will move birds to other locations, usually off the WMA.”
            Johnny Herd, central region wildlife supervisor for the Department, encourages hunters to go hunting next week and look for locations that eliminate barriers between hunters and birds. Fence lines and creeks may sometimes discourage gobblers from coming all the way in to hunters’ calls.
            Herd reminds hunters to focus on rhythm in their calling more than sound.
            “Call lightly, and if a tom responds, quit calling and remain very still,” he said.
            Herd also reminds hunters that gobbling toms and decoys may attract other hunters and to observe appropriate safety measures.
            Reports from biologists in the northeast region of the state indicate spring turkey activity is a couple weeks behind normal due to cold, wet weather through February and March.
            “There has been some gobbling activity on nice days, but we really need more warm, dry weather to get them going,” said Craig Endicott, northeast region wildlife supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “Depending on weather, hunters will probably find toms still with hens come opening week.”
            According to Endicott, last years season could be categorized as “fair to slow.” The last three summers have had persistent high rainfall events and flooding in the region that have not been conducive to good turkey hatching and rearing.
            “As a result, hunters reported not hearing as much gobbling activity last year,” Endicott said. “Additionally, we had a cold front come through the weekend of the youth season which slowed bird activity during the first two weeks of the 2009 spring season.”
            Like in other regions, gobblers in the northeast are expected to be with hens during the opener, and patience will be key.
            Endicott said “prospect calling” — calling to no specific bird but rather, simply trying to get a response — and even aggressive calling in hopes of drawing in hens (with toms hopefully in tow) may be useful approaches.
            Warmer, drier weather will increase gobbler activity,” said Endicott, who also noted that recent wet weather could make opening day access to some hunting spots more challenging.
            “Scouting is the key to success,” Endicott said.
            Scott Cox, wildlife biologist stationed at Spavinaw and Oologah WMAs in northeast Oklahoma, said bird numbers on the areas may be better than expected and that hunters should try calling in 15 to 30 minute intervals, using decoys if necessary.
            Wet weather during February and March may also have put spring breeding activity slightly behind in the southeast region as well, based on reports from biologists, timber contractors and turkey hunters.
            Jack Waymire, southeast region senior biologist for the Department, said the region’s insect population has not fully recovered from extreme drought during 2005 and 2006, which also has impacted poult survival. As a result, hunters reported less gobbling activity last year. Still, last year’s hunting season was fair.
            Waymire confirmed that gobblers will more than likely be tied up with hens early in the season, as in other regions.
            “When the majority of the hens begin their incubation process, the gobblers should be more receptive to the hunter’s calling,” Waymire said. “Patience is key.”
            Waymire said to start where birds were found last year.
            The wild turkey in Oklahoma has its own success story. In the 1920s, wild turkeys were rare in Oklahoma and across the nation. Overharvest from market hunting, timbering for construction of homesteads, land use changes and market logging in Oklahoma’s early years took a toll on the wild turkey, but a stocking program by the Wildlife Department in the late 1940s helped re-establish the wild turkey to its former range across the state.
            Today, turkeys are so plentiful that huntable populations exist in all 77 counties. Every county in Oklahoma has either a one- or two-tom season limit, and an eight-county region in southeast Oklahoma has a combined two-tom season limit. However, persistent hunters can harvest up to their season limit of three tom turkeys in one day, but individual county limits still apply. No more than one tom may be taken in any county with a one-tom limit and no more than two toms may be taken from any county with a two-tom limit. No more than two toms may be taken from Atoka, Choctaw, Coal, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, Pittsburg and Pushmataha counties combined.
            To hunt turkeys, sportsmen need an appropriate state hunting license as well as a turkey license, unless exempt. Upon harvesting a turkey, all annual license holders are required to complete the “Record of Game” section on the license form, and all hunters, even lifetime license holders, must attach their name and hunting license number to their turkey as soon as it is harvested. Only toms, or bearded turkeys, may be taken during the spring season, and all turkeys taken east of I-35 must be checked at the nearest open hunter check station, with an authorized Wildlife Department employee or online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            The season runs through May 6 and is open to shotgun and archery equipment. Seasons on public land may vary from statewide season dates. For regulations, specific firearms and archery requirements, a state map showing individual county bag limits and full details on public lands season dates, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”
For license information and regulations for spring turkey hunting, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Oklahoma Archery in the Schools state shoot draws over 1,600
            Archery is one of only a handful of sports that enables students of all ages, sizes and athletic abilities to compete at the same level for top honors, and as a sport dominated by precision and practice rather than age and brawn, the annual Oklahoma Archery in the Schools State Shoot was anyone’s game.
            Over 1,600 students from 129 of the 225 Oklahoma schools involved in the program turned out at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City March 31 for the state shoot. The event brought students together after a season of practice and competition in their respective schools as part of the Oklahoma Archery in the Schools Program, administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
            This year’s state shoot saw an increase of almost 600 students over last year’s state shoot, and the program continues to grow as new schools welcome the program into their classrooms.  
            Partial grants are available for schools to acquire all the equipment, including bows, arrows, targets, safety nets, curriculum and training necessary to begin an OAIS program in their communities at little cost.
            Teachers interested in learning more about the OAIS program or in starting an OAIS program at their school should contact Justin Marschall, OAIS coordinator for the Wildlife Department, at (405) 522-4572 or  contact Colin Berg at (918) 299-2334.
            Coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Archery in the Schools is part of the National Archery in the Schools program. The program partners state wildlife agencies, schools and the nation’s archery industry to introduce students to the sport of archery. The Archery in the Schools curriculum is designed for 4th-12th graders and covers archery history, safety, techniques, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement.
            The top three shooters in each category at the state shoot received medals and prizes. First place winners received a new Genesis bow, second place winners received a new set of Alpen binoculars and third place winners took home a new bow carrying case. The overall top boy and girl shooters received Morrell archery targets, and the overall top shooter received a customized Genesis bow. In addition, the top five shooters in each category and first place teams automatically qualified for the national shoot to be held in Louisville, Ky.
            The top three shooters in each age category, as well as the overall top boy and girl shooters and top school teams are as follows:
 
Elementary Girls
Haylie Douglas, Chickasha Grand Elementary
Courtney Grigg, Chickasha Grand Elementary
Caroline Morales, Wayland Bonds Elementary (in Oklahoma City)

Elementary Boys
Tyler Brewer, Wayland Bonds Elementary (in Oklahoma City)
Clayton Mosley, Chickasha Grand Elementary
Drake Pounds, Porum Elementary

Middle School Girls
Cheyenne Keith, Greenville Middle School (in Marietta)
Bailey Tolliver, Zaneis Middle School
Michelle Holiman, Maryetta Middle School (in Stilwell)

Middle School Boys
Brydon Edmonds, Chickasha Middle School
Will Gibson, Chandler Middle School
Willie Wolfe, Maryetta Middle School (in Stilwell)

High School Girls
Jesse Bullard, Wister High School
Kayla Replogle, Coweta High School
Taylor Gee, Coweta High School

High School Boys
Cole Thompson, Keys High School
Colton Woolbright, Wister High School
Cole Welch, Keys High School
 
Overall Boys Shootout Winner:
Brydon Edmonds, Chickasha Middle School
 
Overall Girls Shootout Winner:
Haylie Douglas, Chickasha Grand Elementary
 
 
Team Standings:
Elementary Teams, & Locations
1st place: Chickasha Grand Elementary, Chickasha
2nd place: Wayland Bonds, Oklahoma City
3rd place: Zaneis, Wilson
 
Middle School Teams & Locations
1st place: Zaneis, Wilson
2nd place: Maryetta, Stilwell
3rd place: Chickasha Middle, Chickasha
 
High School Teams & Locations
1st place: Coweta, Coweta
2nd place: Keys, Park Hill
3rd place: Wister, Wister
 
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Unique approach to unique state record fish
            While angling is popular statewide, many Oklahomans may know little about gigging — an approach that recently yielded two new state record fish.
            Gigging is the sport of using spears to harvest fish such as the state record Northern hogsucker taken by Bixby angler Clint Williams March 15 and the river redhorse taken by his brother Carl Williams of Coweta two days later. Both fish were gigged from the Illinois River.
            The hogsucker weighed in at 2 lbs .01 oz and measured 15 5/8 inches in length. Carl’s river redhorse weighed 10 lbs. 19 oz. and measured 28 inches in length.
            In Oklahoma, gigs and spears are legal for taking nongame fish and white bass only. It’s a sport mostly done at night, and though not widely participated in throughout the state, spearing and gigging fish is like traditional archery deer hunting — it may not be as common as other approaches but participants consider it an exciting way to fish.
            The Williams brothers started gigging when they were kids and recently started enjoying the sport again. Carl said the sport is like a “combination of hunting and fishing,” and offers a stalking aspect to angling.
            “There’s nothing like it,” he said.
            Gigs and spears must not contain more than three points (with no more than two barbs on each point), and their use is legal in all rivers and streams from Dec. 1 through March 31, and year-round in all reservoirs unless restricted under “special area regulations.” Additionally, gigs are permitted year-round in rivers and streams in Delaware and Mayes counties, unless restricted under “special area regulations.” For full regulations, including “special area regulations,” consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide,” available where fishing licenses are sold or online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            For a complete list of record fish and the procedures regarding certifying state record fish, consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Anglers who believe they may have hooked a record fish must weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale, and the weight must be verified by a Wildlife Department employee.
 



 


state record river redhorse
 
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Recent Lake Records
 
Lake: Ft. Cobb
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Angler: Shanon Pack
Date caught: March 30
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=891
 
Lake: Hefner
Species: Smallmouth bass
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
Angler: Bryan P. Suchy
Date caught: March 29
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=889
 
Lake: Wes Watkins
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.7 lbs.
Angler: Cory Gray
Date caught: March 29
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=888
 
Lake: Texoma
Species: Spotted bass
Weight: 3.8 lbs.
Angler: Royce Harlan
Date caught: March 28
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=886
 
Lake: R.S. Kerr
Species: Spotted bass
Weight: 3.4 lbs.
Angler: Joe Erwin
Date caught: March 28
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=894


Lake: Shawnee Twin #1
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.1 lbs.
Angler: Lucas Ellis
Date caught: March 24
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=884


Lake: Oologah
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Angler: Cody McEndree
Date caught: March 23
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=883


 
For more on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program, including a user-friendly record fish search feature, log on to
http://129.15.97.19/fishsite/
 

Sportsmen to enjoy expanded holiday antlerless deer gun season
            Big game hunting opportunities continue to expand statewide with the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission’s recent approval of changes to the state’s antlerless deer and private lands elk seasons.
            At it’s April meeting, the Commission approved a motion to combine the state’s two annual holiday antlerless deer seasons — previously held the weekend prior to Christmas Day and the weekend prior to New Years Day — into one expanded 10-day season. The season will be scheduled so that the last day of the 10-day antlerless season falls on the last Sunday in December.
            According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the proposal to run the holiday antlerless season for 10 straight days will have several positive outcomes, such as eliminating confusing dates and opening doors for constituents.
            “We won’t have the stop and start effect that we’ve got right now,” Peoples said. “The kids will be off on Christmas break, and they’ll have 10 days of antlerless hunting opportunities.”
            Among other deer hunting opportunities, sportsmen have enjoyed the holiday antlerless deer season for eight years.
            Another big game rule change approved by the Commission includes reducing the antler point requirement on bull elk on private land in the southwest zone from at least six points on one side to at least five points on one side, and defining a point as being at least an inch long and coming off the main beam.
            “There are mature bull elk out there with only five points to a side,” Peoples said.
            The Wildlife Department has worked closely with private landowners in Caddo, Comanche and Kiowa counties to manage elk that occur on private lands outside of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The elk on private lands in the southwest zone are, from a management perspective, broken into two distinct herds. Those that occur on private lands west of Hwy 115 are referred to as the Granite Hills herd, and those that occur on the east side of Hwy 115 are referred to as the Slick Hills herd.
            According to Peoples, the Department agrees with private landowners’ interest in reducing antler point requirement to allow for harvesting more mature bulls and increasing cow hunting days to help control depredation of agricultural crops.
            Six days of cow elk hunting will be added to the Granite Hills area of the southwest elk zone. The added days will include three days in October and three days December.
            The Commission also heard a presentation on the Wildlife Department’s farm pond fish stocking program. Barry Bolton, fisheries chief for the Department, reported that the nearly 40-year-old program typically sees around 300 applicants per year. On average, the Wildlife Department stocks approximately 1,000 acres of water in Oklahoma each year at a cost of around $40 per pond.
            Ponds stocked in the program must be new or reclaimed ponds free of an existing fish population. According to Bolton, fish stocked through the program measure one to two inches in length and would likely be heavily preyed upon by existing fish.
            In the past, ponds were physically inspected by a local game warden to ensure no fish were present before being accepted into the program. Though that practice was relaxed over time, the Department will reinstate the inspections to ensure the fish are being stocked effectively and not wasted.
            “I believe this is an important program,” Bolton said. “It provides significant fishing opportunity and positive public relations for ODWC,” Bolton said.
            More information about the Department’s farm pond fish stocking program is available online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            In other business, the Commission recognized the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation for donations that have benefited the Wildlife Department’s programs and conservation efforts.
            “During 2009, the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation donated over $6,000 to the ODWC for various programs,” Bolton said.
            George Edwards represented the Wildlife Federation at the meeting, where the group’s donations were recognized, including purchasing a boat trailer, gillnets, herbicides for food plot management, and supporting important programs such as the Oklahoma Archery in the Schools Program.
            “George has been a very strong supporter of this agency for many years through the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation and through personal efforts,” said Richard Hatcher, director of the Wildlife Department.
            The Commission also received an update on the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University, which has been an important partner in conservation with the Wildlife Department.
            The program combines multiple disciplines at Oklahoma State University into one department and has been working in the areas of forestry, fisheries, wildlife ecology, range ecology, fire ecology and youth. About 160 undergraduate students and about 57 graduate students are involved in the program, with several graduate students indirectly funded through the Wildlife Department.
            The Commission also recognized Mark Hamill, wildlife technician stationed at Hugo and Pine Creek Wildlife Management Areas, for 25 years of service to the Wildlife Department.
            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., May 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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First Annual Women on Target clinic at Tri-City Gun Club scheduled; registration open
            If you thought there was no way women could shoot as good as men, think again.
            The first annual Women on Target Shooting Clinic at Tri-City Gun Club will be held Saturday, May 15, but registration for the event will be open through May 8.
Sponsored by the National Rifle Association, the Women on Target program has been successful at other Oklahoma shooting venues, such as the Oklahoma City Gun Club.  The first time the OKC Gun club held a clinic was in 2000, where more than 50 women attended. In 2009, more than 400 women attended. The Tri-City Gun Club clinic is expected to be another well-attended event.
"I am very excited to have such a great group of dedicated women and men assisting and teaching at our first Tri-City Gun Club NRA Women on Target Clinic,” said Joyce McBee, director of NRA Women on Target at Tri-City “Providing women a comfortable and safe environment in their quest to learn about shooting gives all of us a sense of pride and success in promoting our love of the outdoor shooting sports."
Certified instructors will teach participants the basics of the shooting sports, including air pistol, .22 caliber rifle, shotgun, black powder and archery. All equipment, including hearing and eye protection as well as ammunition will be provided, and women will learn how to safely handle and store a firearm as well as learn other general firearm basics in a safe, friendly environment with other women.
Participants can expect to gain confidence in their shooting sports knowledge and technique as well as be surrounded by other first time shooters and instructors with the patience and experience to guide them through the process.
Women make up about 15 percent of the national hunting and shooting participation. From 2000 to 2005, there was a 72 percent increase in the amount of women hunting with firearms, while the number of women hunting with bows grew more than 176 percent.
            The Tri-City Gun Club’s Women on Target Shooting Clinic is limited to 100 women at least 21 years of age or older and costs $35 per person. To register for the event, contact Lindsey Blake at (405) 887-5791 or by email at TriCityWOT@gmail.com


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Land management course available this summer
            Those interested in managing land sustainably for wildlife, livestock or timber have a chance to learn from experts at a unique course this summer.
            Coming this June, Oklahoma State University Natural Resource Ecology and Management Extension is hosting a short course at the Oklahoma County Extension Office. Topics include wildlife management, grazing management, timber management and prescribed fire, all important land management tools, even for owners of smaller tracts of land.
            The course will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 8,15, 22, and 29 at the Oklahoma County Extension Office (930 N Portland, Oklahoma City). The registration fee is $250, and the deadline to sign up is May 1.
            The wildlife management portion of the course showcases managing for quail, whitetail deer and wild turkeys and also includes sections about lease hunting and dealing with wildlife damage.
            The three other sections will showcase techniques for general land improvement and upkeep.  
            “This course will give landowners direct contact with natural resource professionals in the areas of range, forest, fire and wildlife ecology,” said Dwayne Elmore, Ph.D, Extension Wildlife Specialist for NREM at OSU.  “Discussions will be applied and relevant to landowners regardless of the size or condition of the property.”
            Longtime land managers as well as inexperienced landowners are welcome.
            “This course will be especially useful for any landowners that have acquired land recently and are not sure how to manage it,” said Elmore.
            For more information, contact Elmore at (405) 744-9636.
 
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Controlled Hunts application online now
            Oklahoma sportsmen have enjoyed countless hunts and harvested a range of game they otherwise would have missed had it not been for them taking just a few minutes to apply for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s controlled hunts program.
            Hunters hoping to draw out for a bull elk, whitetail deer, antelope or other controlled hunt through the program can now submit applications over the Internet by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com.
            Ryan Parker of Yukon is one of those who believe it is well worth the time to apply for controlled hunts.
            “I know I have benefited greatly from them,” Parker said. “Both my first deer — a doe — and my first buck — an eight-point — were taken on controlled hunts held in southeast Oklahoma. I encourage everyone to seek this ‘extra’ tag and take advantage of the best public opportunity available to Oklahoma sportsmen.”
            The controlled hunts program offers a wide variety of highly desirable hunts through a random drawing. Opportunities offered through the program include hunts on Department or other government-owned or managed lands where unrestricted hunting would pose safety concerns or where overharvest might occur.
            All applicants, including lifetime license holders, must pay a $5 application fee to enter the controlled hunts drawings. The fee is paid only once per person per year regardless of the number of categories entered.
            Applications are offered online through a secure process that only accepts applications once they have been filed correctly, and a print-out confirmation page is available for sportsmen to document their submitted application.
            Applicants have until May 15 to apply online.
            For complete application instructions, including tips on enhancing your chances of being selected as well as a full listing of available hunts for elk, deer, antelope, turkey, quail and raccoon, log on to
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com .
 
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Country music star lands lake record paddlefish
            Country music star and avid outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Tishomingo landed a lake record paddlefish April 13 when he reeled in a 40 lb. fish from below the Lake Hudson dam.
            The fish measured 41 inches in length and was caught by way of snagging — the most common approach to catching “spoonbills.” Paddlefish do not strike lures or live bait but instead feed on tiny organisms called plankton.
            “I have been an outdoorsman my whole life and I love to hunt and fish,” Shelton, 33, said. “I have been fishing as long as I can remember, and catching a paddlefish is the most exciting kind of fishing I have ever experienced.”
            Shelton’s lake record comes just as the paddlefish angling in northeast Oklahoma is peaking. The best time to fish for paddlefish is during the spring (usually late March to mid-April) when the fish move up from reservoirs into rivers for their annual spawning run. The fish travel upstream and become concentrated, making it easier for anglers to locate good fishing spots.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, but they can also go with a sense of competitive drive in hopes of putting their name in a record book.
            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 and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            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. 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 lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
****Photo*****
 
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=926
 
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Last chance to meet April 16 deadline for Wildlife Department’s summer camp
            Applications for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s annual Wildlife Youth Camp will be accepted through April 16.
            The youth camp, which will be held July 11-16 at Oklahoma University Biological Station at Lake Texoma, introduces youth age 14-16 to careers in wildlife-related fields and increases their awareness of conserving and managing Oklahoma’s wildlife resources. The free camp allows youth to gain first-hand knowledge of careers in wildlife and fisheries management as well as law enforcement. Some participants even move on to rewarding careers as employees of the Wildlife Department.
            Courses planned for the week include rifle and shotgun training, muzzleloading, wildlife identification, wildlife law enforcement, fishing, fisheries management, ropes and rappelling, swimming, and turkey and waterfowl hunting, management and enforcement.
            To attend youth camp, applicants must turn 14 prior to June 11, 2010, and be no older than 16. Applicants must write a 75-word essay describing why they want to attend the camp, why they should be selected and what they expect to learn. Additionally, they must provide a letter of recommendation by someone outside their family and a photograph from a recent outdoor-related event or activity.
            The camp will be open to a maximum of 35 youth, and applications will be accepted through April 16, 2010. More information and applications, as well as photographs from previous youth camps are available by logging on to
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com
 
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Kiamichi Mountains to host students at Youth Forestry and Wildlife Camp
            Oklahoma’s beautiful Beavers Bend State Park is the setting for one of the longest running summer camps in Oklahoma—the Oklahoma Youth Forestry and Wildlife Camp hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
            This year the camp is slated for June 7-12 for boys and girls aged 13 to 15 years old that want to learn more about forestry, wildlife and conservation while in an outdoor setting. As one of Oklahoma’s premier summer camps, students attend from across the state — many following the tradition of their parents and grandparents who are camp alumni. Field trips, Native American crafts, educational sessions and recreational programs are the heart of the weeklong camp. Campgrounds feature air-conditioned bunkhouses, a dining hall, hot showers, basketball and volleyball courts and an amphitheater.
            Along with exploring natural resources through a series of programs on wildlife management, forest management, stream ecology, fire management, urban forestry and multiple resource management, campers will also have time for swimming, hiking, fishing, canoeing and other outdoor recreation in the Kiamichi Mountains while making new friends from across the state.
            “Kids today don’t necessarily see how things in the environment are all connected,” said Christina Stallings Roberson, education coordinator for Oklahoma Forestry Services. “One main theme of this camp is to show those relationships.”
            Older youth, ages 18 to 22, can also participate in the weeklong learning experience as camp counselors. Applicants should be mature, responsible young adults with an interest in outdoor careers such as forestry, wildlife or education and have the ability to guide younger youth throughout the camp. Volunteer adult leaders also are needed.
            Camper, counselor and adult applications will be accepted until April 30, 2010, and can be obtained by logging on to www.forestry.ok.gov or by calling (405) 522-6158. The fee for campers is $175, which covers all costs including meals, transportation at camp, field trips, and workshops. A limited number of partial scholarships are available.
            Camper applications must be accompanied by a letter of reference from a teacher, counselor, principal, or club leader that has personal knowledge of the camper’s interest and conduct.
 
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Celebrate the outdoors on Hackberry Flat Day
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Friends of Hackberry Flat are offering a fun-filled day for the entire family on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hackberry Flat Center located near Frederick in southwest Oklahoma.
            Activities at the event will include birding tours and wetland hayrides, in addition to opportunities to try archery and shotgun shooting. Activities inside the Center include viewing wetland “critters” in the wetland classroom, making an edible wetland, and experiencing an interactive exhibit about bats in Oklahoma.
            The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site will have bison artifacts for visitors to examine while they learn how parts of the bison were used historically. Back by popular demand, families will have the opportunity to build a bird house to take home and place on their property.
            The Friends of Hackberry Flat will offer the bird house make-n-take programs at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to the first 10 families at each of the programs.
            Registration is not required and visitors can come and go as they please.
            All activities will begin at the new Hackberry Flat Center, a facility that provides wetland classroom experiences for school groups, programs on wildlife and wildlife-related activities as well as meeting facilities for resource-oriented programs, workshops and meetings.
            The Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area is an important piece of Oklahoma’s cultural and natural heritage. Not only does it represent a shift in the mindset of Oklahomans to a more habitat-minded approach to land management than 100 years ago when the area was first drained by farmers for agriculture, but it now provides habitat for a range of upland game and thousands of migratory and wetland-dependent birds including shorebirds, waterbirds, waterfowl, grassland birds, songbirds and raptors. Thanks to habitat restoration efforts by the Wildlife Department with funds generated by sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts, the area now is comprised of 3,000 acres of wetland, 35 wetland units, 35 miles of dikes and canals and 99 water control structures. The wetland is surrounded by approximately 3,500 acres of upland including both prairie and cropland for wildlife food production.
            For more information or to receive a booklet about the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, call the Frederick Chamber of Commerce at (580) 335-2126 or Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department, at (405) 990-4977.
 
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New Wister lake record crappie goes over four pounds; other lake records fill the books
            When Wister angler Jon Duvall and his cousin Clint decided to take a few youngsters fishing April 17, they ended up catching very few fish, but one reeled in by Duvall was a real whopper by any crappie angler’s standards.
            Duvall’s crappie weighed 4.2 lb. and measured 17.75 inches in length, setting a Wister lake record not likely to be surpassed for some time. He caught the slab on a jig in the lower end of the lake.
            Up to that point, only one crappie had been caught — one landed by Clint on the first cast of the trip. Though Duvall said that first fish was a nice crappie and the fishing party was excited about a potentially great fishing trip, the fishing did not pick up.
            “We fished and fished, but caught nothing,” Duvall said “Finally, right before it started to rain, I caught the biggest crappie we had ever seen.”
            Just one day before Duvall caught his huge “papermouth,” another lake record crappie was landed by 14-year-old angler Jessica Ellis. She caught her 2.3 lb. crappie from Tecumseh Lake using a Rainbow rod and reel given to her that day by her brother, who is also a lake record holder for a crappie he caught in March at Shawnee Twin Lake #1. Ellis’s lake record crappie, which she caught on natural bait in an area behind the lake’s pavilion, was also her first crappie.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, but they can also go with a sense of competitive drive in hopes of putting their name in a record book.
            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 and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            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. 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 website 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 lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
 Duvall Crappie:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=941
Ellis Crappie:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=935


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Lake record updates for April
 
Lake: Chouteau L
Species: Striped bass hybrid
Weight: 11.5 lbs.
Angler: Joshua Denton
Date caught: April 20
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=944
 
Lake: Ft. Cobb
Species: Largemouth bass
Weight: 10.6 lbs.
Angler: Charles R. Coffman
Date caught: April 18
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=939
 
Lake: Tenkiller
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.3 lbs.
Angler: Mike Hayman
Date caught: April 18
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=940
 
Lake: Hudson
Species: Paddlefish
Weight: 40 lbs.
Angler: Blake Shelton
Date caught: April 13
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=926


Lake: Okmulgee
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.3
Angler: Glen Brown
Date caught: April 11
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=929
 
Lake: Murray
Species: Largemouth bass
Weight: 12.1 lbs.
Angler: Jeff Kriet
Date caught: April 7
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=902
 
Lake: Kaw
Species: White bass
Weight: 3.3 lbs.
Angler: Michael Bastemeyer
Date caught: April 5
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=900
 
Lake: Thunderbird
Species: Crappie
Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Angler: Jereme Fortune
Date caught: April 2
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=897
 
Lake: Kaw
Species: Crappie
Weight: 3.0 lbs.
Angler: Robert Robinson
Date caught: April 2
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=899
 
Lake: Sardis
Species: Largemouth bass
Weight: 11.8 lbs.
Angler: Mark Wiles
Date caught: March 30
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=906
 
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First Annual Women on Target at Tri-City Gun Club Coming Soon
            The first annual Women on Target Shooting Clinic at Tri-City Gun Club will be held Saturday, May 15, but the registration for the event will be open through May 8.
Sponsored by the National Rifle Association, the Women on Target program has been successful at other Oklahoma shooting venues, such as the Oklahoma City Gun Club.  The first time the OKC Gun club held a clinic was in 2000, where more than 50 women attended. In 2009, more than 400 women attended. The Tri-City Gun Club clinic is expected to be another well-attended event.
"I am very excited to have such a great group of dedicated women and men assisting and teaching at our first Tri-City Gun Club NRA Women on Target Clinic,” said Joyce McBee, director of NRA Women on Target at Tri-City “Providing women a comfortable and safe environment in their quest to learn about shooting gives all of us a sense of pride and success in promoting our love of the outdoor shooting sports."
Certified instructors will teach participants the basics of the shooting sports, including air pistol, .22 caliber rifle, shotgun, black powder and archery. All equipment, including hearing and eye protection as well as ammunition will be provided, and women will learn how to safely handle and store a firearm as well as learn other general firearm basics in a safe, friendly environment with other women.
Participants can expect to gain confidence in their shooting sports knowledge and technique as well as be surrounded by other first time shooters and instructors with the patience and experience to guide them through the process.
Women make up about 15 percent of the national participation in hunting and shooting. From 2000 to 2005, there was a 72 percent increase in the amount of women hunting with firearms, while the number of women hunting with bows grew more than 176 percent.
            The Tri-City Gun Club’s Women on Target Shooting Clinic is limited to 100 women at least 21 years of age or older and costs $35 per person. To register for the event, contact Lindsey Blake at (405) 887-5791 or by email at TriCityWOT@gmail.com
 
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Oklahoma pro angler lands lake record while fishing Lake Murray
            Professional angler and Oklahoma resident Jeff Kriet caught both a personal best and a lake record largemouth bass this month at Lake Murray when he reeled in a 12.1 lb. fish from the south end of the dam.
            Kriet, who lives in Ardmore, was fishing for smallmouth, and though his party landed more than 50 that day, it was the largemouth that put him in the record books.
            “That’s the biggest bass I’d ever caught,” said Kriet, who has been bass fishing full time for the past 15 years. “I’ve fished all over the place.”
            Kriet has been fishing Lake Murray for about 35 years, and the lake has not only produced his best largemouth, but he also caught his best smallmouth out of the lake as well. However, unlike the smallmouth, which he said weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz., the largemouth was officially weighed and put in the books for good.
            “I think it’s a great deal,” Kriet said about the lake record fish program.
            When fishing a lake, he said he often finds himself curious to know what the record for that body of water might be, which is one reason he likes the lake record fish program. Endless stories are told about big fish from various lakes — and there is undoubtedly some truth to many of them — but with no official record, there is an element of legend to it that leaves room for skeptics.
            But with the lake record fish program, fish get the recognition they deserve and prove to other anglers just what kind of fish Oklahoma lakes can produce, and Kriet’s Lake Murray largemouth is no exception.
            Kriet said the lake record program gives anglers an incentive to have big fish officially weighed, drawing attention to fish that deserve to be recognized and removing any doubt about what kind of fish swim in Oklahoma waters.
            “It’s on paper and it was let go,” said Kriet about his fish. “It’s not a rumor anymore.”
            The information from Kriet’s bass is in the record books, but the actual fish is back in Lake Murray, only to grow and perhaps break its own record under the name of a future angler.
            “It’s a great lake,” said Kriet about Lake Murray. “It’s just full of fish.”
            The day Kriet caught his lake record largemouth, he went to a honey-hole on the lake where he knew fish spawned early, and it was there he landed his lake record.
            The fish measured 26 inches in length and 20.5 inches in girth.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, but they can also go with a sense of competitive drive in hopes of putting their name in a record book.
            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 and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            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. 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 website 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 lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
 
****Photo*****
 

http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=902
 
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Ft. Cobb angler lands 10.6 lb. lake record bass from improved habitat area
            When Charles Coffman of Ardmore nabbed a 10.6 lb. lake record largemouth bass from Ft. Cobb Lake April 18, fisheries biologists were pleased, not only because the fish was the first known largemouth bass over 10 lbs. from the western Oklahoma lake, but also because it was caught in an area recently targeted for improving fishing opportunities.
            The fish was caught from a new shallow-water brush pile near the new dock that was installed by Fort Cobb State Park and the Bureau of Reclamation. The brush pile, created by personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, was part of an effort to draw fish to concentrated areas so anglers can enjoy improved success.
            “We pursued the shallow-water brush project after results of last year’s bass sampling showed quick returns — adult bass found and used the trees within days — and it’s nice to see that it translated to angler success as well,” said Larry Cofer, southwest region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department.
            The shallow-water brush project at Ft. Cobb involved cutting and placing over 500 cedar trees in eight locations across the lake, and more than half of the trees are visible to anglers in no-wake zones of the lake.
            “We already received several good comments from bass and crappie anglers and look forward to many more fishing success stories from Ft. Cobb,” Cofer said.
            Invasive cedar trees spread fast and, for the amount of nutrients and space they take up, they offer few benefits to wildlife that cannot be obtained from noninvasive native trees. As a result, one of the best places for cedar trees, if not treated with prescribed fire, is at the bottom of a lake where fish will use them as cover. There, they not only provide habitat, but they also provide fishing opportunities for anglers while benefiting land-dwelling wildlife.
            Coffman’s largemouth bass measured 25 inches in length and 18 inches in girth. It was caught on a soft plastic bait and goes down as one of many lake records set this spring on lakes all across the state.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, but they can also go with a sense of competitive drive in hopes of putting their name in a record book.
            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 and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            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. 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 website 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 lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
 

http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=939
 
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Wildlife Department announces new law enforcement chief
            This Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently announced the agency has selected a new chief to lead its law enforcement division.
            Robert Fleenor was promoted to the chief's position after being promoted to assistant chief of law enforcement last year.
            As chief, Fleenor will oversee all aspects of the law enforcement division and looks forward to his new leadership role.
            "I have served as a game warden in the field for the past 33 years and the opportunity to serve as the chief of law enforcement is both a great opportunity and challenge," Fleenor said.
            Fleenor began his career at the Wildlife Department in 1976 as a game warden in Latimer Co. in southeast Oklahoma. He transferred to Cherokee Co. in 1978, and then to Creek Co. in 1982, where he remained until promoting to assistant chief in 2009.
            Fleenor's long career as a game warden has helped prepare him for his leadership role.
            "My many years in the field and the varied assignments and extensive leadership training that I have undertaken have had a great influence in molding my career," Fleenor said.
            Fleenor attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on a baseball scholarship, where he pitched left-handed and had a mean fastball. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Northeastern State University at Tahlequah.
            Fleenor has been married to his wife, Donna, for 21 years, and they have four children and eight grandchildren. Donna is an adjunct professor for Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
            Effective May 1, taking the role of assistant chief of law enforcement will be Bill Hale, who previously was a game warden stationed in Stephens County.
            For information about the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Celebrate the outdoors on Hackberry Flat Day
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Friends of Hackberry Flat are offering a fun-filled day for the entire family on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hackberry Flat Center located near Frederick in southwest Oklahoma.
            Activities at the event will include birding tours and wetland hayrides, in addition to opportunities to try archery and shotgun shooting. Activities inside the Center include viewing wetland “critters” in the wetland classroom, making an edible wetland, and experiencing an interactive exhibit about bats in Oklahoma.
            The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site will have bison artifacts for visitors to examine while they learn how parts of the bison were used historically. Back by popular demand, families will have the opportunity to build a bird house to take home and place on their property.
            The Friends of Hackberry Flat will offer the bird house make-n-take programs at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to the first 10 families at each of the programs.
            Registration is not required and visitors can come and go as they please.
            All activities will begin at the new Hackberry Flat Center, a facility that provides wetland classroom experiences for school groups, programs on wildlife and wildlife-related activities as well as meeting facilities for resource-oriented programs, workshops and meetings.
            The Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area is an important piece of Oklahoma’s cultural and natural heritage. Not only does it represent a shift in the mindset of Oklahomans to a more habitat-minded approach to land management than 100 years ago when the area was first drained by farmers for agriculture, but it now provides habitat for a range of upland game and thousands of migratory and wetland-dependent birds including shorebirds, waterbirds, waterfowl, grassland birds, songbirds and raptors. Thanks to habitat restoration efforts by the Wildlife Department with funds generated by sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts, the area now is comprised of 3,000 acres of wetland, 35 wetland units, 35 miles of dikes and canals and 99 water control structures. The wetland is surrounded by approximately 3,500 acres of upland including both prairie and cropland for wildlife food production.
            For more information or to receive a booklet about the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, call the Frederick Chamber of Commerce at (580) 335-2126 or Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department, at (405) 990-4977.
 
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