AUGUST 2010
NEWS RELEASES
 

WEEK OF AUGUST 26, 2010


WEEK OF AUGUST 19, 2010

WEEK OF AUGUST 12, 2010

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 5, 2010

 

Ancient art of archery a modern pastime and big business; try it at the Wildlife Expo
            Some things never get old, like archery. Though the art of shooting an arrow with a bow is considered ancient by anyone’s standard, it remains a popular outdoor sport today, with continually advancing technology and a booming industry. Visitors to this year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo can shoot a bow and arrow for free and receive hands-on instruction to sharpen their archery skills.
            This year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is slated for Sept. 25-26 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Activities available to visitors include a range of outdoor recreational opportunities. In addition to archery, visitors can plan on free fishing opportunities in a stocked pond, shotgun shooting, kayaking, mountain biking, ATV riding, bird watching activities, wild game meat samples, seminars, prizes and more. Visitors also can shop at the Outdoor Marketplace, a large area where outdoor-related businesses will be selling gear and services for sportsmen. This year’s Expo also will feature popular attractions like wild game calling, hunting dog training and performances, wildlife photography and more.
            The Wildlife Department partners with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the free event, which 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 birdhouse to take home with them for free, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a 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.
            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. 25-26. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year’s Expo activities.
 
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Game wardens inform, educate public while enforcing game laws
            “You’ll be surprised the number of questions a game warden will answer in a day,” said Jimmie Henthorn, District 4 law enforcement chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
            Henthorn was referencing the day-in and day-out activities of a game warden for the Wildlife Department, whose job is not only to enforce the game and fish laws of the state of Oklahoma, but also to inform and educate the public about the importance of good stewardship of wildlife resources.
            Though the responsibilities of a game warden sometimes include writing a citation or issuing a warning, Henthorn said most contacts with the public are positive and result in a win-win for both sportsmen and wildlife.
            “We’re giving information to the public as much as we check licenses,” Henthorn said, although the Department aggressively works to ensure compliance with game laws and to ensure sportsmen know the requirements of utilizing wildlife resources.
            Recently Henthorn and other game wardens from District 4 carried out a 10-day special initiative at Lake Texoma emphasizing compliance with regulations, and as a result sold 73 non-resident temporary fishing licenses in addition to a large number of resident temporary fishing licenses to anglers who were not properly licensed. Through the effort, game wardens were able to make positive contacts with constituents while informing anglers of the importance of possessing appropriate fishing licenses when fishing Oklahoma’s waters. Funds generated during the special enforcement emphasis went back into wildlife conservation.
            “When sportsmen realize that they are the very reason we enforce the laws — when they realize that their license dollars are what conserves fish and wildlife for the future — they tend to see the value in that and get on board with us, working toward a common goal of wildlife conservation,” said Robert Fleenor, law enforcement chief for the Wildlife Department. “That’s why it’s so important that we are out there every day informing sportsmen of the importance of their contribution to conservation — in the form of their fishing or hunting license, and in their compliance with hunting and fishing regulations.”
            The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations and is supported primarily by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes paid by sportsmen when they purchase certain sporting goods. Additionally, when game wardens issue fines or sell temporary licenses such as those sold during District 4’s special emphasis at Lake Texoma, those funds also go back into conservation by funding game warden training and other efforts.
            “We want sportsmen to know we are out there working for them and with them, and if they ever have any questions or want to report a game violation, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact us,” said Fleenor. “We are on the same side, and together our efforts can go a long way in making sure our wildlife is conserved and our hunting and fishing heritage is preserved.”
            Each county has at least one game warden they can depend on to enforce game and fish laws and help educate the public about the outdoors.
            Phone numbers for game wardens in each county are listed in the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available free anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold, or online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            To learn more about the Wildlife Department and the effort that goes into conservation, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Outdoor Oklahoma TV to premier new line-up of shows this month
            Oklahomans have been watching Outdoor Oklahoma TV for decades, and this month marks the start of a brand new season that will take viewers across Oklahoma’s landscape in pursuit of a variety of outdoor recreation.
            Outdoor Oklahoma TV is the official television show of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, covering topics ranging from bear hunting to sand bass fishing.
            “Outdoor Oklahoma has a legacy of promoting conservation through interesting TV shows,” said Darrin Hill, producer of the TV Show. “Being one of the longest running wildlife related TV shows in the United States, we work hard each year to incorporate something unique while still holding onto the show’s past.”
            Outdoor Oklahoma TV airs on several networks, but most Oklahomans catch the show on OETA, the state’s education television network that has been airing the show for almost 35 years.
The premier season will begin Sunday, Aug. 29 on OETA and weekly thereafter throughout the fall.
            The line-up of upcoming fall 2010 shows includes:
 
Aug. 29: Jumpstart your dove season with this episode’s look at one of Oklahoma’s most popular hunting seasons.
Sept. 5: Bear season opens Oct. 1. Here’s a recap of last year’s inaugural season in preparation for another successful season.
Sept. 12: The Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma’s largest outdoor recreation event, with everything from shotgun and archery shooting to catching a fish in a stocked pond available for free to visitors. Watch today’s show to get details on the event, scheduled this year for Sept. 25-26.
Sept. 19: Everyone in Oklahoma has the luxury of public hunting land within a relatively short drive from where they live. This episode shows how to make use of Oklahoma’s public lands for bowhunting.
Sept. 26: Take a look at how the state’s wildlife agency goes about its ongoing, ever-changing responsibility of conserving wildlife for future generations.
Oct. 3: Tag along on the Sequoyah Youth Deer hunt.
Oct. 10: Waterfowl hunting abounds in Oklahoma as does opportunity to find ducks. Watch some exciting shooting in this action-packed episode of field hunting for ducks in western Oklahoma.
Oct. 17: The sport of archery involves skills that can be built and maintained over time, providing recreational opportunities to last a lifetime. This show takes a look at a special group of teachers involved in the Wildlife Department’s Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools Program.
Oct. 24: Meet one young and inspiring hunter with a contagious enthusiasm for the outdoors who overcomes the odds every day.
Oct. 31: The Wildlife Department continually works to obtain new public lands for conservation and access for hunters and anglers. This episode showcases a few newly acquired lands with wildlife and sportsmen in mind.
Nov. 7: Step back in time and learn about two of the state’s conservation pioneers — Duck and Fletcher — who helped put Oklahoma’s wildlife and bioscape on the map — literally — way back in 1938. See how they are still effecting us today.
Nov. 14: The ancient sport of falconry teams up man and raptor for a unique hunting adventure. Viewers will take a trip into the world of falconry to shed light on this surprisingly popular sport.
Nov. 21: Viewers who have never experienced the excitement of a waterfowl hunt will be itching to try their hand at it after this episode of duck hunting excitement.
            Catch Outdoor Oklahoma TV on OETA at 8 a.m. Sundays and 6 p.m. Saturdays; on KSBI Network at 4 p.m. Saturdays; on Stillwater’s KWEM-UHF at 8:30 Mondays and 11 a.m. Saturdays; on KXOK-UHF in Enid; and on KTEW in Ponca City. The show can also be viewed online or with an iPod for free by downloading the show from wildlifedepartment.com.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is the state agency charged with conserving the state’s wildlife and is dedicated to continually providing more and better information to its constituents relating to hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation in Oklahoma.
 
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Duck blind drawings set for Sept. 18
            Though it’s still hot, it’s not to early to mark the calendar for Sept. 18 when a number of drawings will be held for permits to construct permanent seasonal blinds on several lakes across Oklahoma.
            Registration and drawings for duck blinds will be held for Ft. Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls, Waurika, W.D. Mayo, Ft. Supply, and Canton lakes.
            Registration and drawings for duck blinds at Fort Gibson, Eufaula and Webbers Falls will take place at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s field office in Porter, located between Wagoner and Muskogee on Hwy. 69. Registration for Fort Gibson will take place at 7 a.m., with drawings to follow at 8 a.m. For blinds at Eufaula, registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with drawings at 10:30 a.m. Registration will begin at noon for Webbers Falls, with drawings at 1 p.m.
            Drawings for Waurika blinds will be held at 9 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers office located at the Waurika Lake Dam. Drawings for W.D. Mayo will be held at 10 a.m. at the Spiro City Council chambers in Spiro (510 S. Main St).
            Hunters also may be drawn for duck blinds at Ft. Supply. Drawings will take place at 10 a.m. at the Wildlife Department’s northwest region field office in Woodward.
            Duck blind permits for Canton Lake will be issued from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Overlook Café on the south end of Canton Lake dam. Permits will be issued for Canton Lake on a first-come, first-served basis
            Applicants for permanent blind permits must be at least 16 years of age and possess all valid hunting licenses, signed stamps and permits as required for hunting waterfowl during the waterfowl season, unless exempt. Additionally, they need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit. Applicants must be present at the drawings to be eligible.
            Waterfowl hunting blinds constructed on Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs are classified in two categories: temporary blinds (constructed for only one hunt and removed at the end of the hunt) and permanent blinds (constructed for seasonal use). No permit is required for temporary blinds.
            To learn which lakes allow permanent and temporary blinds, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Enjoy outdoor fun; sign up to win free prizes
            After test riding a John Deere Gator at this year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo Sept. 25-26, visitors to the event can then sign up for a drawing to win one of the stout off-road utility vehicle courtesy of P&K Equipment.
            P&K Equipment has donated a Gator to the Expo to be given to a lucky visitor for six years running. Offered as the grand prize at the Wildlife Expo, visitors need only sign up for the drawing at one of the prize registration stations located at the Expo, a weekend event designed to draw interest in the state’s wildlife and outdoors. The Gator can be seen in person leading up the Wildlife Expo at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters at 1801 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City. Visitors can also win a lifetime combination hunting and fishing license or one of many other prizes at the Wildlife Expo, held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City.
            “There are going to be a lot of great prizes to be had,” said Mikki Gutierrez, human resource administrator for the Wildlife Department and one of hundreds of volunteers working to make the sixth annual Wildlife Expo happen. “All you have to do is look for the prize registration boxes at many of the exhibits, fill out a registration slip and drop it in the box. It’s as easy as 1,2,3!”
            Though prizes will be in plenty at the Expo, they really only scratch the surface of all that is to be seen, enjoyed and tried hands-on at the Expo.
            The Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma’s largest outdoor recreation event, drawing thousands of people for a weekend of outdoor recreation and learning. Visitors can shoot shotguns and archery equipment, catch a fish from a stocked pond, ride mountain bikes, go kayaking, learn to pack a horse or mule with gear, sample wild game meat, build a birdhouse to take home with them and even attend seminars on a number of outdoor-related topics.
            “The entire event is free, but the experiences visitors can take home are priceless,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “It’s not every day you can try more than 100 hands-on outdoor activities in one trip. There’s something for everyone at the Expo, regardless of age or skill level.”
            The Expo is hosted by the Wildlife Department in partnership with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to promote and perpetuate appreciation of Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.
            Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 25-26. Admission and parking are free. For more information about the Wildlife Expo or the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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August 20 deadline for bonus youth deer hunts
        Beginning deer hunters have a unique opportunity to participate in two youth controlled antlerless deer hunts that will take place on private land in Alfalfa and Osage Counties and are scheduled for October and January.
            This year 22 youth will be drawn to receive one of the bonus private lands antlerless deer gun permits. To be eligible, youth must have completed their hunter education requirements prior to applying and must be 12-16 years old at the time of their scheduled hunt.
            "These hunts are on private property and should provide young hunters a great opportunity to see some deer as well as a chance to harvest a doe," said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has endorsed the youth hunt program and we are thankful for the landowners' willingness to allow these kids the opportunity to hunt on their property.”
            To apply for a hunt, applicants must send the Department a 4” by 6” index card with the following information:
* Hunter’s name
* Date of birth
* Mailing address
* Telephone number
* Hunter education certification number
* Social security or driver’s license number
* Their order of hunt preferences: Osage County (October 1-3) & Alfalfa County (January 7-9)
* Lifetime license number if applicable
* A non-hunting adult (licensed or unlicensed) who is at least 21 years old must accompany the youth, and must also be listed on the index card
        Youth who will be 16 years of age at the time of the hunt, who are required to have a hunting license, may possess an apprentice-designated license; however, the non-hunting adult accompanying an apprentice-designated hunter must possess a valid Oklahoma resident or nonresident hunting license, lifetime hunting license, or lifetime combination license and be hunter education certified, unless otherwise exempt.
        The envelope/card should be labeled “Private Lands Youth Deer Hunt” and should be mailed to: Department of Wildlife, Attn: Wildlife Division-Youth Deer Hunts, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Applications must be received at the Department by 4 p.m. Friday, August 20, 2010.
        Applicants that are successfully drawn will receive a notification letter in the mail about their hunt the following week. The letter will inform them of their selection and provide details about the hunt and license requirements.
        Selected resident youth will need to purchase a $10 resident youth deer gun license unless they possess an Oklahoma resident lifetime hunting or resident lifetime combination license. Selected nonresidents will need to purchase a $206 nonresident deer gun license.
        Any antlerless deer harvested during the controlled hunt will be considered a bonus deer and will not count against the youths’ combined season limit.
        For additional information concerning the hunts, contact the Wildlife Department at (405) 521-2739.
 
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Calling all wildlife artists: Oklahoma waterfowl stamp design contest deadline Aug. 31
           The Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design contest hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will feature the bluewing teal in 2011-12, and artists’ entries are being accepted through Aug. 31, 2010.
            The Wildlife Department’s waterfowl stamp design contest draws artists from across the United States hoping to see their rendition of a pre-selected waterfowl species on the state’s next stamp, which also serves as a state waterfowl license. The Oklahoma waterfowl stamp is required of hunters who pursue waterfowl in Oklahoma and is an important source of funding for the on-the-ground habitat work that benefits waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations and is supported primarily through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, among them the Oklahoma waterfowl license. 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.
            “This is really much more than an art contest,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “When waterfowl hunters purchase that stamp, they are doing their part in conserving wildlife and preserving the sport of hunting. Stamp collectors can support the cause as well, since the stamps always feature stunning and unique artwork that’s worth adding to a collection.”
            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 inches by 9 inches. Artwork may not be framed or under glass, but acetate covering should be used to protect the art. All artists must depict the bluewing teal, 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 bluewing teal 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. 31.
            The winning artist will receive a purchase award of $1,200, courtesy of Tulsa-based conservation group NatureWorks, 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 the winning art are no longer made, but a small number of limited edition prints from previous years are available for $135 . To order, log on to http://www.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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Dove season to kick off fall hunting
            Many hunters mark Sept. 1 as a important right of passage into the approaching fall hunting season, and with good reason since it marks the first day of dove season in Oklahoma.
            Oklahoma’s dove season is generous in length and harvest limits, plus it is often one of the most exciting and action-packed hunting experiences in the state.
            “Our counts are down a little this year compared to last, but when you’re dealing with a population whose most recent estimate was 350 million birds, a slight decline will not be noticeable in the field,” said Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The birds are out there; the key, as it is with any hunting, is scouting first and hunting a location the birds are using frequently.”
            The daily limit for doves is 15, which can include any combination of mourning, white-winged and Eurasian collared doves. However, there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared doves provided that the head or one fully feathered wing remains naturally attached to such doves. If a hunter fully dresses a Eurasian collared dove in the field, it will be counted against their 15-bird limit.
            According to Richardson, Oklahoma generally enjoys quality dove hunting for both migratory and resident doves throughout much of the season, which runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 statewide, except in the Southwest Zone. The Southwest Zone will be open for hunting Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Dec. 25 through Jan. 2. 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.
            Along with generous harvest limits and a lengthy season, dove hunting also provides a challenging shooting experience. Doves can be found from one corner of the state to the next, and excellent hunting often can be found on wildlife management areas managed by the Wildlife Department — some of which have been managed specifically for doves. Additionally, persistent dove hunters can often obtain permission from landowners to hunt private land, such as those where grain fields have been recently harvested.
            Oklahoma Free Hunting Days take place Sept. 4-5, during which Oklahoma residents do not need a hunting license or HIP permit to go afield.
            “Dove season is a great time to introduce or reintroduce people to the world of hunting,” Richardson said. “Gear requirements are low, doves are found everywhere and usually in high numbers, and the hunting can occur in more of a social type outing — perfect for those new hunters who need supervision or instruction. And with the Free Hunting Days, potential new hunters don’t even have to buy a license to try this out.”
            To hunt doves during the rest of the open season, sportsmen need a hunting license. Additionally, all hunters must carry a Harvest Information Permit (HIP) while afield, unless otherwise exempt. Both can be obtained online at wildlifedepartment.com or at designated locations statewide.
            “The HIP is the primary way the states and the federal government estimate harvest of migratory birds by obtaining the names and addresses of migratory bird hunters so they can be sent a survey to report their harvest,” said Mike O’Meilia, program supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “Without HIP, and the good estimates of harvest that it provides, migratory game bird hunting regulations would have to be much more conservative. Hunters have always been our most important source of information for managing game species.”
            For complete hunting license information and dove hunting regulations, consult the “2010/11Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” which can be found online at wildlifedepartment.com or anywhere hunting licenses are sold.
            Richardson reminds dove hunters to check their harvested birds for federal leg bands and report them by logging on to reportband.gov or by calling 1-800-327-2263. To date, thousands of doves have been banded in Oklahoma, and the information they have provided is helping to conserve doves and provide good hunting in the future.
 
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Hunters reminded to obtain Harvest Information Permit (HIP) for hunting season
            With the opening of dove season in sight, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are reminding dove hunters to obtain a free but required Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit before hunting. All migratory bird hunters, including lifetime license holders who hunt migratory birds (dove, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, mergansers, coots, woodcock, rails, gallinules and snipe) must carry a HIP permit while hunting migratory birds.
            “Many hunters hold lifetime or five-year hunting licenses, and for them it might be easy to forget about the HIP permit,” said Bill Hale, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department. “It’s a free permit, but it’s important that hunters have it along with their hunting license while in the field.”
            The HIP is a primary tool for states and the federal government to estimate the number of migratory birds being harvested. The number of permits obtained by hunters not only can provide an idea of the number of hunters pursuing migratory birds, but surveys also can be mailed to HIP holders so they can report their harvests and help wildlife biologists with management efforts.
            According to Mike O'Meilia, program supervisor for the Wildlife Department, migratory bird hunting regulations would likely be much more conservative without the help of hunters who provide harvest information through the HIP program. Hunters also play a critical role in wildlife conservation when they purchase a hunting license. The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations and is supported primarily through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on certain sporting goods used by sportsmen.
            The HIP permit is valid from July 1 through the following June 30 and may be obtained free of charge online at wildlifedepartment.com or for $3 at any location that sells hunting licenses.
            Exemptions from the HIP permit include those under 16 years of age, those 64 years old or older, those who turn 64 during the calendar year in which they intend to hunt migratory birds and landowners hunting on their own property.
            For more information about wildlife management efforts in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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No hunting license required during Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days
            Oklahoma residents can hunt for free and without a hunting license Sept. 4-5 as part of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s annual Free Hunting Days.
            The Wildlife Department is the state agency charged with conserving the state’s wildlife and, rather than receiving general state tax appropriations, the agency is funded by sportsmen through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on sporting goods.
            The concept of Free Hunting Days is intended to offer individuals without hunting licenses an opportunity to experience hunting. Officials with Wildlife Department are confident that, after trying the sport for free, new hunters will gain an appreciation for conservation and hunting and will be more likely to participate in hunting in the future.
            “Free Hunting Days provides sportsmen an easy way to take someone hunting with them because it’s free and convenient,” said Bill Hale, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department. “Some people may not want to buy a hunting license if they are not sure they’ll like hunting. But during Free Hunting Days, they can just go and hunt. If they like it — and I know they will — they can then purchase a hunting license and begin enjoying the outdoors through hunting while playing an important role in conservation.”
            Both dove and squirrel hunting seasons are open during Free Hunting Days, as well as seasons for several species that are open for year-round hunting in Oklahoma.
            More seasons become available to licensed hunters later in the fall, including opportunities to hunt deer, turkey, black bear, antelope, elk, rabbit, quail, pheasant, waterfowl, and more. The current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” outlines details on all of Oklahoma’s season dates, daily limits and regulations. The free booklet is available electronically online at wildlifedepartment.com or in hardcopy at any location where hunting licenses are sold.
            “Residents who want to try hunting during Free Hunting Days shouldn’t be intimidated by trying something new,” Hale said. “The best advice is to find someone they know who can take them hunting, and they can always call us at the Wildlife Department for tips.”
            Free Hunting Days participants also can follow up their outdoor experience by attending one of many hunter education courses held statewide by the Wildlife Department. The class teaches a range of topics including firearms safety, wildlife identification, wildlife conservation and management, survival, archery, muzzleloading and hunter responsibility. The course is available as a standard eight-hour course, through an Internet home study course or through a workbook home study course. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say hunter education courses have not only reduced accidents within Oklahoma, but also in every state and Canadian province with similar programs. Over the past 30 years, hunting related accidents and fatalities have declined by more than 70 percent in Oklahoma.
            To learn more about hunting in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Vendor space still available at 2010 Wildlife Expo Outdoor Marketplace
            Preparing for a hunting or fishing trip is part of the fun of enjoying the outdoors, which is why the Outdoor Marketplace at the 2010 Wildlife Expo is one stop every visitor at the event will want to make.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s sixth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is slated for September 25-26 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City, and the Outdoor Marketplace is a large area at the event where commercial vendors will be selling their outdoor-related merchandise and services. The Marketplace features vendors under a large tent, but outdoor open-air spaces also are available for displaying larger items such as ATVs and hunting blinds. A 10’ x 10’ booth space under the tent or a 20’ x 20’ outside space costs $300. Both include electricity.
            “Admission for the Expo is free, and all of the events and activities it offers are free,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “Tens of thousands of visitors come out to the Lazy E Arena to enjoy the fun, so this a great opportunity for vendors of outdoor goods and services to showcase their products to outdoor-minded people at the Outdoor Marketplace.”
            The Wildlife Department will be working with a range of organizations, individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the Wildlife Expo — intended to promote and develop appreciation for Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources.
            Along with shopping at the Outdoor Marketplace, Expo visitors will be able to fish, shoot shotguns, kayak, ride mountain bikes, see and touch wildlife, attend dog training seminars and learn about recreation in the great outdoors. They will also be able to win a variety of free prizes thanks to generous sponsors of the event.
            With so many different outdoor opportunities, the Expo draws crowds of visitors with a range of outdoor interests. Last year’s Expo drew an estimated 42,000 visitors to the Lazy E Arena over the course of the weekend.
            “Any vendor who wants to reach people interested in the outdoors needs to be a part of the Outdoor Marketplace at this year’s Wildlife Expo,” Hurst said.
            For more information about obtaining a booth in the Outdoor Marketplace or to obtain an application for a booth, contact Ben Davis, Outdoor Marketplace coordinator, at (405) 521-4632.
            Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on the upcoming Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.
 
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2010 Wildlife Expo to feature Oklahoma’s outdoors Sept. 25-26
            Fall is fast approaching in Oklahoma, which often means family gatherings, making memories and time spent outdoors — all of which can be done Sept. 25-26 at the sixth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.
            The Wildlife Expo, sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and coordinated by hundreds of volunteer organizations and individuals, is held each year at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. The event offers three days of nonstop outdoor action for all ages and levels of experience with the outdoors — and it’s free.
            “The idea is to provide an absolutely free opportunity for people to come see all that Oklahoma’s outdoors have to offer,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “By getting people interested in the outdoors, we are confident we can raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.”
            The Expo takes a hands-on approach to educating visitors about the outdoors.  Guests can try their own hand at shooting a shotgun or bow and arrow, riding a mountain bike or ATV, floating in a kayak, building a birdhouse, catching a fish and more.
            Booths and other activities inside the arena offer information and resources about outdoor opportunities that visitors may not even know are available to them in Oklahoma. Visitors can learn about fly fishing or deer hunting or even sample wild game meat and snacks cooked outside in a Dutch oven.
            Attending a seminar can enhance visitors’ knowledge on a number of outdoor topics ranging from aging deer on the hoof to training hunting dogs or caring for wild game meat in the field.
            Additionally, shoppers have a chance to look at and buy outdoor gear at the Expo’s Outdoor Marketplace, a large area where vendors are set up to display and sell outdoor-related products and services.
            The Wildlife Department works with a range of organizations, individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the Expo.
            Expo hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 25-26. Admission is free.
 
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Avoid common dove season mistakes with checklist approach to dove hunting
            With dove season only days away, law enforcement officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation remind hunters to be sharp regarding season regulations.
            Dove season runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 statewide, except in the southwest zone. The southwest zone will be open for hunting Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Dec. 25 through Jan. 2. 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.
            Full details and regulations for dove hunting are available in the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available free online at wildlifedepartment.com or at any location where hunting licenses are sold.
            Law enforcement officials hoping to help well-meaning sportsmen stay on top of their game suggest hunters read the “Hunting Guide” in full for details on general regulations and license requirements, but especially those portions that pertain to the species they plan to hunt. Additionally, working over a mental or written checklist of common violations before each hunt may serve to remind hunters of mistakes to avoid.
            “When hunters make a ‘laundry or check list’ before season and follow it, they will be much better prepared,” said Robert Fleenor, law enforcement chief for the Wildlife Department. “Going out at the last minute and not being prepared is the biggest problem.”
            The following is a basic checklist to help avoid some of the most common dove season mistakes:
 
 

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2010-11 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide available now online
            Oklahoma waterfowl hunters eagerly awaiting the “2010-11 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide” can see it in full now online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            The 24-page guide provides hunters with important season dates, regulations, waterfowl identification tips and other information important to waterfowl hunters.
            The guide also will be available in hardcopy in September.
            Oklahoma enjoys generous bag limits and season dates for waterfowl hunting each year, as well as location in the Central Flyway that makes it an ideal state in which to be a waterfowl hunter for both ducks and geese.
            Hunters can view the guide by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com and selecting “2010-2011 Waterfowl Guide.”
 
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Duck blind drawings set for Sept. 18
            Though it’s still hot, it’s not to early to mark the calendar for Sept. 18 when a number of drawings will be held for permits to construct permanent seasonal blinds on several lakes across Oklahoma.
            Registration and drawings for duck blinds will be held for Ft. Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls, Waurika, W.D. Mayo, Ft. Supply, and Canton lakes.
            Registration and drawings for duck blinds at Fort Gibson, Eufaula and Webbers Falls will take place at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s field office in Porter, located between Wagoner and Muskogee on Hwy. 69. Registration for Fort Gibson will take place at 7 a.m., with drawings to follow at 8 a.m. For blinds at Eufaula, registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with drawings at 10:30 a.m. Registration will begin at noon for Webbers Falls, with drawings at 1 p.m.
            Drawings for Waurika blinds will be held at 9 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers office located at the Waurika Lake Dam. Drawings for W.D. Mayo will be held at 10 a.m. at the Spiro City Council chambers in Spiro (510 S. Main St).
            Hunters also may be drawn for duck blinds at Ft. Supply. Drawings will take place at 10 a.m. at the Wildlife Department’s northwest region field office in Woodward.
            Duck blind permits for Canton Lake will be issued from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Overlook Café on the south end of Canton Lake dam. Permits will be issued for Canton Lake on a first-come, first-served basis
            Applicants for permanent blind permits must be at least 16 years of age and possess all valid hunting licenses, signed stamps and permits as required for hunting waterfowl during the waterfowl season, unless exempt. Additionally, they need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit. Applicants must be present at the drawings to be eligible.
            Waterfowl hunting blinds constructed on Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs are classified in two categories: temporary blinds (constructed for only one hunt and removed at the end of the hunt) and permanent blinds (constructed for seasonal use). No permit is required for temporary blinds.
            To learn which lakes allow permanent and temporary blinds, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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