Basic deer hunting seminars to be held

Ever thought about giving deer hunting a try? You can find all the information you need to know at a series of basic deer hunting seminars which will be held throughout the state this fall. The seminars are aimed at helping beginning deer hunters learn more about the sport and improving their chances for success this fall.

"These seminars are a great resource for hunters," said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "The seminars will cover everything from finding a hunting spot to field care of venison."

Peoples added that other topics to be covered at the seminars include introduction to scouting techniques, basic regulations and permit requirements, biology of deer and more. Each seminar will be led by an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologist and a state game warden, both of whom will be able to answer questions about deer and deer hunting.

For more information about deer hunting in Oklahoma, log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com. To find a hunter education course in your area call the hunter education hotline at (405) 521-4650 (24 hours a day).


Basic Deer Hunting Seminar Schedule

October 14, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.

Shawnee: Gordon Cooper Technology Center, 1 John C. Burton Blvd. (SE corner of I-40 and Hwy. 18 intersection).

October 15, 2002 (All seminars begin at 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted).

Alva: Northwest Technology Center, 1801 S. 11.
Ardmore: Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, 2610 Sam Noble Pkwy.
Atoka: Atoka Technology Center, Hwy 3.
Bartlesville: Highland Park Baptist Church, 300 SE Washington St.
Beaver: First Security Bank, 15 S. Douglas.
Broken Bow: Idabel Technology Center, Hwy 259 & Idabel By-Pass.
Hugo: Choctaw County Courthouse.
Kingfisher: Kingfisher Co. Fairgrounds, Exhibit Bldg., 300 S. 13th St.
Lawton: Lawton Public Library, 110 SW 4th.
Muskogee: Indian Capitol Tech Center, Room 500.
Oklahoma City: ODWC Auditorium, 1801 N. Lincoln, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Okmulgee: East Central Electric Co-operative. South Wood Drive (Hwy 75).
Ponca City: Conoco Phillips, 4th St Clubhouse.
Pryor: Ag Center, Old Hwy 20 East.
Sallisaw: Sallisaw Civic Center, 111 N. Elm.
Stillwater: Life Science West Building, Rm 103.
Tahlequah: Indian Capitol Tech Center, 240 Vo-Tech Rd.
Tulsa: Broken Arrow Tech Center, E Base room, 4600 S. Olive.
Vinita: Chamber of Commerce Hospitality room, 125 S Scraper.
Woodward: Northwestern Electric, 2925 Williams Ave.
Yukon: Yukon High School Auditorium, 1000 Yukon Ave.

October 17, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted).

Ada: Pontotoc Technology Center, Seminar Room C, 601 W 33rd St.
Altus: Altus Public Library, 421 N. Hudson.
Antlers: Push County Community Building 204 SW 4th.
Chickasha: Canadian Valley Technology Center, Room B, 1401 Michigan Dr.
Duncan: Stephens County Fairgrounds, 1618 S. 13th.
Durant: Bryan County Vo-Tech 810 Waldron Rd.
Elk City: Carnegie Hall, 215 Broadway.
Enid: Central Fire Station.
Guymon: OSU Extension Building, 301 N. Main.
McAlester: McAlester Technology Center, 301 Kiamichi Dr.
Miami: Miami Civic Center, Banquet Room, 129 5th St.
Norman: Moore-Norman Technology Center, Seminar Room, Franklin Ave. and 12th Ave., 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Poteau: Poteau Technology Center , Hwy 271 South.
Watonga: Blaine Co. Fair Grounds, Foley Building.
Weatherford: City Hall, 201 SW Main.

Don't wait, take hunter education now

In just a matter of a few weeks Oklahomans will have their first opportunity of the year to harvest a deer with a firearm. While that may seem like an eternity to many anxious hunters, time is growing short for finding a place to hunt, scouting and most importantly, completing a hunter education course.

"It is not too late, but time is running out," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "We have already conducted well over 200 courses across the state. There will probably be about 50 more classes before deer season and those spots will fill up fast. I would suggest enrolling in the next class you can."

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation offers classes all across the state throughout the year, with most courses being offered in late summer and early fall.

"Whether you are a first time hunter or a veteran of many hunting seasons taking a hunter education class is a great idea and in many cases it's the law," said Meek. "Often long-time hunters will take the class along with their kids or their spouses and everyone will pick up some useful information. You're never too old to learn, especially when it comes to safety."

Meek added that once students are certified they are eligible to hunt anywhere in the nation.

Oklahoma law requires 10 hours of hunter education and anyone under 16 years of age must successfully complete a hunter education course before hunting big game (deer, elk, antelope) during the primitive firearm or gun seasons. The law also requires that anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1972, upon reaching 16 years of age, must exhibit a hunter safety certificate from the Wildlife Department or a like certificate from another state to purchase or receive any Oklahoma hunting license.

Hunters born after the above date, who purchased a lifetime license before they turned 16, must carry their hunter safety certification or proof of exemption with them while in the field. Hunters should pick up a copy of the "2002-2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for complete information on hunting seasons and hunter education requirements.

Sportsmen can call the Department's hunter education hotline 24 hours a day at (405) 521-4650 or log onto the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.


Waurika Lake offers top notch fishing

In this day of versatility and multi-tasking, at least one southwest Oklahoma lake fits the bill perfectly. Lake Waurika, in Stephens County, is like a fishermen's smorgasbord. Anglers can catch big blue catfish at night, slab-size crappie in the morning and fierce-fighting hybrid striped bass in the afternoon.

"When one thing isn't biting, there is usually something else that is," said Nan Reese.

Reese should know. She runs the Waurika Lake Marina located near the dam and talks to fishermen everyday.

"It is really just an overall good fishing lake," Reese said. "There are people that come from all over to go fishing here. Some stay for an afternoon, others camp out for a week, but it seems like most of them come back again and again."

According to Reese, if one had to pick out a star of the lake it would most likely be the hybrid striped bass.

"Folks are catching good numbers of hybrids right now and it is picking up as the weather gets cooler," Reese said. "A long time ago people use to just catch them incidentally while they were fishing for largemouth bass, but more and more people are focusing specifically on hybrids. They are a lot of fun to catch."

The 14,400-acre reservoir is located four miles north of the town of Waurika and just over 10 miles south of the city of Duncan. Constructed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 1977, the lake is nearly 11 miles long and encompasses over 80 miles of shoreline.

With ample camping, RV hook-ups, showers and restrooms, the lake attracts thousands of fishermen each year. Busy boat ramps and full campgrounds at Waurika are further testament that Oklahomans take their fishing seriously. In fact, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahomans spent over $500 million dollars on fishing related expenditures in 2001, more money than either Kansas or Arkansas.

Whether you are in the mood for running jug lines on a crisp fall night or spending the afternoon in a cozy, heated crappie dock, Waurika Lake is hard to beat.



Youth writing contest winners get a free hunt

Kids get out the pen and paper, an all-expenses paid antelope hunt in New Mexico is on the line. The deadline is quickly approaching to enter the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International (OSCSCI) youth writing contest. One talented boy and girl will win an antelope hunt in New Mexico that they will remember for a lifetime.

"The ODWC and OSCSCI annually conduct a youth writing contest during the fall," said Colin Berg, education section supervisor for the ODWC. "Oklahoma has a rich hunting heritage and the theme of the contest is Hunting: Sharing the Heritage."

Students aged 11-17 are eligible to enter the competition. Two (one boy & one girl) winning essays will be selected in an 11-14 age category, and two (one boy and one girl) winners will also be selected from youth aged 15-17.

Students in the 11-14 age category are competing for an all expense paid trip to the Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home Texas. Winners in the 15-17 age category will receive an all expense paid antelope hunt in New Mexico. Funding for the trips is provided by OSCSCI.

"OSCSCI values Oklahoma's hunting heritage and that is why we are proud to sponsor the writing contest," said Sam Munhollon, OSCSCI education program coordinator. "Writing about their hunting heritage gives Oklahoma's youth a chance to keep in touch with the importance of honoring our heritage and it emphasizes the importance of passing on that heritage."

The winning student essays will be published in the OSCSCI newsletter Safari Trails, added Munhollon. Publication qualifies the winning entries for the National Youth Writing Contest sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Several past winners have come from Oklahoma's state contest winners.

Essay contest rules and applications are available from the Department's Web site www.wildlifedepartment.com. Teachers are encouraged to log on to the site to find out more about the essay competition, and about a scholarship opportunity for educators to the American Wilderness Leadership School in Jackson, Wyoming.


Commission commends employees

Over two centuries of service, 215 years to be exact; that is the number of years of employment that was recognized at the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting held Oct. 7 in Oklahoma City.

"It is these employees that make the Department what it is and we truly appreciate all their hard work and dedication," said Commission Chairman Lewis Stiles.

Johnny Herd, central region supervisor for the Wildlife Division, has been an outstanding ambassador for the Department and for the sportsmen of Oklahoma for 40 years, according to Department Director Greg Duffy.

"There were a bunch of hardworking, special people when I started in 1962 and there still are today," Herd told the board. "I consider this the best state agency there is."

Bennie Harner has worked for the Department for 30 years and is currently area manager for one of the state's premier recreation destinations, the Blue River Fishing and Hunting Area.

"You can see what type of manger Bennie is as soon as drive into the area," Duffy said. "He has taken a unique set of challenges and turned them into positives for the Department and for the citizens of Oklahoma."

Ron Folks, Department employee for 30 years, was recognized for his skills as a wildlife biologist at Kaw Wildlife Management Area.

"Kaw is one of the best all-around wildlife management areas in the state and Ron is a major reason why," Duffy said.

According to Folks, working for the Department means more than just a paycheck every month.

"Many people see their job as waking up and dreading going to work, if that is true, then I don't have a job, I have a lifestyle. I enjoy what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything else," Folks said.

Jack Witt, district 6 law enforcement chief, has been with the Department for 30 years.

"No matter what, Jack is there ready to help as a true public servant," Duffy said. "He is an asset to the Department, as well as the community."

Tom Wolf, fisheries technician, has been faithfully doing his job for a quarter of a century.

"No matter what the project is, Tom is ready to help. His willingness to assist wherever needed is greatly appreciated," Duffy said.

Gary Peterson, fisheries biologist, has served the fishermen of Oklahoma for 20 years.

"Gary has worked hard to provide the fishermen on lakes Tenkiller, Robert S. Kerr and Webbers Falls with the best fisheries possible," Duffy said. "His work on the Lower Illinois River has made it into one of the top fishing locations in the state."

Jim Edwards, state game warden for Pontotoc County, has served the Department for 20 years. In 1985 he was recognized as the wildlife professional of the year by the Oklahoma Bowhunters Council.

"Jim has done a great job in creating relationships with hunters and fishermen. He has done an outstanding job in representing the Department and his profession well," said Harland Stonecipher, wildlife conservation commission representative for district four.

Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries biologist, has become a leader in black bass management during his 20 years of service to the Department.

"Gene is respected throughout the nation and the state by both his fellow fisheries biologists and by bass fishermen," Duffy said. "He has done an excellent job of working with fishermen on the tournament circuit in the development of live fish release techniques."

In other business, Curtis Latham, Oklahoma game warden for Johnston County was recognized as the Officer of the Year by the Shikar Safari, a 50-year old hunting and conservation organization.

"Curtis is an excellent example of what a game warden should be and all his efforts are truly appreciated," said Bill Crawford, representing Shikar Safari and former Wildlife Conservation Commission member.

Bruce Robson, of Tulsa, was presented with the Oklahoma Landowner of the Year award. Robson's love for hunting, fishing and proper land management is evident on his 10,700 acre Kiamichi Ranch.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept a donation of $5,290 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Wildlife Department biologists and we are proud to help elk and the Oklahoman sportsmen," said Randy Porterfield, regional director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The money will be used to improve habitat on Cookson Hills Wildlife Management Area. The goal of the project is to clear approximately 22 acres of timber to create a wildlife opening and return 42 acres of prairie to native grasses.

The Commission also accepted a donation of $3,000 from Pheasants Forever. The money will go to the Playa Lakes Initiative, a new landowner incentive program in northwest Oklahoma.

"We think the Playa Lakes Initiative is a great program and we are proud to help in any way we can," said Ray Schoonover, chairman for the Enid chapter of Pheasants Forever.

Eric Jones with Strategic Consulting International gave a presentation to the commissioners on the possibilities of new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.

"The GIS program is an important tool for the management of data," said Ron Suttles, natural resources coordinator for the Department. "Having this data in an accessible format will allow us to make better, more informed management decisions in the future."

Commissioners also heard a presentation from Jose Torres with Honeywell on ways the Department can optimize energy use within the central office building.

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 November 4 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City at 9:00 a.m.


Whooping cranes migrating soon

Nearly 190 whooping cranes are expected to visit Oklahoma over the next few weeks as one of North America's largest birds makes its annual fall migration.

These birds represent the entire migratory population within North America, said Mark Howery, natural resources biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Despite its relatively small number, this flock contains the hope for a species that only recently seemed doomed to extinction.

"The whooping crane is a conservation success story in progress," Howery said. "From a remnant population of only 15 birds in 1941, the whooping crane is making a steady comeback. The current migratory population is about 190 cranes, a remarkable increase when you consider all of the obstacles these birds face. In addition to the hazards of a long migration that occurs twice a year, they must endure habitat loss, and the impact of periodic droughts and excessively wet years."

The whooping crane passing through Oklahoma this fall are migrating from their nesting grounds in the boreal marshes of northern Alberta, Canada to their wintering grounds on the Texas Gulf Coast.

"Whooping Cranes typically migrate during the day in small groups of two to six birds and will occasionally join groups of migrating sandhill cranes," Howery said. "At night, they roost in shallow water in marshes or along rivers."

In the fall, whooping cranes are seen mostly in the central one-third of the state during the last two weeks of October. Distinguishing marks include their large size, white plumage, black wingtips and red forehead. Also, whooping cranes fly with their necks extended straight and their legs extending well behind their bodies.

Sandhill cranes have a similar body shape but are primarily gray and have dark gray wing feathers instead of black wingtips. White pelicans are similar in color, but they are stockier, and they usually travel in large flocks. Their legs do not extend behind their tail feathers.

Snow geese are considerably smaller than cranes and have short legs which do not extend far behind their bodies. Egrets lack the black wingtips of the whooping crane and fly with their necks held in an "S" shape.

Anyone who observes a whooping crane is asked to contact the Department's Wildlife Diversity Program at (405) 521-4616. Observers will be asked to share the date and location of the sightings as well as the habitat and the number of birds.

"By monitoring the birds during migration, we hope to gain a better understanding of their migration path and the most important habitats for them in terms of feeding and roosting," Howery said.

For more information about the whooping crane, a free informational brochure is available by writing to ODWC's Wildlife Diversity Program at PO Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.


Primitive firearms deer season coming soon

Thousands of Oklahoma deer hunters will soon take a step backwards, at least when it comes to firearms technology.

One of the fastest-growing sports in the country, hunting deer with a muzzleloading firearm is a great opportunity for Oklahoma hunters. The statewide season runs Oct. 26-Nov. 3, offering nine days of traditional-style hunting that harkens back to the early days of Oklahoma's hunting heritage.

In addition, the primitive firearms season allows hunters a chance to hunt deer that haven't been heavily pressured. Consequently, muzzleloader hunters stand a good chance of bagging a nice buck.

Over 112,000 hunters participated in the primitive firearms season last year. These hunters contributed significantly to the $909 million economic impact produced by all of Oklahoma's nearly 300,000 hunters according to a recent survey. In 2001, muzzleloader hunters harvested 25,156 deer, eclipsing the previous record of 24,202 deer in 2000.

For many who take up the sport, muzzleloading becomes an obsession. Success requires careful selection and handling of equipment and skillful woodsmanship.

To hunt deer with a muzzleloader in Oklahoma, resident hunters must possess one of the following; an annual hunting or combination license, a lifetime hunting or combination license, a senior citizen hunting or senior citizen combination license or proof of exemption. Unless exempt, hunters must also possess a deer primitive permit for each deer to be hunted. Non-residents must possess a non-resident primitive permit. An annual non-resident hunting license is not required in addition to a non-resident primitive firearms antlered or antlerless permit.

Also, muzzleloader hunters must wear blaze orange garments, including a head covering, that covers their upper bodies. For specific information regarding licenses, bag limits, clothing requirements or legal firearms, consult the "2002-2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com.


Fall turkey hunting and stream fishing combine for a great trip

Some things just seem to go together: hunter orange and deer season, campfires and tall tales, fall turkey hunting and stream fishing. While the latter may not be quite as obvious, the two are a perfect fit. Just ask anyone who has tried it.
“I would be hard pressed to come up with a better way to spend a nice fall day than a little turkey hunting in the morning and some fishing in the afternoon,” said Todd Craighead, host of  the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is “Outdoor Oklahoma” television show.
During the fall and winter, turkeys can often be found foraging for acorns and other seeds along streams. Those same streams can also offer great fishing for smallmouth bass, sunfish and catfish.
“Whether you strike out or harvest a turkey in the morning, you can still have a great time with an ultralight rod and a few lures during the afternoon. While fishing you may even come across a good place to set up for an evening hunt,” Craighead added.

            With wild turkey populations in good shape across the state, turkey hunters are looking forward to another successful fall turkey season. With generous seasons there is no reason not to get out. Archery hunters can match wits with the wily birds for more than 90 days while gun hunters have 20 days for a chance to bring a bird for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Depending on which county they're hunting, sportsmen will be allowed to harvest one turkey of either sex or just one tom.
            Also, some counties are closed to fall firearms turkey and others are restricted to shotgun hunting only. Regardless of the hunting method, the total fall bag limit is one bird per hunter. For complete season dates and regulations pick up a copy of the “2002-2003 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.


Trout areas offer winter fishing opportunities

Temperatures across the state may be dropping, but the trout fishing is just about to pick up.

Beginning Nov. 1, trout season opens at the six designated winter trout areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Stretching from the panhandle to southeast Oklahoma, these fisheries provide trout fishing in areas where warm water temperatures are not suitable for trout during the summer. They are stocked regularly with catchable size rainbow trout and are very popular with anglers all over the state, said Kim Erickson, chief of fisheries for the Department.
         "Oklahoma is blessed with a diversity of fishing opportunities, including our two year-round trout fisheries on the lower Illinois and lower Mountain Fork rivers," Erickson said. "These winter trout fisheries provide additional opportunities for anglers to enjoy fishing all winter long."
            According to a recent survey by the Department, 75 percent of trout anglers reported catching three or more trout on a typical Oklahoma trout fishing day.
         “It is a great way to get outdoors with your friends and family. You can enjoy the fall foliage and hopefully catch enough trout to make the trip exciting,” Erickson said.
            Savvy anglers can find up to date trout stocking schedules posted on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's official Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com.
            "We have always strived to provide anglers with information to make their time outdoors as enjoyable as possible. The trout stocking schedules have proven to be a  popular service," said Erickson.
            However, Erickson noted,  anglers need to be aware that trout stockings are subject to change without notice due to circumstances beyond the Department’s control.
            Once logged on the Fishing page within the Department's Web site, choose “Trout Areas” then "Stocking Schedule" for the complete schedule.
            To fish for trout in Oklahoma, angles need either a resident or non-resident fishing license, as well as a trout license, which costs $7.75. There are no exemptions from purchasing the trout license. Before going, check the “2002 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” for complete regulations, as well as maps and additional information for each area.

Seasonal trout fishing areas are at the following locations:

 Lake Carl Etling - This 159-acre lake is at Black Mesa State Park in Cimarron County. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - April 30. To get there, take US-325 28 miles west of Boise City. Boat ramps are on the south and east sides of the lake. Primitive and developed camping facilities are available at the park.

Quartz Mountain - The trout water is in the North Fork of the Red River directly below the dam at Lake Altus-Lugert. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - March 15. To get there from Altus, take OK-44A north about 18 miles. Lodging and camping facilities are available at Quartz Mountain State Park.

Blue River - The Blue River flows through the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area near Tishomingo. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - March 31. To get there from Tishomingo, go four miles east on OK-78 and then six miles north. Bank access and wade fishing is available throughout the area. Primitive camping is allowed at the Blue River campground.

Robbers Cave - Located in Robbers Cave State Park, the Robbers Cave trout fishery is in the Fourche Maline River directly below Carlton Dam to the south boundary of the park. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - March 15. To get there from Wilburton, go five miles north on OK-2. Bank access and wade fishing is available anywhere within state park boundaries. Camping facilities and cabins are available at the park.

Lake Watonga - This 55-acre lake is in Roman Nose State Park. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - March 31. To get there from Watonga, go seven miles north on OK-8A. Bank access and a boat ramp are on the west side of the lake. Camping and lodging are available at the park.

Lake Pawhuska - This 96-acre lake is about three miles south of Pawhuska. Trout season runs Nov. 1 - March 31. During that time, the City of Pawhuska waives the City fishing fee. To get there from Pawhuska, go three miles south on OK-60, and then go 1.75 miles east on a marked County road. The lake has a boat ramp, fishing dock and restrooms. Primitive camping is available at the lake.

In addition to these areas, the Department also manages year-round trout fisheries at the lower Illinois and lower Mountain Fork rivers. The Department stocks both of these areas with brown and rainbow trout.


Venison: the real trophy for deer hunters

Although some say taking a deer is the highlight of every hunt, many feel that the best part of deer hunting comes later, at the dinner table.
            To get the most enjoyment from your harvest, however, you need to take proper care for the meat. If properly handled, you'll be able to enjoy many meals of lean, high-protein meat that is 100-percent natural, with no additives or preservatives.
            Preparing and eating wild game with friends and family is an essential part of the hunting experience. Many hunters say that consuming harvested game gives them a deeper respect and reverence for that animal than those who don't understand that connection.
            Upon harvesting a deer, the first thing you must do is attach a proper tag to the carcass as required by law. The next step is to field dress your deer as soon as possible. Keeping the meat clean and cool will payoff when it comes time to serve venison for dinner.
              There are literally hundreds of recipes for venison that can be found in cookbooks or on the Internet. Following are a few recipes you can try this winter or just let your culinary imagination run wild.

 Ground venison foil wrap

Take a 12" square piece of foil. Put venison patties (about the size of a hamburger patties) on middle of foil. Pull up sides of foil to form a bag. Add 1/4 inch slices of potatoes to top of meat, then add onion slices, put about a teaspoon of butter and 1/8 cup of water in foil. Close foil and put in hot charcoaler for about 20-30 minutes. Or you can cook at 350 degrees in an oven for about the same time. Add other vegetables if desire.

 Venison stew paprika

2 1/2-3 lbs. venison stew meat cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup flour
3 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. butter
2 med. onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-11 oz. can stewed tomatoes or 1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/2 cup wine or 7-Up

            Shake meat cubes in plastic bag with the flour, paprika, salt and pepper. In Dutch oven, melt butter and sauté coated venison cubes until browned. Remove cubes to warm dish and in the same Dutch oven, sauté onions and garlic with 2 T paprika until soft. Then add tomatoes and wine or 7-Up. Add browned venison cubes and simmer over low heat until meat is tender (45 min-1.5 hours). Just before serving, stir in 1/2 C sour cream. Serve with egg noodles or rice.

 Deer Roast

Venison roast (1-3 lbs.)
3-4  potatoes - cut into chunks
3 sliced carrots
1 sliced bell pepper
black pepper to taste
garlic  powder to taste
1 tbs. flour
1/2 cup of water

             Arrange ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours on high for four to six hours or until meat is tender.  

Hunters and anglers play a big role in the nation's economy

Spending over $70 billion dollars a year in pursuit of their pastime, America's hunters and anglers have a significant impact on the nation’s economy, according to a report released by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. In Oklahoma alone, sportsmen spend $801 million, which is more than twice the cash receipts from the state’s wheat crop ($344 million). Over 38 million Americans enjoy the outdoors, twice the number of labor union members, and sportsmen support 1.6 million jobs, well more than Wal-Mart, the country's largest employer.
"Because sportsmen enjoy hunting and fishing alone or in small groups, they are often overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force," notes Melinda Gable, executive director for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "These impressive statistics actually underestimate the impact of sportsmen since they do not take into account the millions of hunters and anglers under 16 years of age, and people who were not able to get out and hunt or fish in 2001."
The report (The American Sportsman ~ Take a Closer Look) uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and compares hunters' and anglers' impact on the economy with other industries. When sportsmen's spending is thought of in business terms and compared to other sectors of the economy, it is remarkable how much state and federal tax revenues are generated and how many people are impacted as a result of hunting and fishing. While economic analysts worried about a looming recession in 2001, American sportsmen were doing their part to keep the economy in motion. From small rural towns to the bottom-line of Fortune 500 companies located in major cities - take away hunting and fishing, and you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.
"Hunters and shooters have been widely acknowledged for their role in conserving our wildlife and natural resources," stated Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, "but they represent so much more than meets the eye. Hunters spend $2 billion just on food when they take hunting trips - that's more than Americans spend on Domino's pizza."
While the combined national economic impact of sportsmen is remarkable, it is even more important to recognize the impact at the state and local level.
"It is a fairly simple equation - hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," Gable said.
It is not only hunters and shooters that spend money in their sport, anglers are a diverse and growing demographic sector. The data shows more than 44 million Americans fish, with anglers spending nearly $42 billion on equipment, transportation and lodging, and other expenses associated with their sport. Overall, anglers' expenditures grew by 33 percent over the last decade.

            Taking expenditures and measuring their "ripple effect" on the economy at local, regional and national levels, the report shows the broad economic impact of sportfishing has grown from $108 billion in 1996 to $116 billion in 2001. Sportfishing also supports 1 million jobs, more than those employed by McDonalds, the number 2 company on the Fortune 500 list.
            Ultimately, anglers and other sportsmen are a huge funding source for conservation and recreation in this country. Through spending on fishing licenses and special excise taxes on gear and motorboat fuel, hundreds of millions of anglers' dollars are redistributed annually to states for conservation and recreation. Nearly $300 million from these excise taxes and $500 million from fishing license sales are used by state natural resource agencies to restore fisheries and promote fishing.

            Other interesting statistics on sportfishing from the report include:

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Web site offers free temporary hunter education cards

Oklahoma's approaching deer gun season has many sportsmen hunting already, not for deer, but for their hunter education card, which in many cases is needed to purchase a license.
                Those worried about misplaced hunter education cards have a quick and easy solution available, according to Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. They can obtain a temporary card by logging onto the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
                "Even if you don’t have Internet access at home, most local libraries now have Internet access available for the public to use free of charge," said Meek.
                    To print off a temporary card, go to the Department’s home page (wildlifedepartment.com) and click on Hunter Education. Once on the Hunter Education page, individuals can click on “REPLACEMENT HUNTER EDUCATION CARD.” Follow the directions by filling in the requested information, entering the date as shown in the example provided, then click 'submit' and the card should appear on the screen.
                "Hunters can print the card out and use it temporarily to get their licenses. It will be accepted at any license vendor across the state and in other states as well. The information can also be useful to request a permanent replacement card," Meek said.
                If a card does not come up, the hunter can contact the Department's Information and Education Division at (405) 521-4636, Monday-Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and Department personnel will try to remedy the problem. Those wanting a permanent plastic replacement card can receive one for $5 (check, cash, money orders or cashiers checks accepted) by visiting the Department's Oklahoma City headquarters or submitting a letter to: Attn: Replacement Hunter Education Card, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

                Letters must contain the hunter's name as it appeared on the original card, current address, birth date and student number if known. Those who do not know their student number should provide the date and location for the course they attended. They should also include a daytime phone number so additional information can be obtained if needed.


Step Outside for a Waterfowl Adventure 

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will be conducting a special youth waterfowl hunt November 16 and 17 on Oologah Lake.
                Step Outside is a national program of the NSSF that encourages outdoor enthusiasts to introduce friends and family to share in the outdoor experience. This hunt is designed for youth ages 12 to 15 from a metropolitan area who have not had an opportunity to learn about waterfowl hunting. The hunt will be limited to 25 youths.

           The first day of the two-day event will consist of hands-on training about waterfowl identification, decoy setting, duck calling and calling contest, retriever demonstrations, gun safety and shotgun shooting. The second day will be the actual hunt where the youths will be guided by Department personnel and volunteers on Oologah Lake. All youth participants will receive a camouflage shirt, cap and a duck call. Shotguns and ammunition will be provided. A non-hunting adult companion must accompany each youth participant.
           To apply for the hunt, applicants must send an application on a 3x5 post card that includes the names of the youth and their adult companion, also the youth's age, address and telephone number.  The applications must be received by November 8 and mailed to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Step Outside, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Twenty-five youth hunters will be drawn from the applicants received and will be notified of being selected by telephone.
             Other hunt partners include Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and John Amico of Deep Fork Retrievers.
           For additional information or to volunteer for the hunt, contact Captain David Deckard with the Wildlife  Department's Law Enforcement Division at (405) 521-3719.


Waterfowl hunters prepping for another season

Cool winds are beginning to sweep across the state and ducks and geese are slowly filtering down from their breeding grounds in the north, just in time to kick off the 2002-2003 waterfowl seasons.
                Hunters can find out just how the annual migration is progressing by logging on and checking out the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s bi-weekly waterfowl reports at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Hunters can find out if their hunting spot is holding ducks and geese with just a few clicks of the mouse.
                According to Mike O’Meilia, migratory bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, waterfowl hunters have reason to be optimistic about the upcoming seasons.
            “We have had several good rains throughout the summer and early fall so the waterfowl habitat is in pretty good shape,” O’Meilia said. “However, any seasoned waterfowl hunter will tell you that good duck and goose hunting is very often weather related. If snow and freezing temperatures force the birds to come south, it should be another great season.”
The 2002-2003 Oklahoma waterfowl dates and bag limits remain essentially the same as the last few years with two notable differences. Due to the decline in the continental population of pintails and efforts to reduce pintail harvest, a shortened season of 39 days will be allowed by federal framework on pintails in Oklahoma and throughout the Central Flyway.

               “Hunters should take special care in identifying ducks especially during the early season when drake pintails may not yet be in their full winter plumage,” O’Meilia said.
            According to O'Meilia, small seasonal wetlands or prairie potholes, ranging from South Dakota and north into Canada are the home breeding grounds for these unique birds. Although these areas are currently in the midst of a drought, the cycles of wet and dry years keeps the breeding habitat productive.
             In addition, there will be no open season on canvasbacks. The season was closed on canvasbacks because of declines in breeding population and anticipated poor production.
                Hunters will also notice that the duck season was moved a week later to correspond with the new federal closing framework date of the last Sunday in January.
                Waterfowl hunters should be sure to pick up a new state waterfowl license and a federal waterfowl stamp, along with a new Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit before the season begins. The free HIP permits are required of all migratory bird hunters in the United States. Data collected from the surveys helps state and federal migratory bird biologists better gauge bird harvests and hunter numbers, which is used to improve migratory bird management.
                For complete details see the “2002-2003 Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting Guide” available at hunting license vendors or log on to wildlifedepartment.com


Surveys show quail population rebound

One of the state's most popular game bird species, the bobwhite quail, appears to be in good shape going into this fall. October roadside surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation show a statewide increase of seven percent over the 12-year average.

Running Nov. 9 through Feb.15, quail season is one of the most popular events in the state, drawing hunters from all over the nation to enjoy some of America's finest bird hunting. Oklahoma regularly ranks among the top three quail hunting states in terms of both quail populations and hunter success, and Oklahoma promises to be a major destination for bird hunters again this year.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologists have conducted the roadside surveys during both August and October for the past 13 years. The surveys, which consist of 20-mile routes, give biologists an estimate of quail abundance. Observers count the number of quail seen to provide an index of quail abundance and reproductive success. There are 83 routes with at least one route in every county except for Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.

"The surveys don't necessarily predict what quail season is going to be like, but they do give us an idea of how productive the breeding season was for quail," said Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Department. "Despite low spring populations, some regions of Oklahoma are reporting fall populations in excess of the previous 12-year average. The turn around is due to a mild and wet summer that provided favorable conditions for bobwhite quail production. While there is no indication that this will be a 'boom' year for quail hunters, quail hunting should be much improved over last year."

All regions reported increases in quail over last year and quail sightings in the southwestern, southeastern, and north central regions of Oklahoma exceeded their previous 12-year averages. However, the southcentral, northwest and northeastern region averages remain well below their 12-year averages.

The surveys suggest early production was good, despite drought conditions over portions of the state prior to the reproductive season. Some landowners reported seeing young broods in late August and early September, although evidence of a substantial second hatch was negligible in the October surveys.

One exception to the improved weather pattern was the extreme northwestern portions of the state. Much of the panhandle continued to suffer from drought conditions during 2002. While bobwhite populations have continued to stay low in the panhandle, region a slight increase was observed in the scaled quail population. Due to the vast expanses of native habitat, the northwestern and southwestern portions of the state continue to lead in quail numbers.


Wetland status reports available on the Internet

Decoys, shotgun, retriever, Internet connection; all are useful tools for the successful waterfowl hunter. While the Internet may seem a bit out of place in the sportsman's bag of tricks, hunters can find a plethora of useful information at wildlifedepartment.com. Not only does the site offer up-to-date waterfowl reports, season dates and complete regulations, now wetland status reports are available on the Internet.

Wetland status reports include the size of the area, a percent of the unit that is flooded, as well as forage conditions. Wetland development units are managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and are paid for through funds generated through sale of Oklahoma waterfowl licenses.

"Overall, our wetland development units are in pretty good shape. Conditions can change quickly on these areas, but the reports should give people a good idea of the current status of the wetland," said Alan Stacey, wetland development biologist for the Department. "Hopefully, these reports will be a useful tool for hunters as they scout for ducks or consider trying out new areas."

In addition, maps of the wetland development units, waterfowl hunting zone maps and more are available on the internet at www.wildlifedepartment.com


Deadline approaching for youth waterfowl hunts

Any kids that have ever wanted to give duck hunting a try will not want to miss a special opportunity coming soon. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, in partnership with the Step Outside program, will be conducting a special youth waterfowl hunt November 16 and 17 on Oologah Lake. Applications are due by November 8.

The first day of the two-day event will consist of hands-on training for waterfowl identification, decoy setting, duck calling and calling contest, retriever demonstrations, gun safety and shotgun shooting. The second day will be the actual hunt where the youths will be guided by Department personnel and volunteers on Oologah Lake. All youth participants will receive a camouflage shirt, cap and a duck call. Shotguns and ammunition will be provided. A non-hunting adult companion must accompany each youth participant.

Step Outside is a national program that encourages outdoor enthusiasts to introduce friends and family to share in the outdoor experience. This hunt is open for youth ages 12 to 15 from a metropolitan area who have not had an opportunity to learn waterfowl hunting. The hunt will be limited to 25 youths who must be accompanied by a non-hunting partner.

To apply for the hunt, applicants must send an application on a 3x5 post card that includes the names of the youth and their adult companion, also the youth's age, address and telephone number. The applications must be received by November 8 and mailed to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Step Outside, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Twenty-five youth hunters will be randomly selected and will be notified by telephone.

In addition, other partners include Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and John Amico of Deep Fork Retrievers.

For additional information or to volunteer for the hunt, contact Captain David Deckard, with the Wildlife Department's law enforcement division, at (405) 521-3719.