WEEK OF JULY 29, 2004


WEEK OF JULY 22, 2004


WEEK OF JULY 15, 2004


WEEK OF JULY 8, 2004

WEEK OF JULY 1, 2004


Lower Illinois River offers fine summer fishing

Summer is just getting into full swing across the state and there is no better way to beat the heat than to go trout fishing. Visitors to the lower Illinois River can find cool running water and fast fishing action.

Both rainbow and brown trout can be caught at the lower Illinois, which is one of only two year-round trout areas within the state. Water, drawn from the depths of Lake Tenkiller, flows into the lower Illinois River, keeping it at a fairly constant temperature range in the 50s and 60s. This cool, oxygen rich water serves two purposes, it keeps trout comfortable year-round and the cooler water attracts stripers, white bass, walleye and other fish when the nearby Arkansas River becomes too warm for their liking. This makes the river one of the state’s top fisheries, and the hotter it gets outside the better the fishing gets.

According to Gary Peterson, northeast region fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department, rainbow trout anglers may be in for a pleasant surprise at the lower Illinois River. In past years, trout averaging nine inches long have been stocked, but beginning in July many of the stocked trout will measure 11 inches and a small percentage of those will be even larger – up to 24 inches.

Peterson added that the brown trout in the area are finding the Illinois River quite to their liking. Several fish measuring around 20 inches have been reported this spring. First stocked in the Illinois River in 1998, brown trout often prefer the river’s slower moving water, such as deep pools or eddies behind a fallen tree.

The Wildlife Department is also involved in improving trout habitat at the lower Illinois River.

“We have recently completed a cross vein near Lake Tenkiller dam. In short, it’s a rock structure that extends out into the river and alters the flow to create different types of habitat,” said Randy Hyler, northeast region fisheries biologist for the Department. “It also has the benefit of increasing access for anglers at both high and low flows.”

The lower Mountain Fork River in southeast Oklahoma, the states only other year-round trout area, also offers beautiful scenery and great trout fishing.

For a map and a complete list of Oklahoma’s designated trout area’s and regulations pick up a copy of the "2004 Oklahoma Fishing Guide" or log onto wildlifedepartment.com.


It’s never too early to practice

Dove season is less than two months away. If your wing shooting could use some improvement then make plans today to go to a local skeet or sporting clays range. Opening day can humble even the most accomplished wing shot, much less one who hasn’t picked up a shotgun in six months.

“Practicing on clay targets is a great way to sharpen your shooting skills. But it’s also just plain fun,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department.

Meek added that shotgun shooting is a perfect way to introduce friends to shooting and possibly hunting later in the fall.

“Invite someone who has shown interest in hunting or shooting,” Meek said. “Just be careful because they may be a natural and shoot better than you.”

If you own land in an area where shooting is permitted, you can practice on your own with equipment available at many retailers. You can buy a hand held thrower for just a few dollars and a box of clay targets usually costs less than $5.

When shooting at a skeet course, shooters fire at a total of 25 targets from eight different stations. Depending on the station, a shooter will face clay targets, or "birds," going away or incoming, as well as passing shots and overhead shots.

Sporting clays, on the other hand, is often called "shotgun golf." A typical round of sporting clays consists of 50 targets in a variety of settings designed to mimic actual hunting situations. Shooters will face "birds" launched to imitate flushing quail, fast-flying doves, high-flying mallards and scampering rabbits. Many stations feature a combination, requiring quick reflexes and the ability to make snap decisions.

You don't have to travel far to find a place to shoot. A Web site sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, www. wheretoshoot.org, lists over 25 locations where Oklahomans can go to hone their shooting skills. Shooting sports articles, fact sheets and links to other conservation organizations can also be found on this useful site.



 Local artist’s work of Oklahoma fish on exhibit at Art Museum

                A lifetime of teaching about and loving the natural world, a repertoire of artwork spanning 25 years, six years of specimen collection, and eight months of painting have culminated in the exhibit “Fishes of Oklahoma” by Oklahoma native Rudy Miller at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Miller’s brush, stroked with acrylic paint, captures the intricate details of 71 of Oklahoma’s 176 fish. Most of the fish are no longer than three to five inches, although larger-than-life on the canvas.

“There is not one person in any 500 in Oklahoma that has any idea how pretty our fish are,” Miller said, lounging in a beige chair surrounded by his paintings.

Miller’s eyes light up as he talks about the “little jewels bouncing in the net.” Due to their size, he caught most of the fish with a net or seine before photographing them for later painting.

Many museum visitors are surprised to see the fishes’ brilliantly colored hues of orange, red, green and blue. They are also surprised to learn there are five types of sunfish in Oklahoma.

                “Each one of these sort of have their own traits,” said one observer while studying the portraits at the Museum.  “I really had no idea there were this many here or that they were so brightly colored.”

                It is the male fish that are so vibrant, Miller explains. “They’re not these beautiful colors all the time,” he said. “During the breeding season they take on these gorgeous colors while they court and fight over females.”

                Fish behavior is a specialty of Miller’s. While studying zoology as an undergraduate at Cornell University, he discovered something that would alter his perception of fish forever.

“I always fished and was always interested in the fish,” he recalled, “but when I found out that all these little fishes you see in the stream weren’t just young, big fish, I was fascinated.” 

Miller then obtained his masters degree in ichthyology – the study of fishes – before getting his PhD in zoology. In 1990, he retired early from a productive career as a professor of ichthyology at Oklahoma State University to pursue painting full time.

“I paint just about anything that walks, wiggles or flies,” Miller said, his gray mustache adding warmth to his smile.

Miller began painting as a hobby. After finishing second in a duck stamp contest in 1979, he thought he might have a little bit of artistic talent, he said with a slight grin. He painted duck stamps for seven years and then got into landscape painting.

“I pretty much think of myself as a landscape artist who also paints wildlife,” Miller said.

The “Fishes of Oklahoma” exhibit came about through the collaboration with author Henry Robinson on the printing of the second edition of the book, “The Fishes of Oklahoma.” Miller’s paintings make up the species plates in the center of the 450-page natural history and identification guide.

Hardy George, PhD, chief curator of the Art Museum, said that Miller is both a “skilled draftsman and scientist… he brings together these disciplines in his extraordinary acrylics.”

Looking at his fish on the walls of the art exhibit, Rudy nods.  “It’s a nice situation to be in – to have all my babies together,” he said.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Bass Pro Shops are special exhibit sponsors for “Fishes of Oklahoma: Illustrations by Rudy Miller.”  The exhibit can be seen at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art through Oct. 27, 2004.



Spring surveys and summertime fishing

A slight breeze, a secluded cove and a few casts into some first-rate bass water - you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a weekend morning. But before you hit the water, you may want to check out the 2004 spring electrofishing data recently released by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

In reservoirs over 1,000 acres, Konawa Lake earned the top spot in number of bass surveyed per hour. Covering 1,300 acres in Seminole County, Konawa produced 170 bass per hour of electrofishing during this year's surveys. That is up to par with its reputation as a first-rate bass lake.

But large reservoirs aren’t the only bass fishing hotspots. Lake Schooler near Hugo produced 191 bass per hour of electrofishing, placing in the number one spot for lakes under 1,000 acres. This small Wildlife Department-owned lake covers only 35 acres and was built in the 1930’s.

If all this talk about bass fishing has you itching to go, then Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department, has a few tips for you.

“Fishing in mid-summer can be great, but you have to approach it just a little differently than other seasons,” Gilliland said.

First, anglers may want to try fishing at night. The decreased boat traffic and cooler temperatures can add up to a memorable night of fishing.

“Try using a 10-inch black plastic worm,” Gilliland said. “The dark color offers a better silhouette under a moonlit sky.”

Ask any seasoned angler about summertime bass fishing and they will probably mention topwater lures.

“Using topwaters first thing in the morning is certainly an exciting way to find bass,” Gilliland said.

Gilliland also suggested looking for bass in submerged weedbeds in the mid-afternoon. Bass will often hang out in these shady areas waiting for their next meal.

For the complete 2004 Spring Electrofishing Survey Results, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.




Editor Note: Spring electrofishing survey explanation

            Data from the springtime bass survey is divided between that collected from lakes larger than 1,000 acres, and lakes smaller than 1,000 acres. The data is used to determine the health of individual bass fisheries and how bass populations change over time. Regional fisheries management personnel capture bass using electrofishing equipment, then they weigh and measure each fish before releasing them back into the water unharmed. The information helps biologists determine which lakes benefit from specialized management techniques such as length and slot limits.

            If you're interested in big bass, the survey is also a great place to determine which lake may hold the highest number of big bass. Biologists keep track of the number of bass over 14 inches recorded for each hour of electrofishing.

            The Department rates a lake as high quality when it produces more than 15 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing. Quality lakes yield more than 10 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing, and those which produce fewer than 10 per hour are considered below average.

            In terms of total numbers of bass per hour, lakes that yield more than 60 bass of any size per hour are rated as “high quality.” Those producing 40 bass or more per hour are considered "quality" lakes, and less than 40 per hour are considered below average.

            Variations in electrofishing catch rates can result from lake conditions at the time of sampling or from changes in reproduction, recruitment, growth and mortality caused by habitat alteration, environmental impacts, food fish production, disease or angling pressure. All fish collected by biologists through electrofishing are weighed, measured and released unharmed. Not all lakes are surveyed each year.

            For the complete 2004 Spring Electrofishing Survey Results, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.


Deer hunters experience another great year

            Once again, Oklahoma deer hunters during the 2003-04 season had an excellent harvest.

            After tallying harvest totals from both muzzleloader and gun deer seasons, along with the early and late archery seasons, personnel from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recorded a final harvest total 100,602 deer. The total is a small increase from last year’s harvest of  98,581.

            "It was another great year for deer hunters in Oklahoma," said Mike Shaw, the Department's research supervisor. "We witnessed pretty much what we expected regarding the new 16-day deer gun season. The peak activity took place during the first few days and the last few days of the season."

            Like last year, Osage County yielded the highest county total with 4,981 deer harvested. Next in line was Cherokee County with 3,574 deer harvested followed by Pittsburg County with 2,687. Complete county-by-county and season data is available at wildlifedepartment.com/03tot.htm.

            Hunters took 42,988 does during the 2003 seasons. Antlerless deer accounted for 43 percent of the total harvest, a proportion nearly identical to the 2002 seasons.

            “We would always like to see a little higher doe harvest, but I am glad to see that hunters are placing an emphasis on harvesting does. This will really benefit the population in the long term,” Shaw said.

            Muzzleloader hunters took 24,176 deer in 2003, compared to 24,479 in 2002. Bowhunters took 13,326 deer, compared to 14,278 in 2002.

            For complete details pick up a copy of the September/October 2004 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine. The issue contains the annual big game report and offers valuable insight for deer hunters. Beginning September 1, copies will be available for $3 if picked up at the Oklahoma City and Jenks Wildlife Department's offices, or $4 by mail (mail to Outdoor Oklahoma, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152). One-year subscriptions, which are only $10, are available by calling 1-800-777-0019, or you can print off an order form off the Internet by logging on to the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.



Free wildlife conference to be held in Stillwater

            It is not too late to make plans to attend a special Oklahoma wildlife conference to be held July 13-15. Held on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, the conference is the next step in the development of the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS).

            The Strategy, which is being created by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in collaboration with wildlife enthusiasts, will address the needs of all fish and wildlife species in the state. It will also use a habitat approach, rather than a species-by-species management approach. All 50 states are creating similar strategies. When fit together like a puzzle, they will show the current state of America’s wildlife and identify actions needed to keep fish and wildlife populations healthy.

            This conference is one vitally important step - and opportunity - in the process of preparing Oklahoma’s CWCS. The purpose of this conference is to bring together people who care about the future of fish and wildlife conservation in Oklahoma, especially those most knowledgeable about fish and wildlife resources in Oklahoma, along with the best available information about species and habitats of greatest conservation need. The conference will include special workshops for both scientists as well as workshops where the general public can voice their opinions about the future of wildlife conservation in the state.

            Those interested in attending the conference can see an agenda and further details by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com. Anyone with an interest in wildlife in Oklahoma is welcome, particularly those with knowledge about specific species, habitats, or conservation actions.



Hunters Against Hunger Program Feeding Thousands

Oklahoma deer hunters have contributed hundreds of thousands of meals to feed Oklahoma’s hungry through donations of nutritious venison. In the 2003-04 deer hunting seasons alone, more than 21 tons of donated venison was served statewide through a network of community shelters and food pantries.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recognized two organizations at its regular monthly meeting, held July 12th in Oklahoma City, which have been instrumental in the success of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Hunters Against Hunger Program.

According to Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the program could not happen without the assistance of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

“One of the most challenging aspects of the Hunters Against Hunger program involves the collection of venison from our cooperating meat processors and then the distribution of the meat to local food pantries and shelters, “ said Hatcher. “Not only do these organizations pick up the venison from the processors, but more importantly they know where to get it into the hands of quality charitable organizations that prepare meals for those in need.

According to Bill Hendrix of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the program serves a critical need for Oklahoma’s hungry.

“Although we receive many donations of canned goods and other non-perishable food items, meat is one of our least-donated foods,” said Hendrix.

“When you consider how many pounds were donated last year (more than 42,000), and a typical venison burger or other meal consists of approximately one-quarter pound of meat, the Hungers Against Hunger program is providing a tremendous amount of meals to hungry Oklahomans.”

Through the Hunters Against Hunger Program, sportsmen can donate their deer to a network of cooperating local meat processors listed annually in the “Oklahoma Hunting Guide”. To help offset processing charges, the hunter is requested to make a $10 tax-deductible donation to the processor at the time of donation. Additionally, the program receives funding assistance from conservation groups across Oklahoma, most notably NatureWorks, a non-profit organization that sponsors the annual Oklahoma Wildlife Art Show in Tulsa each March.

In other business, commissioners voted to accept a donation of $1,231.84 from the Ouachita National Forest Interpretative Association to be used for construction of an observation tower at Red Slough Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Red Slough WMA covers 7,800 acres in southern McCurtain County and is a prime waterfowl hunting area in the fall and a popular bird watching destination in the spring and summer months.

Also at the meeting, the Commission accepted a $1,000 donation from the National Rifle Association Foundation to be used toward the annual Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Youth Camp.

“For several years now, the NRA Foundation has provided funds to assist our very popular youth camp held each summer for junior high and high school age kids,” said John Streich, law enforcement chief for the Department. “We greatly appreciate their commitment to making each year’s camp a very worthwhile experience for the kids.”

Commissioners also voted to accept a $2,178.95 donation from the University of Hook Setters angling organization. The funding will be matched with Federal Sportfish Restoration grants to construct amenities at the youth fishing clinic complex located on the Arcadia WMA, near Edmond.

In other business, the Commission voted to approve a resolution establishing hunting regulations for migratory game birds that open prior to October 1. The resolution establishes the season length for dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, common snipe, resident Canada Geese and the special September teal season.

“Due to a decline in the results of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s May waterfowl breeding population surveys, this year’s teal season length was reduced from 16 to nine days,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Department. The season lengths for all of the other early migratory species will remain the same as last year, according to Peoples.

For a specific listing of hunting season dates for the species listed above, consult the “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” available at hunting and fishing license vendors in late July.

Commissioners also voted to approve a $307,464.00 federal pass-through grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The special grant will then be matched with a larger private grant from The Nature Conservancy to purchase a 3,100 acre parcel in Ellis County. The property lies along the South Canadian River and provides critical habitat for two endangered species, the Interior Least Tern and the Arkansas River Shiner. The area will also be open to some hunting opportunities for upland birds and deer.

In other business, the Commission heard a status report from wildlife division personnel on a highly successful cooperative agreement with the Wildlife Department and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In the year since the initial agreement was signed, the NRCS has provided funds to the Department to hire four regional private lands wildlife technicians who are assisting landowners within the NRCS’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).

“Since last year, the NRCS has allocated nearly $1.2 million to be used on approved WHIP projects on private lands throughout the state,” said Alan Peoples. “We’re very proud of the fact that that figure represents the second highest allocation of federal WHIP funding among the 50 states,” said Peoples. “The effect of these projects should be long-lasting to enhance habitat for quail and a variety of other Oklahoma wildlife species.”

The Commission also heard a status report on the Department’s systems for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses from Melinda Sturgess-Streich, administration chief for the Department. Although cost prohibitive in the past, the cost of an electronic “point-of-sale” purchasing system has become more economically feasible. The Department will soon be testing a prototype point-of-sale system that will alleviate administrative costs required by the current Universal License Form system. Using computer and Internet technology, the point-of-sale system will streamline the collection of payments to the agency and will automatically enter hunter/angler information into the license database.

The Commission also recognized a Department employee for his outstanding service to the sportsmen of the state. Dale Schmitz, assistant hatchery manager at the Holdenville State Fish Hatchery was recognized for his 25 years of service to the 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.



Controlled hunt results coming soon

The moment of truth is drawing near for applicants in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Controlled Hunt program. The results of the drawing will be announced on July 20. Hunters will be able to find if they were selected by logging onto www.wildlifedepartment.com or by visiting a regional Department office.

The opportunity to harvest an animal from some of the best managed lands for wildlife have made the controlled hunts one of the most popular programs the Department offers. Applicants anxious to know if they were drawn can access the Controlled Hunt drawing results through the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Click on the "Controlled Hunts Results" banner and enter your last name, birthday, social security or driver’s license number. The service is free, easy and instantaneous and has been very popular the last three years.

Computer terminals will also be available at the Department's headquarters and regional offices, but sportsmen have found that checking the results from the comfort of their home or office is very easy and is often the most efficient way to find out if you have been selected. Successful applicants will also be notified by mail.


Bollenbach Quail Symposium slated for Aug. 5

Landowners, leaseholders and sportsmen interested in bobwhite quail will want to be in Woodward August 5-6 for the fourth annual Bollenbach Quail Symposium.

The symposium will begin at 8 a.m., Thursday, August 5 at the High Plains Technology Center in Woodward. From the technology center participants will be transported to the Agricultural Research Service’s Southern Plains Experimental Range north of Fort Supply, where they will tour bobwhite and lesser prairie-chicken habitat and habitat management on the experimental range. A lunch under the cottonwoods at the Selman Ranch and discussion of key-plants in lesser prairie-chicken, bobwhite and cattle management will follow the tour.

A wide variety of topics surrounding bobwhite quail management will be covered throughout the day on Friday, August 6. Speakers will be presenting information on various aspects of bobwhite ecology and management: bird-dog behavior, habitat management, foods, predators, harvest management, lease evaluation and conservation development. Professional wildlife biologists will be providing information and answering questions throughout the day.

Registration for the two-day symposium is $20 a day before July 31 and $25 after July 31, and covers transportation, meals, refreshments and materials. Those interested can choose to attend either day or both days. Students 18 and under may attend the symposium free of charge, but all participants are asked to register by calling Dr. Fred Guthery at (405) 744-5438.


Norman hunter education clinic adopts new format

The 33rd Annual Norman Hunter Education Clinic, scheduled for Saturday, August 21 will have a different look and feel this year, but the goal of producing safe and conscientious hunters will remain the same.

“We are going to a home study format, which will allow students to spend less time in the hot sun,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Students must register for the course by calling (405) 521-4636 and then complete a workbook or the internet course which they will bring to class. In the past, students were allowed to “walk-in” on the day of the course. That will not be an option this year, as they must pre-register and complete the workbook.

“The workbook followed by lecture is a great option,” said Meek. “It allows the student to learn at their own pace.”

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1972, upon reaching 16 years of age must have completed a certified hunter education course in order to purchase a hunting license. Additionally, any hunters under the age of 16 (below the age required to purchase a hunting license), must complete a hunter education course if they use a firearm to hunt big game (deer, elk or antelope).

Students will have the opportunity to fire a .22 and participate in field exercises including fence crossing and firearms field carries. Lecture will be reduced to about two and a half hours. It will cover firearms safety and handling and include a review of course material from the workbook.

“I cannot stress how important it is that students register and complete their workbook,” said Meek, “they will not be able to participate if the workbook is not complete.”

Currently workbooks are available at the following locations ODWC Headquarters; H & H Gun Range, 400 South Vermont, Suite 110, Oklahoma City, I-40 and MacArthur; Midwest City Library, 8143 East Reno Avenue, Midwest City, N. Midwest Blvd. and E. Reno Ave.; Noble Public Library, 204 North 5, Noble; Tri-City Wal-Mart near Blanchard and Norman Wal-Marts.

To find out more about the Norman Hunter Education Clinic or other upcoming clinics, log on wildlifedepartment.com or call (405) 521-4636.



More than 15,000 brown trout stocked in southeast Oklahoma

The fishing at the Lower Mountain Fork River just got better. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently stocked 15,610 brown trout into the river below Broken Bow Lake in McCurtain County.

“It really is a monumental stocking,” said Paul Balkenbush, southeast region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “These fish average about 10 inches long and we put almost all of them into the Zone 2 area of the Lower Mountain Fork River.”

These fish were raised from fingerlings in the Department’s new trout rearing pens below Broken Bow Lake Dam.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help from the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation and the 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Both of these organizations have been very generous with their financial support,” Balkenbush said.

The Lower Mountain Fork River is one of only two year-round trout fisheries in the state. It is widely known for both beautiful scenery and great trout fishing.

“If you’ve ever thought about trying your skills at trout fishing, then now is the time to go. I’ve already heard many reports that these brown trout are biting,” Balkenbush said.



Big stripers being caught at Lake Texoma

So much for the summer doldrums. Anglers at Lake Texoma are reporting excellent striped bass fishing over the last several weeks.

“It just seems to be getting better every week,” said Barry Bolton, assistant fisheries chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

According to Bolton, anglers are not just catching good numbers of fish, they are also catching big fish.

"The striped bass population is really in good shape right now. And the number of fish over 20 inches has been impressive this year,” he said.

Lake Texoma, located on the Red River along the Oklahoma and Texas border, has earned a reputation as being one of the top striper lakes in the nation. Known for their outstanding fighting abilities, striped bass are long-lived and fast growing. Stripers are voracious predators with a diet consisting mainly of threadfin and gizzard shad.

"The best artificial baits right now are heavy spoons, slabs or bucktail jigs. First thing in the morning you may get some topwater action.” Bolton said.

The waters of Texoma are home to over 100 guides that can take novice and experienced anglers alike out for a great day of fishing, he added.

Besides getting Texoma fishing reports on the Department's Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com, additional information can be found at www.sixoldgeezers.com. The site offers fishing reports, lodging and guide information, as well as a great variety of links that can provide all the information needed for a trip to Texoma.

Those fishing Lake Texoma need either an Oklahoma or Texas annual fishing license, depending on which state's waters they will be fishing, or anglers can purchase a Lake Texoma Fishing License for $12. The Lake Texoma license allows an angler to fish the entire lake.



Norman hunter education clinic is just a few weeks away

One of the nation’s largest hunter education clinics is just a few weeks away. The 33rd Annual Norman Hunter Education Clinic will be held Saturday, August 21, but the deadline for registering is August 16.

“It’s always a fun time and we think this year’s clinic will be even better. We are going to a home study format, which will allow students to spend less time in what is normally 100-degree heat,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Students must register for the course by calling (405) 521-4636 and then complete a workbook or the Internet course which they will bring to class. In the past, students were allowed to “walk-in” on the day of the course. That will not be an option this year, as they must pre-register and complete the workbook.

Students will have the opportunity to fire a .22 rifle and participate in field exercises including fence crossing and firearms field carries.

“We don’t want anyone to miss out on this class. That is why it is so important to get registered and complete the workbook,” said Meek.

Currently workbooks are available at the following locations:

  • ODWC Headquarters, 1801 N Lincoln.
  • H & H Gun Range, 400 South Vermont, Suite 110, Oklahoma City, I-40 and MacArthur.
  • Midwest City Library, 8143 East Reno Avenue, Midwest City, N. Midwest Blvd. and E. Reno Ave.
  • Noble Public Library, 204 North 5, Noble.
  • Tri-City Wal-Mart near Blanchard and Norman Wal-Marts.
  • The Internet version of the course can be found at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

    To find out more about the Norman Hunter Education Clinic or other upcoming clinics, log on wildlifedepartment.com or call

    (405) 521-4636.



    Top hunter education volunteer recognized

    Most hunter education instructors manage to teach one or two clinics a year, so when Elk City police officer Forrest Potter’s name kept appearing on clinic rosters from across southwest Oklahoma, it was clear that his efforts needed recognition.  Potter was recently recognized as the Oklahoma Hunter Education Instructor of the Year for 2003.

                "Forrest has demonstrated a real dedication to the hunter education program. Time and time again he has gone beyond the call of duty in traveling many miles to teach a course," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

    Potter has certified more than 700 hunters and taught more than 56 classes in his 13 years as a volunteer.

    "He is a great example of what you want in a volunteer. He sees a niche and fills it," said Meek. "He has a real passion for passing on the hunting heritage to future generations."

    According to Meek, volunteer instructors like Potter are a critical component of the hunter education program. Last year, more than 14,000 students were certified in 354 classes throughout Oklahoma. Classes are administered by state game wardens and volunteers and coordinated through the Department's central office. With hunting seasons just around the corner, now is a good time to log on to wildlifedepartment.com or call (405) 521-4650 to find a class near your community.

    Volunteer instructors are trained to coordinate and instruct hunter education classes and other events. The standard hunter education course covers a variety of subjects including firearm handling and safety, survival, wildlife conservation and hunter ethics. Hunters wishing to pass on their heritage by becoming a hunter education instructor should contact Lance Meek at (405) 522-4572 or log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com.




    Smallmouth buffalo record broken

    Once again, Canton Lake near Watonga has yielded a new state record smallmouth buffalo.

    Rodney Meyer of Balko hooked the 38-pound, 3.8-ounce fish while fishing July 18 on Canton Lake. The fish measured a full 40 inches long and Meyer pulled in the big fish using just 12-pound test line.

    The record was weighed on certified scales at the Canton Post Office. The weighing was witnessed by Mark Walker, state game warden stationed in Blaine County.

    The previous state record smallmouth buffalo, weighing in at 37 pounds 3.2 ounces, was also caught at Canton Lake.

    For a complete list of record fish and the procedures regarding state record fish consult the "2004 Oklahoma Fishing Guide." If you think you may have hooked a record fish it is important that you weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale and the weight is verified by a Wildlife Department employee.




    Editor’s note: Below is a link for an accompanying photo that is 72 DPI and intended for newspaper publication. The ending link is .jpg for the photo. The photo will open in your browser. If you have a pc you should be able to right click, save picture as, choose the file type you want to save as and click save. The other way is on file in toolbar, save picture as, choosing the file type you want to save as and click save. Images can be viewed with the article at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com


    Cutline: Rodney Meyer of Balko hooked a 38-pound, 3.8-ounce new state record smallmouth buffalo while fishing July 18, on Canton Lake. The fish measured a full 40 inches long and Meyer pulled in the big fish using just 12-pound test line.

    “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine receives top national honor

                “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine recently was awarded first place in an annual competition among state agency outdoor magazines. The accolade was awarded through the Association of Conservation Information, a professional organization of communicators who promote hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation.

    “It is a real honor to be recognized among so many other great magazines. We take great pride in putting each issue together and enjoy highlighting our state’s outdoor opportunities and dedicated Wildlife Department employees,” said Nels Rodefeld, editor of “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine.

    The full-color magazine is the official bi-monthly publication of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Each issue is packed with information for everyone who loves the Oklahoma outdoors including hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers.

    Upcoming features include information on what counties hold the state’s biggest bucks, a review of the weird and unusual birds spotted in Oklahoma and the annual calendar issue which features information to help landowners attract wildlife to their property.

    To obtain the most recent issue mail $4 (check, cash, money orders or cashiers check accepted) to “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. However, one-year subscriptions are just $10 (two years for $18 or three years for $25) and are available by calling 1-800-777-0019. Additionally, you can subscribe over the Internet by logging on to the Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com