Survey gives high marks to state wildlife agency

In a time when good customer service seems to have gone the way of full-service gas stations or live telephone operators, one state agency is receiving high marks from its constituents, according to a recent regional research survey.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the state agency responsible for managing Oklahoma’s fish and wildlife resources, rated above the regional average in nine key public opinion categories including overall satisfaction and credibility as a source for fish and wildlife information. Oklahoma also scored above the regional average when it comes to percent of the population who consider themselves hunters and anglers.  Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of those Oklahomans contacted in the statewide telephone survey considered themselves hunters, while almost half (44 percent) considered themselves anglers. More than half of respondents (55 percent) said they enjoy feeding birds or other wildlife on a regular basis.

The survey called “Public Opinion on Fish and Wildlife Management Issues,” was conducted on behalf of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

According to the survey, 85 percent of Oklahomans reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their experience in contacting the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Also above the regional averages, 95 percent of respondents said they approved of fishing and 93 percent approved of hunting.

            “This survey shows that hunting and fishing are an important part of our lives here in Oklahoma,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Of course, we would love for more people to know our exact name, but the fact they know what we stand for and are pleased with the service we are providing - that is what is most important.”

According to the survey only 29 percent of the respondents could list the correct name for the state agency responsible for managing Oklahoma’s fish and wildlife resources – the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

            For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 16 states. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. 



Quail season reaches half-way point

         The half-way point of Oklahoma’s quail season has many hunters anxious for a little rain and hoping for a return of cooler, damp days.

         “I’ve heard from several hunters that crossed paths with good numbers of birds so far this season, but hunting is suffering from warm and windy weather conditions,” said Mike Sams, upland game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         According to Sams, many hunters will be watching the weather forecast for the second half of the season.

         “As everyone knows, it has been dry and warm most of the season which makes it more difficult for the dogs to find coveys. The good news is that the birds are out there. If we could get some cool, wet weather it would dramatically improve hunting conditions,” said Sams. “As long as this current weather pattern holds hunters should bring plenty of water for themselves and their dogs and may want to focus on hunting a little earlier in the morning when it is cooler and while there may be a little dew on the ground.”

         Surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in October showed a statewide quail population increase of 32 percent over the previous 15-year average.

         “Even with poor weather conditions, I’ve heard hunters are finding good numbers of birds. The problem is many of those coveys are running ahead of the dogs or flushing wild. Then, once a covey flushes it can be hard to find single birds,” said Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor. “All that being said, if we get some cool, wet weather the second half of the season could be good.”

         Oklahoma’s statewide quail season runs through Feb.15. For more information about quail hunting log onto wildlifedepartment.com or pick up a copy of the “2005-06 Oklahoma Hunting Guide.” 



Attracting birds, contributing to science

            The Wildlife Department is seeking backyard birders to participate in the 18th annual Winter Bird Survey. Choose any two days between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 to watch and record the feathered guests dining in your backyard. This bird count helps the state’s biologists track population trends of winter birds feeding in Oklahoma yards. Download a survey form and submit your results on-line at wildlifedepartment.com.

            Of course, to be a part of the survey, you need birds. Attracting them to your yard is relatively simple, according to Jenny Thom, a Wildlife Department information specialist. Think of the three basic needs for wildlife and you can have birds in your yard. 

            “All you really need is food, water and a little cover,” Thom said.

            Different birds prefer different types of seed, but not all seed is created equal. A good all-around seed is black-oil sunflower seed. Its high protein content provides important fuel for birds during the winter months. It’s also a good choice because all the Oklahoma songbird species will eat black-oil sunflower seed.

            There are many seed mixes available, but Thom advises checking the ingredients before purchasing one.

            “You want the primary seeds to be black-oil sunflower and millet. Watch out for filler ingredients like buckwheat, milo and other grains. They take up space, but don’t provide nutrients for the birds and will be pecked right over,” Thom said. 

            To gather woodpeckers, you might want to hang suet. Suet provides lots of energy and attracts birds that don’t primarily eat seeds. Suet cakes are made of animal fat and often mixed with seeds, peanut butter, grains or honey. You can make your own or buy them ready made.

            Thom also recommends hanging multiple feeders in your yard. Seed feeders range in shape from platforms to tubes to house-shaped feeders to homemade pop-bottle feeders. Any type will work. The key is to place them at varying heights and locations around your yard. This will attract more birds at one time.

            When possible, keep feeders within 10 to 20 feet of bushes and shrubs. The birds will dine more comfortably if they know cover is near by. The birds prefer a quick escape route from any possible predators lurking in the shadows. Anything from a soaring hawk to a stalking cat to a curious human can make a bird nervous.

            An often overlooked, but very important need according to Thom is water.

            A bird stays warm during the winter because of its feathers. Dirty feathers don’t insulate properly, so birds bathe and preen their feathers often during the winter.        

            Birds don’t need very deep water. Thom said to think ankle-deep for humans and you’re doing great. There is one problem with shallow water, however. It’s likely to freeze.

            “Freezing water can crack your bird bath,” Thom said. “Not only is that frustrating for you, but you’re left with a bird bath that no longer holds water – and that’s no good.”   

            Because water is so important, she highly recommends purchasing a deicer or heated bird bath. They range from $20.00 to $60.00 and can be purchased at commercial feed and farm stores or stores that specialize in gardens and ponds as well specialty bird stores.

            An alternative is to fill a heavy-duty plastic plant saucer with water. It shouldn’t crack if the water freezes, and even if it does, you’re not out very much money, she said.

            “The weather is pretty mild right now, but we’ll see another freeze before winter is over,” Thom said. “If you set out water on cold days, especially when creeks and streams are iced over, you’ll be absolutely amazed by the number of visitors you get.”

            For information about the Winter Bird Survey log onto wildlifedepartment.com.





Commission hears of pioneering new license sales system

        At its January meeting the Wildlife Conservation Commission heard about the ground-breaking new way hunting and fishing licenses are now being sold across the state.

         The innovative Internet point of sale system has proven to be a genuine win-win opportunity for vendors, sportsmen, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         Previously, books of hunting and fishing licenses were printed by the Wildlife Department, and mailed to approximately 900 license dealers across the state. Next, when a license was sold, the license was handwritten and mailed back to the Department for entry into a computer database.

         “While the old system worked, it had several disadvantages including the costs involved in printing and postage, and the fact that it was relatively labor intensive and time consuming. The new Internet point of sale system is faster, more convenient and more accurate for everyone involved including the license buyer, the license dealer and the Wildlife Department,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, chief of administration for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

         The Internet point of sales system allows retailers to use a common personal computer with an Internet connection and a printer to provide timely and fool-proof licenses to hunters and anglers. Sturgess-Streich also pointed out the significant cost savings through the new system.

         “It is time to make issuing hunting and fishing licenses easier for everyone,” Sturgess-Streich said. “It is not everyday that we can provide a better service for less money, but with this new system we are able to save the sportsmen and women of the state more than $250,000 each year through eliminating or significantly reducing many of the printing, postage and data entry costs. Additionally, by using a company that had developed this type of software and building on work done by our own staff, we saved about $1 million in start-up development costs.”

         Currently, about 60 percent of the licenses purchased in the state are sold through the new system at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops and through the agency’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.

         In other business, the Commission voted to accept a donation of $2,500 from Nextep, Inc, a human resources company. The funds will be used to double the winter trout stockings at the Dolese Park pond, NW 50th and Meridian in Oklahoma City.

         Since 2002, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has worked with the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department to improve fishing opportunities through the Close to Home fishing program. Winter trout stockings at the 16-acre Dolese Park pond have proven very popular among anglers, particularly among families throughout the metropolitan area.

         In a separate agenda item, the Commission accepted a donation of a 1994 Kawasaki four-wheel drive all terrain vehicle. George Palmer, of Pryor, donated the vehicle, which will be used in law enforcement efforts in the area.

        In other business, the Commission voted to approve emergency rules regarding mussel harvest and sales. The rule changes will require mussel harvesters to provide 24-hour notice regarding when and where they will be harvesting mussels. Additionally, the rule requires commercial mussel buyers to pay a 12.5 percent severance fee based off of sales receipts.

        Also at the meeting, the Commission voted to accept a bid of $211 per acre from Samson Resources to lease the Wildlife’s Department’s half-interest mineral rights on 239 acres in Ellis County.

         In other business, the Commission recognized four Department employees for their outstanding service to the sportsmen of the state, including three law enforcement employees with 30 years of service. Employees recognized were:

         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 Feb. 6 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City at 9:00 a.m. 



Two potential state record fish swimming in Lake Thunderbird

            One of the hardest parts about catching a state record fish is knowing where to go fishing. That piece of the puzzle just got a whole lot easier – at least when it comes to big saugeye.

Wildlife Department fisheries biologists recently released two saugeye, weighing in at more than 10 pounds each, into Lake Thunderbird near Norman. The two big fish were collected and released during a research project examining the feeding habits of saugeye, bass and crappie. The current state record saugeye, a 9-pound, 14-ounce fish, was caught from Lake Thunderbird in 1992.

            “Lake Thunderbird has a very healthy population of saugeye. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the new state record came out of this lake very soon,” said Jeff Boxrucker, fisheries research biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

According to Boxrucker, the saugeye stocking program at Lake Thunderbird has been very successful.

“We first stocked saugeye in Lake Thunderbird in 1985 for two reasons: first, to provide an additional fishing opportunity and second, to help control the over-populated crappie,” Boxrucker said. “Saugeye eat small crappie which allow the remaining crappie to grow bigger and healthier. Both our annual surveys and discussions with anglers have been very positive in regards to the crappie population at Thunderbird, it is much more healthy than in was 10 or 20 years ago.”

Saugeye are a hybrid fish produced at the Wildlife Department’s Byron Fish Hatchery in northcentral Oklahoma. Hatchery biologists collect native sauger from the Arkansas River in northeast Oklahoma and walleye from Canton Lake in northwest Oklahoma and then cross the two species to produce saugeye.

While not many anglers grew up fishing for the toothy saugeye, fishing techniques are easy to learn, according to Boxrucker.

“There’s very few fishermen who fish exclusively for saugeye, but it’s something that everyone should try,” Boxrucker said.

A white or chartreuse jig drifted or retrieved across a rocky point is a great way draw a strike from a saugeye.

“One of the best baits is a jig tipped with a worm, but you have to be on your toes, because saugeye have a very light bite that can sometimes be tricky to detect,” Boxrucker said.

Boxrucker suggested bank anglers try fishing for saugeye at Lake Thunderbird near the Hog Creek boat ramp when there is a north wind and Fisherman’s Point when there is a south wind. Those fishing from a boat might try the point at the Little Axe boat ramp, Sailboat Point, the old submerged road bed in Little Axe Cove, and the points on both sides of Clear Bay.

“Just remember to keep the wind in your face and fish along a rocky bank in the late evening and there is a good chance you could hook a saugeye,” Boxrucker said. “From around Christmas to Valentines Day is one of the best times of the year to catch saugeye, because they are actively feeding right now. In the summer months they retreat to deep water, but right now you can catch them from the bank.”

For more information about fishing in Oklahoma log on to wildlifedepartment.com or pick up a copy of the “2006 Oklahoma Fishing Guide.”



 Caption: Wildlife Department fisheries biologists recently released two saugeye, weighing in at more than 10 pounds each, in to Lake Thunderbird near Norman. The two big fish were collected and released during a research project examining the feeding habits of saugeye, bass and crappie. The current state record saugeye, a 9-pound, 14-ounce fish, was caught from Lake Thunderbird in 1992.

“Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine great read for hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts

         The January/February issue of “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine is now available and is the perfect gift for the hunter, angler or outdoor enthusiast in your family.

         The current issue includes a special section on the Department’s controlled hunts program.

         “The special section outlines odds for drawing hunts and offers tips on how you can possibly tip the odds a little your way next year when you apply,” said Nels Rodefeld, editor of “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine. “Those hunters who want to get every edge they can will not want to miss this article.”

         The magazine, published by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, features information on one of the state’s most unique features – playa lakes. The article details how these temporary wetlands on the High Plains benefit not only wildlife but also hunters, ranchers, farmers and bird watchers.

         Readers can learn more about the new and innovative Oklahoma Archery in the Schools program, which is incorporating archery into physical education at schools across the state.

         Also in the issue:

         Individual issues are $4 by mail and subscriptions for a full year are just $10. To obtain the January/February issue, mail a $4 (check, cash, money orders or cashiers check accepted) addressed to “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Subscriptions for one-year ($10), two-years ($18) or three-years ($25) 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


 Altus and Apache teams take top honors at the 5th annual FFA Sporting Clays Championship

                More than 400 students, parents and teachers attended the 5th annual Oklahoma Future Farmers of America (FFA) Sporting Clays Championship Jan. 11 at the Oklahoma Trap Association Gun Club near El Reno.

                “We had kids from every corner of the state. The event was a great success, it just seems to get bigger every year,” said Ed Cunnius, Shotgun Training Education Program (STEP) coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “There were some very talented young shooters in the competition.”

                High school juniors and seniors earned the right to attend the state championship by competing in FFA tournaments one in of the five districts around the state. Students participated both as teams and as individuals. Trap machines, engraved shotguns and shooting apparel will be presented to the winners at the state FFA convention held at the Cox Convention Center later this spring. 

                One of the goals of the STEP program is to encourage participation in shooting sports and hunting among kids and adults alike.  More than 400 school districts and hundreds of students are involved in this innovative school participation program.

                According to Cunnius, the FFA Shooting Sports Championship is a one-of-a-kind event.

                “There’s nothing else like this in the United States for the Future Farmers of America program. This started out as a pilot program, but has already exceeded our expectations. I’ve received calls from several other states wanting to know how they can duplicate what we have accomplished here,” Cunnius said. “It is so encouraging to see so many kids in this program, especially knowing that without this school participation program many of them may have never learned to shoot a shotgun. Now they have a safe hobby they can enjoy for the rest of their lives and have the ability to pass their skills and education on to future generations of sportsmen and women.”

                The FFA Sporting Clays Program would not have been possible without the support of the Wildlife Department, the Wildlife Conservation Commission and donations from several special organizations and private individuals who had a vision for the potential success of the program, said Cunnius. 

                “For example the National Rifle Association (NRA) Foundation, one of the first sponsors of the STEP program, has donated more than $40,000 to Oklahoma FFA chapters for their shooting sports program in the last two years alone,” Cunnius said.

                The Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International has also been a strong supporter of the program.

                “The Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International donated a very nice trailer to the STEP program which allows us to take equipment to schools and events all around the state,” he said.

Cunnius added that a private individual made a $5,000 donation to the Oklahoma FFA Foundation which was used to provide awards for top scoring teams and individuals at the state championship. Kendall Brashears, activity coordinator for the Oklahoma FFA Foundation, said that the introduction of the FFA Shooting Sports Program has been the best thing that's happened to the FFA program for a long time.

                Additionally, Dr. Gary and Suzie Rouse donated shooting safety glasses for the participants valued at $500.

                The Wildlife Department’s STEP program offers seminars free of charge for groups of 25 or more people. Guns, ammunition and targets are provided through the program and there is a different seminar for every skill level. The STEP program has seven trailers located statewide fully equipped to conduct shooting seminars. 

                “We have 105 certified instructors made up of Wildlife Department personnel dedicated to promoting gun safety, hunter ethics and sportsmanship.  Their effort is the key to success for the program in which over 80,000 citizens have learned new or improved shooting skills and safety awareness,” Cunnius said.

                For more information about the STEP program log on to wildlifedepartment.com

               Following are the winning teams and individuals for the 2006 FFA Sporting Clays Championship.


Jr. Teams

     Sr. Teams

1st Place          Apache
Montana Medemann
Talon Upton
Aaron Austin

1st Place          Altus
Evan Coppock                       
Kimothy Smith                                                                      
Chance Worrell

2nd Place        Liberty
Austin Cummins
Kasey Moore
R.L. Moore

2nd Place        Canute                                                            
Matt Luttmer                                                                         
Chase Dixon                                                                          
Cade Adams                                                              

3rd Place    Calera
Jerry Williams
Eli Young
Tylor Hult

3rd Place         Arnett
Clay Jennings
Jon Mann  
Matt Whitson                                                                                                

4th Place         Dickson
Caleb Ford
Tray Hale
Jarod Marsh

4th Place         Thomas-Fay-Custer
Cole Pickens 
Colby Payne
Chase Didier

5th Place        Colbert  ( Tied)  

Chris Nichols                        
Colton Stout
William Booth


David Taylor
Tyler Smith
Chandler Stringer

5th Place     Stilwell                                    

Parker Whitely
Colt Ketcher
Erin Hamilton    





 Jr. Individuals

1st Place          Tony Glasgow – Macomb
2nd Place        Randy Bean – Broken Bow
3rd Place         David Tayler – Temple
4th Place         Michael Scantting – Heavener
5th Place         Cody Riggins – Welch

  Sr. Individuals

1st Place          Parker Whitely – Stilwell
2nd Place        Blake Hargrove – Prague
3rd Place         Roy Ratcliff – Caddo
4th Place         Steven Warrior – Warner
5th Place         Kaleb Fancher – Hollis



Habitat equipment available for landowners

                Landowners seeking ways to improve wildlife habitat on their property this winter should contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Department has two tree spades and one roller chopper that are available for landowners to use for wildlife habitat enhancement projects. The equipment is available for a small rental fee used for annual maintenance costs.

                “This is the perfect time of year to use both pieces of equipment,” said John Hendrix, private lands biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Taking the time to improve wildlife habitat now will pay dividends for years to come.”

 The tree spade, used for transplanting trees and shrubs, can be used on riparian habitat projects, to establish turkey roost sites and to create shrub thickets for quail and small game. Much faster than hand-planting individual tree seedlings, the tree spade is ideal for moving shrubs like sand plum or sumac and trees up to four inches in diameter. Landowners renting this equipment will be provided an operator to run the machine.

                Roller choppers are large drums with a series of mounted blades.  Pulled behind a tractor the roller choppers, chop and crush brush, small trees, and heavy plant growth. They also disturb the soil and allow sunlight and rain to reach the surface and encourage the growth of more desirable plants. A wide range of wildlife can benefit from this practice including quail, deer and turkeys. Landowners wanting to rent the roller chopper must have access to a tractor with at least 80 hp that is required to pull the machine.

The rental process is a cooperative project between the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. One tree spade is located at the Kingfisher County Conservation District office and the other tree spade and roller chopper is located at the Woodward Conservation District office. A wildlife biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will complete an on site visit on the property prior to equipment rental.

Landowners who may be interested in using this equipment and would like additional information can contact Wildlife Department Private Lands Biologist John Hendrix, at (405) 880-0994.



Caption: Pulled behind a tractor, roller choppers crush and chop brush, small trees, and heavy plant growth. They also disturb the soil and allow sunlight and rain to reach the surface and encourage the growth of more desirable plants. A wide range of wildlife can benefit from this practice including quail, deer and turkeys.


Caption: The tree spade, used for transplanting trees and shrubs, can be used on riparian habitat projects, establishing turkey roost sites, and to create shrub thickets for quail and small game. Landowners renting this equipment will be provided an operator to run the machine.


Rabbit season open through March 15

                Many hunters wait all year for hunting season to arrive, but in a flurry deer hunts scheduled in between holiday gatherings - it’s over before they know it. While Oklahoma deer seasons may have come to an official close there is no reason to put your hunting equipment away quite yet.

                Rabbit hunting season will continue until March 15 offering hunters ample opportunities spend additional days in the field with friends or family.

                According to Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, small game hunting is a great way to introduce a new hunter to the sport.

                “Most of us hunters ‘cut our teeth’ on rabbit and squirrel hunting and there is a good reason for that – it’s fun, it’s often fast-paced and finding a hunting spot is relatively easy,” Meek said. “It’s also a great way to learn the basics of hunting safety.”

                According to Meek, one of the best things about small game hunting is the availability of hunting locations. Many wildlife management areas scattered around the state offer first-rate hunting with minimal competition.

                Rabbit hunting is also a good way to encourage former hunters back into the sport.

                “Take a friend or family member on a good rabbit hunt on a nice day and they will wonder why they ever stopped hunting in the first place. Who knows you might get a new hunting buddy out of it,” Meek said.

                Whether hunters take a shotgun or a .22 rifle to the field, a streaking rabbit can offer a challenge for even the most skilled sportsmen. Squirrel season runs through Jan. 31.

                To hunt rabbit and squirrels in Oklahoma, all you need is a resident or non-resident hunting license. Hunters 15 and under can hunt squirrels without a license. For a complete list of squirrel hunting regulations consult the “2005-06 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or log on to the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.



"2006 Oklahoma Fishing Guides” now available

    The “2006 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” will soon be hitting the shelves of fishing and hunting license dealers across the state.

    The easy-to-use guide provides much more than just fishing regulations. The following are a few examples of the wealth of information available in the guide:

  • A Sportfish of Oklahoma chart featured on pages 20-21 highlights the best bait choices, prime feeding times and key fishing areas for common fish species.
  • Each of Oklahoma's state designated trout areas also are outlined in the new guide beginning of page 22. Maps, and trout fishing tips are provided to help anglers enjoy greater success.
  • Lucky fishermen who reel in a real whopper should turn to page 28 to learn how to certify a potential state record fish.
  • On page 30 anglers can find contact information for many Oklahoma lakes.
  • Anglers can find out where to try an afternoon of fishing in an enclosed fishing dock on page 32.
  •     Sporting goods stores aren’t the only place to find the guides. Anglers who want to immediately view or download a copy of the “2006 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” can log on to wildlifedepartment.com. 



    Fur auctions to be held in Okmulgee and Perry

    Hunters and trappers will have a chance to sell their harvested furs at a pair of upcoming auctions hosted by the First Oklahoma Trappers and Predator Callers Association.

    The auctions will be held Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Noble County Fairgrounds in Perry and Saturday, March 4 at the Okmulgee Fairgrounds in Okmulgee. Both events will begin 9 a.m.

    "We always have a good time at these auctions,” said Bill Jackson with the First Oklahoma Trappers and Predator Callers Association. “The events are a great place to visit with old friends and make new ones. And of course the auctions are one of the best places to come and get a good, fair price for your furs."

    To participate in the auction, sellers must have a current Oklahoma trapping and hunting license. Sellers must also be members of the First Oklahoma Trappers and Predator Callers Assoc. Furs may be stretched and dried or "green." All bobcat pelts must be affixed with an export tag before they can be sold or shipped. Personnel from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be present to provide tags, if necessary. Individuals selling furs at the March 4 auction should consult the "2005-06 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" regarding possessing pelts after the close of the furbearer season.

    In addition, sellers who bring furs that belong to another person must possess that person's hunting and trapping license, as well as a letter signed by that person authorizing them to sell his or her fur.

    Likewise, fur buyers are required to possess an Oklahoma fur buyer's permit in order to purchase unprocessed fur. For more information, contact Bill Jackson at (918) 336-8154.



    “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine seeking reader’s photos

    “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine is now accepting photos for their annual Readers' Photography Showcase.

    "One of the great things about the annual Readers' Photography Showcase is the great variety of images we receive, from a scenic sunset, to a close-up of an insect, to a flock of turkeys - but we especially enjoy those images of hunters and anglers in the field," said Nels Rodefeld, “Outdoor Oklahoma” editor.

    The special issue offers a great chance for photographers, either professional or amateur, to display their color slides, prints or digital photos in a magazine that consistently receives national recognition for its photographic excellence. Hopeful photographers have until March 17 to submit their best shots.

    According to Rodefeld, the magazine has been featuring a growing number of digital images over the past few years.

    “We have received many outstanding digital images the past two or three years, in fact the cover of last years Reader’s Photo Showcase was a digital submission. Unfortunately, many digital photos that we receive will not print well due to their small image size,” Rodefeld said.

    A good rule of thumb is that an image should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) and the canvas size should be about 8 inches by 11 inches.

    The photographer's name, address and phone number need to be printed on each slide using a fine point pen or rubber stamp. Slides should not be encased in glass.

    Each participant may submit up to five images and all entries will be returned undamaged. Each submission should include a description of the photo including location taken, camera used, names of subjects and what it took to get just the right shot.

    Photographers can mail their submission to Paul Moore, Photo Editor, “Outdoor Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

    Individuals can subscribe to “Outdoor Oklahoma,” on the universal license form wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold; or via credit card by calling 1-800-777-0019. Subscriptions are just $10 for one year, $18 for two years, or $25 for three years. You can also subscribe over the Internet by logging on to the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.


    Turn in your winter bird survey results
        Don’t forget to submit your winter bird survey results if you watched and recorded the birds during the Jan. 12 – Jan. 15 survey period. Save a stamp and enter your results online at www.wildlifedepartment.com by Feb. 6.
        State biologists are eager to learn what participants saw. Look to read about those results in the Nov/Dec issue of “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine and the winter edition of “The Wild Side” newsletter.