AUGUST 2006 
NEWS RELEASES
 

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 31, 2006

WEEK OF AUGUST 24, 2006

WEEK OF AUGUST 17, 2006

WEEK OF AUGUST 10, 2006

WEEK OF AUGUST 3, 2006

New activities featured at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo

                If you thought last year’s Wildlife Expo was big, just wait until you see what the Wildlife Department has in store this year. The second annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, to be held Aug. 25-27, will feature more than 200 hands-on activities, including many brand new attractions.

                “Last year’s event was great for families and with all the new activities available, I am confident this year’s Wildlife Expo will be even better,” said Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and one of the 236 Department employees working on the event. “Best of all, every one of these activities is absolutely free and you can register to win great Expo prizes at wildlifedepartment.com.”

Once again the Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Here is a look at a sampling of the new activities available at the 2006 Wildlife Expo.

     Calls of the Wild - Featured on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, Ralph Duren can make 135 different animal sounds with just his mouth. His enthusiasm for the outdoors is contagious, his skills are amazing and his seminar is one you won't want to miss.  

     Kids in camo - Dress up your future hunter in their cutest camouflage outfits and enter the Cutest Kids in Camo Contest to be held Saturday morning.

     Noodling Tub - See huge flathead catfish up close and watch a live noodling (hand fishing) demonstration.

     Scuba adventures - Try on the latest scuba gear and enter to win two free scuba diving lessons.

     Wild flavors - Michael Fusco enjoys hunting and fishing and specializes in preparing wild game and fresh fish. He is also skilled in pastry arts, and is considered one of Tulsa’s premiere chefs. He will hold several seminars throughout the Expo demonstrating innovative methods for preparing mouthwatering meals of wild game.

     Jon McGrath, a 13-year old skeet shooting phenom, will be at the Expo to visit with shooters, both old and young alike. McGrath is the youngest person to be named Captain of the All America Skeet Shooting Team and last year he won three gold medals at the Junior World Skeet Shooting Championship.

 

                The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host this huge event. The Expo is designed to promote and perpetuate the appreciation of Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.

                 The Expo is designed as an entertaining and educational event for both avid outdoor enthusiasts and those new to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Every visitor will be sure to find something that interests them, from live butterflies, to mountain bike riding, to dog training, to sampling wild game.

                 The Wildlife Expo will take place Aug. 25-27 on the expansive grounds of the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

To register for great Expo prizes or for more information regarding activities available at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

-30-

 

 

New hunting regulations to hit the shelves

                Hot temperatures and dry weather have many hunters daydreaming about crisp fall mornings in the woods. Just in time, the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” has been printed and copies will soon be arriving at hunting license vendors across the state.                There have been several changes to the hunting regulations designed to increase hunter opportunity and help better manage the state’s rich and diverse natural resources. Here are a few of the highlights:

                •  Turkey hunters are no longer restricted to harvesting only one tom turkey per day during the spring season.

                •  A new Youth Spring Turkey Season has been established. Turkeys taken during the youth season are not considered bonus and count toward county, wildlife management area and regular spring turkey statewide limits.

                •  The required number of hours for hunter education classes has been reduced from 10 hours to eight hours.

                •  Limited red fox hunting and trapping is now allowed.

                •  Raccoon daily and season limits have been increased.

                •  The $5 rattlesnake hunting permits will now also be available on-site at selected rattlesnake round-up festivals.

                •  Effective Nov. 1, 2006, permission to hunt or fish on private lands shall be presumed to be valid for not more than one year, unless the owner, lessee, or occupant specifically grants consent for a specified period of time.

                •  Antelope hunting opportunities have increased in Cimarron and Texas counties. Anyone hunting in these areas (during antelope season) should be aware of hunter orange and firearm requirements.

            For complete information about license costs, season dates, zones and other details about the upcoming hunting seasons log on to wildlifedepartment.com or consult the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available at hunting license vendors across the state.

 

-30-

 

 

 

Department to hold vehicle auction

         Are you in the market for a used vehicle? If so, you will want to head out to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s public vehicle auction. It will be held Thursday, Aug 17, at 6 p.m. at the Department’s headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City.

         “We have a good variety of Ford and Chevrolet trucks. All of them are four-wheel drive and many of them are extended cab models,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”

         A total of 26 vehicles will be available at the event, including several ton Chevrolet trucks, a 2002 Chevrolet one-ton dually truck, two 1999 Chevrolet Tahoes and a 1996 Dodge Caravan.

          For more information about the auction call (405) 521-4600 or for a complete list of auction vehicles, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 6:00 p.m. and items may be inspected from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.  the day of the sale.

 

-30-

 

 

Wildlife Department offers more hunter education classes

                Completing a hunter education course is now more convenient than ever. Not only are there more classes available, they are even easier to find than in previous years.

                “This year we have more classes in more locations than ever before. We’ve also listed most of the classes in the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The hunter education courses have also been adjusted to allow students to complete a course in eight hours rather than 10.”

                Approximately 14,000 hunter education students are certified annually at more than 300 courses statewide. To find out more about the hunter education program or to find a course near you, log on wildlifedepartment.com or look in the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” available at license vendors across the state.

                 A set of unique home-study hunter education classes will be offered for aspiring hunters, Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27, at the free Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City. Each day, one lucky participant will win a lifetime hunting license.

                “We had a great time last year at Expo hunter ed course. It’s really a fun way for the whole family to go through the course and you won’t find a more flexible, hands-on hunter ed class,” Meek said.

                To sign up for this course call (405) 521-4636 and be prepared to provide your name, address, and date of birth. Before you come to the Wildlife Expo, be sure to complete the online home study course at wildlifedepartment.com. You can also pick up home study booklets at Wildlife Department offices in Oklahoma City, Jenks, or Higgins. Booklets are also available at the Midwest City Library, Oklahoma City Bass Pro Shop, Sportsmen’s Warehouse and the H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City.

                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 in order to use a firearm to hunt big game (deer, elk or antelope).

 

-30-

 

 Wildlife Commission sets waterfowl dates, honors conservation supporters

                The Wildlife Conservation Commission has set the dates and bag limits for Oklahoma's upcoming waterfowl season and waterfowl hunters across the state can look forward to another productive year.

                Duck season dates and daily limits will be similar to last year, with most of the state enjoying a six-bird daily limit and 74-day season with a 12-day mid-season closure.

                “Biologists are reporting excellent duck reproduction in Canada, however, in Oklahoma our waterfowl season is always dependent on the weather and right now we really need to see some good, timely rains across the state,” Mike O’Meilia , migratory game bird biologist said. “Right now there are good stands of wetland plants around the lakes and in the marshes, but what we really need is steady rains to flood these food sources for the ducks in October and early November.”

                To see the complete season dates and bag limits log on to wildlifedepartment.com.        

                Also at the August meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Commission honored Robert L. Hutchins for his lifetime of achievement in wildlife conservation. The 86-year old Hutchins has worked tirelessly in his support of a wide variety of organizations and agencies working to improve habitat and increase youth hunting opportunities in Oklahoma and across the nation.

                Hutchins, often known as "Mr. Duck," provided leadership and served the state’s sportsmen and women when he was appointed to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1993.

                He played an integral role on the Ducks Unlimited's Marsh Committee which supported work on wetlands across southwest Oklahoma including Hackberry Flat, Waurika, and Mt. Park wildlife management areas.  He was instrumental in proposing and implementing a Wetland Development Area at Lake Ellsworth. He was also honored by the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation as the 1986 "Conservationist of the Year.”

                In other business, the Commission accepted a $6,000 donation from the National Rifle Association (NRA) Foundation. The funds will go towards a pair of important Wildlife Department outreach efforts, the Wildlife Expo ($5,000) and the Wildlife Youth Camp ($1,000).

                "The NRA Foundation has a long history of supporting youth shooting sports in Oklahoma and we are proud to partner with the Wildlife Department once again on these two worthy efforts," said Darrin Delong, NRA field representative.

                Through banquets and other fund-raising events the NRA Foundation has raised $1.2 million for shooting sports programs in Oklahoma since 1995, including the Wildlife Department’s Shotgun Training Education Program (STEP) which introduces thousands of Oklahoma youth and adults to shotgun shooting each year.

                In other business, the Commission recognized four citizens for their enthusiastic and dedicated support of a federal program called State Wildlife Grants. Hal McKnight, owner of Wheeler Dealer Bicycles in Oklahoma City; Blake Hollingsworth, an Ardmore banker; and Andy McDaniels and Rick Matheny, both with the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation, traveled to Washington, D.C. last March to speak with Oklahoma’s elected officials about conservation work in Oklahoma. Specifically, the group voiced their support of Oklahoma’s Wildlife Action Plan and the State Wildlife Grants program, which is designed to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered by conserving rare and declining wildlife species.

                “Many of our elected officials share our passion for Oklahoma’s land, water and wildlife and it’s important that we as individuals express how important this program is to the people of Oklahoma and to our wildlife,” McKnight told the Commission.

                State Wildlife Grants use federal dollars on early, preventive wildlife conservation efforts at the state level. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation receives Oklahoma’s portion of the funding, which is matched by state and partner dollars. For more information about the State Wildlife Grants program, visit www.teaming.com.

                In other business, the Commission recognized Sam Barrick for his support of the Wildlife Department’s law enforcement efforts. He, along with several others from Carter and Love counties, made a donation to the Wildlife Department which was used to purchase a variety of law enforcement equipment.

                The Commission also recognized two Department employees for their outstanding service to the sportsmen of the state. Employees recognized were:

• Richard Hoar, senior wildlife biologist in northeast Oklahoma, for 30 years of service;

• Keith Thomas, fisheries technician at the Oklahoma Fisheries Research Laboratory in Norman, for 20 years of service.

                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.

 

-30-

 

Heat, drought combine to cause fish kill at Great Salt Plains Lake

High temperatures and prolonged drought led to a major fish kill at Great Salt Plains Lake in northcentral Oklahoma this week. Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation estimate 10,000 fish have died due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the lake.

                “This is a major fish kill and it reflects how this abnormal weather not only affects farmers and ranchers, but it also affects our lakes and our fisheries resources,” said Barry Bolton, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We are monitoring the situation closely. Unfortunately, there is simply not anything we can do to remedy high heat and lack of rain.”

                According to Bolton, Great Salt Plains is a relatively shallow reservoir making it particularly susceptible to warm water temperatures.

                “What we really need is some rain, cooler temperatures or strong winds - unfortunately none of these conditions are in the short-term forecast and there is a real concern that this situation could get worse before it gets better,” Bolton said. “However, nature is very resilient and long term outlook remains positive. We will continue to monitor the situation and we will adjust our management efforts, such as stocking, in the future if that is appropriate.”

There have been no other fish kills reported in other state reservoirs.

                For more information about fishing in Oklahoma log on to wildlifedepartment.com

 

-30-

 

 September 1 deadline for bonus youth deer hunts

                Beginning deer hunters have a unique opportunity to participate in four youth controlled antlerless deer hunts that will take place on private lands in several Oklahoma counties. Applications must be received at the Wildlife Department no later than 4 p.m., Friday, September 1.

                The hunts are scheduled for either October or January. This year 58 bonus antlerless deer gun licenses will be drawn for youth 12 to 16 years of age who have completed their hunter education requirements.

                "These hunts are on private property and should provide young hunters a great opportunity to see some deer as well as a chance to harvest a doe," said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has endorsed the youth hunt program and we are thankful for the landowners' willingness to allow these kids the opportunity to hunt on their property.”

                To apply for a hunt, applicants must send the Department a 4” by 6” index card in an envelope titled "Private Lands Youth Deer Hunts." The card should provide the hunter's name, date of birth, mailing address, telephone number, hunter education certification number, social security or driver’s license number, their order of hunt preferences (may list all 4 hunts) and lifetime license number if applicable. A non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old must accompany the youth, and must also be listed on the index card. The index card should be labeled “Private Lands Youth Deer Hunt” and should be mailed to: Department of Wildlife, Attn: Wildlife Division-Youth Deer Hunts, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.  
        Hunts will be offered in:

         Craig County (Oct. 8)

         Ellis County (Oct. 6-7)

         Osage County (Oct. 20-22)

         Alfalfa County (Jan. 13-14)

                The drawing will be held Sept. 7 and successful applicants will receive a notification letter in the mail about their hunt the following week. The letter will inform them of their selection and provide details about the hunt and license requirements. Selected resident youth will need to purchase a $10 Resident Youth Deer Gun License unless they possess an Oklahoma Resident Lifetime Hunting or Resident Lifetime Combination License. Selected nonresidents will need to purchase a $201.00 Nonresident Deer Gun License. The youth's non-hunting adult does not need a license. Any antlerless deer harvested during the controlled hunt will be considered a bonus deer and will not count against the youths’ combined season limit.
        For additional information concerning the hunts, contact the Department at (405) 521-2739.

 

-30- 

 

Generous seasons await waterfowl hunters

                Waterfowl hunters can now mark their calendars with all the important duck, goose and crane hunting season dates.

                Duck season dates and daily limits will be similar to last year, with most of the state enjoying a six-bird daily limit and 74-day season with a 12-day mid-season closure. The regulations were set by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission at their August meeting.

                “Biologists are reporting excellent duck reproduction in Canada, however, in Oklahoma our waterfowl season is always dependent on the weather and right now we really need to see some good, timely rains across the state,” Mike O’Meilia, migratory game bird biologist for the Wildlife Department said. “Right now there are good stands of wetland plants around the lakes and in the marshes, but what we really need is steady rains to flood these food sources for the ducks in October and early November.”  

                O’Meilia noted that Oklahoma, as a member of the Central Flyway, will be participating in the Hunter’s Choice trial over the next three years. Oklahoma is participating only as a control state, meaning Oklahoma hunters will not use the Hunter’s Choice bag limit. The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a new bag limit system designed to maintain maximum duck hunting opportunity.

                Hunter’s Choice sets up a separate category of ducks (pintails, canvasbacks and hen mallards). Hunters may take only one of the species that is listed in this aggregate, or combined category in the daily bag limit.

                Liberal season lengths, 74 days in the Central Flyway since 1997, combined with a long-term decline in pintails and scaup and a small continental population of canvasbacks have led flyway biologists to believe these species may need additional protection. For the past several hunting seasons, 39-day seasons within a season, have been used to limit the harvest of pintails and canvasbacks.
                “The Hunter’s Choice has the potential to have the same effect as seasons within seasons,” O’Meilia said, “and Hunter’s Choice may be more acceptable to hunters.”            

                Over the next three years, half of the 10  states in the Central Flyway, including Oklahoma, will maintain similar seasons as previous years, while the other five states will use the Hunter’s Choice bag limit. At the end of the trial, biologists will evaluate the effectiveness of the two bag limits and ask hunters which they prefer.

                For more information about Hunter’s Choice, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

                In zone 1 (most of northwest Oklahoma), the first half of the duck season will open Oct. 28 and run through Dec. 3, with the second half beginning Dec. 16 and running through Jan. 21, 2007.  Pintail and canvasback season will open Oct. 28 and run through Dec. 3, and then re-open on Dec. 16 and run through Dec. 17. Youth waterfowl hunting days in zone 1 will be Oct. 21 and 22.

                In zone 2, the duck season will run from Nov. 4 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 16 through Jan. 28, 2007. Pintail and canvasback season will open Dec. 21 and run through Jan. 28. Youth waterfowl hunting days in zone 2 will be Oct. 28 and 29. 

                Panhandle counties will offer the longest duck season. Opening Oct. 7 and running continuously through Jan. 4, 2007. Pintail and canvasback season will open Oct. 7 and run through Nov. 14. Youth waterfowl dates for the panhandle will be Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

                Hunters will be allowed a daily limit of six ducks combined, no more than five of which can be mallards. Of those, only two mallards may be hens. Only two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads may be included in the daily limit. There is a shortened season on pintails and canvasbacks with a daily limit of one pintail and one canvasback during the specified time period in each of the established duck seasons.

                The statewide Canada goose season will run from Nov. 4 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 16 through Feb. 18, 2007. The daily limit will be three birds.  The season for white-fronted geese will run Nov. 4 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 16 through Feb. 9, 2007.  The daily bag limit is one. The regular season for light geese (snows, blues and Ross’) will run Nov. 4 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 16 through Feb. 18. The daily bag limit is 20.

                Sandhill crane season will be from Oct. 28 – Jan. 28, west of I-35 only. The daily limit will be three birds.

                Hunters can log on to wildlifedepartment.com to check out the latest wetland status reports. Once the season begins, periodic

                Hunters who wish to participate in the waterfowl season must have a resident or non-resident hunting license, a 2006 Federal Duck Stamp, and unless exempt, a 2006 Oklahoma Waterfowl License, a Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit and a Harvest Information Program Permit. The federal duck stamp costs $15 and is available at U.S. Post Offices. Hunters pursuing sandhill cranes must also purchase a separate sandhill crane hunting permit.

                Hunters should consult the “2006-07 Waterfowl Hunting Guide” for complete hunting regulations and license requirements. Waterfowl Guides will be available by Oct. 1 at hunting and fishing license dealers statewide or hunters can obtain complete regulation information from the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

-30-

 

Vehicle auction scheduled for Aug. 17

                The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will sell 26 vehicles at a live auction Thursday, Aug 17, at 6 p.m. at the Department’s headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City.

                “The vehicles, mostly all 4X4 Ford and Chevrolet trucks, are vehicles that are being replaced in the agencies fleet,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”

                A total of 26 vehicles will be available at the event, including several ton Chevrolet trucks, a 2002 Chevrolet one-ton dually truck, two 1999 Chevrolet Tahoes and a 1996 Dodge Caravan.

                For more information about the auction call (405) 521-4600 or for a complete list of auction vehicles, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 6:00 p.m. and items may be inspected from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.  the day of the sale.

 

-30-

 

Wildlife Department seeks artists for waterfowl stamp design

            The Wildlife Department is accepting entries for the Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design competition. The deadline to submit art is 4:30 p.m., October 27.

            The redhead duck will be featured on the 2007 stamp and all artists must depict this species, and any habitat appearing in the design must be typical for the redhead in Oklahoma. The winning art will be printed on the 2007 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp, which is required of most waterfowl hunters.

            Duck stamp sales help finance many projects that benefit ducks and geese. Since the duck stamp program began in 1980, thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat have been created through duck stamp revenues.

            Artwork may be of acrylic, oil, watercolor, scratchboard, pencil, pen and ink, tempera or any other two-dimensional media. The illustration must be horizontal, 6 1/2 inches high and 9 inches wide. It must be matted with white mat board 9 inches high by 12 inches wide with the opening cut precisely 6 1/2-by-9. Artwork may not be framed or under glass, but acetate covering should be used to protect the art. For complete entry guidelines, call (405) 521-3856.

            Entries should be sent to the Duck Stamp Competition Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Fed Ex, UPS and other ground deliveries should be sent to 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

            Entries will be judged on anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for printing. The winner and three honorable mentions will appear in a future issue of “Outdoor Oklahoma” magazine.

            A non-refundable entry fee of $20 (cash, money order or cashier’s check) must accompany each entry. No entries will be accepted after 4:30 p.m., Oct. 27.

            The winning artist will receive a purchase award of $1,200 and 50 prints (special artist's proof editions) of the design if the Wildlife Department makes such a reproduction. The winning entry will become the sole and exclusive property of the Wildlife Department.

            For more information about the contest call (405) 521-3856.  

-30-

 

 

September 2-3 is Free Hunting Days in Oklahoma

            If you know of a friend, neighbor or family member who is interested in trying their hand at hunting, you won’t find a better opportunity to introduce them to the sport than the first weekend in September. September 2-3 marks Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days and Oklahoma residents do not need a hunting license to go afield.

            "The Free Hunting Days are designed to encourage folks to take a rookie hunter with them and we hope people do just that. Not only is it a great time to take a kid hunting, but it’s also a great time to introduce adults to our sporting heritage as well," said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

            "Both squirrel and dove seasons are open during the free hunting days and both species are plentiful around the state and offer sportsmen plenty of action during early September."

            For complete hunting regulations, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” at a sporting goods retailer near you. Or view the regulations at wildlifedepartment.com.

                                                           

-30-

 

Oklahoma’s sixth annual BioBlitz - Looking for diversity of life in your own backyard

            More than 100 of the region’s biologists, naturalists, and educators will race against the clock to collect and identify as many species as possible in a 24-hour period during this year’s BioBlitz Sept. 15 and 16 at Quartz Mountain Nature Park in Lone Wolf, Okla. To see all the action for yourself, visit Quartz Mountain’s Group Camp Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

            BioBlitz teams will search for the plants, mammals, birds, insects, fish, amphibians, and reptiles at Quartz Mountain and the Altus-Lugert Wildlife Management Area in southwest Oklahoma. Uncovering biological diversity, the number of different living things in the area, is the driving force behind the race.

            Ian Butler of the Oklahoma Biological Survey coordinates the event.

            “BioBlitz showcases the amazing diversity of species we have right here in Oklahoma,” Butler said. “You don’t have to go to South America to learn about biodiversity, there’s an impressive amount of life in your own backyard.”

            But it’s not always easy to see it. That’s where BioBlitz comes in.

            Base camp, located at Quartz Mountain’s Group Campsite, is the hub for all BioBlitz activity. It’s where biologists identify collected species, and the tally of discoveries grows with each passing hour.

            Butler invites everyone to visit base camp Saturday to see, touch, and learn about Oklahoma’s diverse wildlife.

            “Come meet the naturalists and biologists doing the inventory,” Butler said. “We’ll show you what we’re finding and how we’re doing it.”

            See all the tools of the trade at base camp.  Discover how to use a seining net and a Sherman trap - a device that captures small rodents. Additional activities and interpretive displays highlight Oklahoma’s species including owls, raccoons, plants, and snakes.

            Once a year the Oklahoma Biological Survey hosts BioBlitz, along with sponsors the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation, and the Oklahoma City Zoo.  It’s in a different part of the state each year.

            For complete BioBlitz details, visit www.quartzmountain.org/bioblitz1.html.

            You can become part of a BioBlitz survey team to help uncover Oklahoma’s diversity of life at BioBlitz 2006 Sept. 15 and 16 in Lone Wolf, Okla. Teams race from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. to collect and identify as many species as possible in the 24-hour period. Get a sign-up form and more information at www.quartzmountain.org/bioblitz1.html.  www.wildlifedepartment.com

 

-30-

 

 

Caption: Kids of all ages enjoy first hand encounters with local wildlife at BioBlitz, an annual event held in a different part of the state each year. Photo Credit: Oklahoma Biological Survey

 

Fisheries biologists report fish kill at Lake Texoma

            High temperatures and prolonged drought have led to another fish kill in Oklahoma – this time the kill occurred at Lake Texoma. Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation estimate several thousand fish have died due to low dissolved oxygen levels and high temperatures in a small area of the lake.

            “The fish kill has been limited to the Wilson Creek Cove area. This cove is very shallow and the water level is dropping every week. When you add in water temperatures as high as 96 degrees that is not a good combination for fish.  Eventually the dissolved oxygen reaches such a low level that a fish kill occurs,” said Paul Mauck, south central region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

            Earlier this month, fisheries biologists reported a major fish kill at Great Salt Plains Lake in north central Oklahoma. That fish kill was also brought on by high temperatures and drought.

            “We are monitoring the situation closely. Right now it looks like the fish kill in this particular area has run its course, but if we don’t get some rain or cooler weather soon it’s possible we could see fish kills in other areas of the lake,” Mauck said.

            For more information about fishing in Oklahoma log on to wildlifedepartment.com

 

-30-

 Dove season opens September 1

            Dove hunters have plenty to look forward to this year, especially those hunters who spend some time scouting before the Sept. 1 opener.

            “This could be a good year for dove hunters, but hunters may need to get out early and check their favorite spots. Overall this has been a dry, hot summer and that can change the food and water sources that dove use,” said Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Hunters who go out and key in on areas the birds are using will have the most successful hunts.”

            Dove season is one of the most highly anticipated hunting seasons in the state – and it is no wonder why. Dove not only offer first class wingshooting and fine tablefare, dove hunting is an easy sport to get started in. A shotgun, an ample supply of shells and a place to go is all you really need to have a great day of dove hunting.

            “Dove hunting is great opportunity for friends and families to get out and enjoy the outdoors together, particularly considering the fact that the opening weekend of dove season coincides with Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days,” Smith said.

            September 2-3 marks Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days and Oklahoma residents do not need a hunting license to go afield.

            Dove can be found from one corner of the state to the next, but hunters do not have to travel far to find dove. Cattle watering ponds on private lands can be excellent places to hunt dove, particularly during dry years. Additionally, excellent hunting can be found on some of the wildlife management areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. In fact some areas of those properties have been managed specifically for doves.

            To find out more about where wildlife management areas are in the state, log onto wildlifedepartment.com and check out the free digital wildlife management area atlas. In addition to detailed maps, sportsmen can find additional information such as camping locations and contact information for local biologists.

            For complete hunting license information and dove hunting regulations, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” at a sporting goods retailer near you or at wildlifedepartment.com.

 -30-

 

 

September 1 deadline for bonus youth deer hunts

            Nearly 60 kids will get a unique opportunity to go deer hunting on four controlled antlerless deer hunts this fall. Applications must be received at the Wildlife Department no later than 4 p.m., Friday, September 1.

            "One would be hard pressed to find a better opportunity for a young hunter to harvest a doe. There is no charge to enter and the hunts take place on private properties with good deer populations," said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has endorsed the youth hunt program and we are thankful for the landowners' willingness to allow these kids the opportunity to hunt on their property.”

            The hunts are scheduled for either October or January. This year 58 bonus antlerless deer gun licenses will be drawn for youth 12 to 16 years of age the day of the hunt who have completed their hunter education requirements.

            To apply for a hunt, applicants must send the Department an envelope with a 4” by 6” index card in an envelope titled "Private Lands Youth Deer Hunts." The card should provide the hunter's name, date of birth, mailing address, telephone number, hunter education certification number, social security or driver’s license number, their order of hunt preferences (may list all four hunts) and lifetime license number if applicable. A non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old must accompany the youth, and must also be listed on the index card. The index card should be labeled “Private Lands Youth Deer Hunt” and should be mailed to: Department of Wildlife, Attn: Wildlife Division-Youth Deer Hunts, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.  
        Hunts will be offered in:

            The drawing will be held Sept. 7 and successful applicants will receive a notification letter in the mail about their hunt the following week. The letter will inform them of their selection and provide details about the hunt and license requirements. Selected resident youth will need to purchase a $10 Resident Youth Deer Gun License unless they possess an Oklahoma Resident Lifetime Hunting or Resident Lifetime Combination License. Selected nonresidents will need to purchase a $201.00 Nonresident Deer Gun License. The youth's non-hunting adult does not need a license. Any antlerless deer harvested during the controlled hunt will be considered a bonus deer and will not count against the youths’ combined season limit.

            For additional information concerning the hunts, contact the Department at (405) 521-2739.

-30-

 

Hunter Education instructor of the year named

Joseph Newell, of Oklahoma City, was recently recognized as the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“It really inspires me to see a volunteer like Joe who has made hunter education part of his life.” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “He’s always willing to put forth extra effort to improve the program.”

Newell, who has been a volunteer in the program for five years, conducted 22 hunter education classes in 2005 certifying more than 225 students. Additionally, Newell developed a lesson plan for the hunter education home study course.  The course allows students to complete four of their required eight credit hours with an at-home workbook or an online workbook.

About 14,000 students were certified in Oklahoma last year.  Each of the state’s 77 counties provides at least two classes annually with additional courses offered depending on population concentration.  Classes are presented by Wildlife Department personnel and more than 200 volunteers.

Persons born on or after January 1, 1972, must complete a hunter education course in order to buy a hunting license. Oklahoma's certification is accepted in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. To view complete hunter education course listing log on to wildlifedepartment.com.         

Volunteer instructors are trained to coordinate and instruct hunter education classes and other events. The standard hunter education course runs eight hours in length and consists of a variety of segments including firearm safety, survival, wildlife conservation, archery, muzzleloading and sometimes live fire. Hunters wishing to pass on their heritage by becoming a hunter education instructor should contact Meek at (405) 522-4572.

 

-30-

 

 

Caption: Joseph Newell, of Oklahoma City, was recognized as the 2006 Hunter Education Instructor of the Year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

 

Second annual Wildlife Expo draws nearly 35,000 people

            Nearly 35,000 people participated in the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City last weekend.

            “It was fantastic to see so many Oklahoma families having a great time together at the Wildlife Expo,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who hosted the event.

            According to Duffy, the success of the second annual event shows the passion that Oklahomans share for the outdoors.

            “In Oklahoma we are blessed with so many different types of recreational opportunities and I think the Expo really showcased those activities from hunting and fishing, to mountain bike riding and bird watching,” Duffy said.

            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation hosted the huge event which featured more than 200 hands-on activities. A wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies also participated in the event which was designed to promote  the appreciation of Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor recreation. In addition, many Expo sponsors donated their time, manpower and financial resources to make the event an outstanding success. According to initial survey results, about 90 percent of Expo participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the Expo and said they attended the event with friends or family.

            The 2007 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo will be held Aug. 24-26 at the Lazy E Arena.

 

-30-

 Department schedules pre-employment exam

            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a standardized pre-employment examination Friday, Sept. 29, at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium at Rose State College.

            “If you have considered working for the Wildlife Department as a fisheries or wildlife biologist, technician, game warden, or hatchery manager, I would highly encourage you to take the test,” said Kyle Eastham, human resources administrator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “This is the required first step in our hiring process. If you don’t take the test you won’t be considered for the positions.”

         Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period, and test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date. Applications for employment will be sent to individuals with the top 25 scores. Taking the exam does not guarantee employment, nor does the exam necessarily indicate the Department currently has openings. Interviews will be scheduled only when an opening is available.

            “The rumor is that it’s hard to get a job with the Wildlife Department. And it is competitive, but I anticipate some retirements and promotions so we will be doing some hiring,” Eastham said.

            The exam will cover state and federal wildlife laws and regulations, fisheries and wildlife management, Oklahoma geography and biological and environmental sciences relating to fish and wildlife.

            The Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium is north of Interstate 40 at the intersection of I-40 and Hudiburg Rd. in Midwest City. The doors will close promptly at 10 a.m. Those arriving after 10 a.m. will not be permitted to take the exam. The free exam is open to anyone who meets the education requirements for the tested positions.

            For more information about the exam or hiring process, contact the Wildlife Department’s Human Resources office at (405) 521-4640 or check the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com/careers.htm.

 

-30-

 

 Teal and resident Canada goose seasons open Sept. 9

            Waterfowlers can soon get their first fix of duck and goose hunting action. Both the September teal and resident Canada goose seasons open statewide Sept.  9.

            Hunters can venture afield in t-shirts and jeans during the teal season which runs from  Sept. 9-24.  

“Bluewing and greenwing teal are the first ducks to migrate through Oklahoma each fall,” said Mike O’Meilia, migratory game bird  biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Biologists have reported very good teal breeding success in the northern prairies and  that means that more teal will be moving through Oklahoma this  Fall.”         

According to O’Meilia, teal prefer shallow water and rely on wetland vegetation and invertebrates to provide fuel for their long journey. Teal migration is triggered by decreasing day length as summer winds to a close.  Large migrations can occur as northern cool fronts occur with increasing frequency in September.

            As an added bonus, the resident goose season opens the same day as teal season.  Sportsmen in the right place could have the chance at bagging both the largest and smallest waterfowl species in Oklahoma, all in the same day. The resident  goose season closes Sept. 18.

            To participate in the September teal season or resident Canada goose season, you need a resident or non-resident  Oklahoma hunting license, an Oklahoma waterfowl hunting permit ($10) unless  exempt, a federal duck stamp ($15 available at U.S. Post Offices and some retail outlets like Wal-Mart), a Harvest  Information Program (HIP) permit ($3 or free at wildlifedepartment.com) and a  Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit ($5). For complete regulations, consult the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log onto  www.wildlifedepartment.com.

 

-30-