SEPTEMBER 2006 NEWS RELEASES
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 29, 2006
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21, 2006
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14, 2006
National Hunting and Fishing Days celebrates 35 years
Conservation-minded citizens across the United States will celebrate the 35th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day Sept. 23.
National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate conservation successes of hunters and anglers. The day was first established by joint Congressional resolution and signed by the president in 1972 to be held on the fourth Saturday in September.
President George W. Bush explained the important of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
“This year we will observe the 35th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day, and the celebration will be based at Wonders of Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri…The Museum is now working with the hunting and fishing industries, wildlife and conservation groups, shooting ranges, and rod and gun clubs around the country to promote the value of hunting and fishing in conservation, especially among our young people. I hope you will get involved in this worthy effort by taking part in one of the many family-oriented events that will occur nationwide,” President Bush said
Repeating this year as honorary chairman of National Hunting and Fishing Day is country music star Tracy Byrd.
“It was an honor and a natural fit for me to be the 2005 honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day. When I was asked to chair again in 2006, I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough. And, since we have a new home at Wonders of Wildlife, we’ll be able to bring even more recognition to our cause. This opens more doors and gives us another opportunity to help folks understand that without hunters and anglers, conservation couldn’t exist in our country,” Byrd explained.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is headquartered at Wonders of Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. Wonders of Wildlife is a 92,000 square foot museum and aquarium that opened in 2001 at a cost of over $52-million. Wonders of Wildlife is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and is a member of the Smithsonian Affiliates program.
For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day log on to nhfday.org.
Sept. 23 marks duck blind drawings
Drawings for permanent duck blinds on Fort Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls Waurika and W.D. Mayo lakes will take place Sept. 23. Anyone wanting a permanent blind permit must be 16 years of age and must be present at the drawings.
Applicants must have an Oklahoma hunting or combination license and a valid state waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp, unless they are exempt. Additionally, they need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit.
Schedule for Duck Blind Drawings:
Waurika Lake duck blinds
Date: Saturday September 23, 2006,
Time: 9 a.m.
Location of drawing: Corps of Engineers office at the dam at Waurika Lake
W.D. Mayo Lake duck blinds
Date: Saturday September 23, 2006
Time: 10 a.m.
Location of drawing: Spiro City Council Chamber, 510 South Main Street, Spiro (located at the south end of main street)
Fort Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls lakes duck blinds
Date: Saturday September 23, 2006
Location of drawing: Northeast Regional Office, 9097 W. 34th Street, Porter
7:00 am Register for Fort Gibson
8:00 am Drawing for Fort Gibson Lake
9:30 am Register for Eufaula Lake
10:30 am Drawing for Eufaula Lake
12:00 pm Register for Webber Falls
1:00 pm Drawing for Webber Falls
For more information about the duck blind drawings log on to the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com
Hunters urged to use caution in tree stands
The cooler weather has many state hunters looking up – up into the trees to be exact.
“Most deer hunters, especially bow hunters spend some time in a tree stand during the hunting seasons. Hunting out of a tree stand can be a fun and effective way to hunt deer, but we want to remind everyone to take a few safety precautions when using any elevated stand,” said Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Meek, along with state game wardens and volunteers spend their weekends conducting hunter education classes. At these clinics young and old students alike learn about safe gun handling, hunter ethics, wildlife identification - and tree stand safety.
“Hunting accidents are rare and the good news is that just about every tree stand accident can be prevented by following a few simple safety rules,” Meek said.
Meek offered the following rules for hunters:
Once you get into the stand, always wear a safety harness.
“Good safety harnesses only cost about $30 – and they will save your life,” Meek said.
Make sure your stand is attached securely.
“Whether it is a portable climbing stand or a ladder tree stand it is important to check and double check all the fittings and supports on your stand,” Meek said. “Hunters need to be especially careful with homemade tree stands. In fact, I would not recommend using one at all.”
Use a rope or haul line to raise and lower you bow or unloaded gun.
“When climbing up and down out of tree stand you need to be focused on the task at hand - not trying to hold on to your gun or bow at the same time. Using a haul rope will leave your hands free to climb the tree,” he said.
Be cautious when installing your tree stand.
“Wear your harness whenever possible and always have at least one person with you,” said Meek.
For a complete list of hunter education classes, sportsmen can call the Department's hunter education hotline 24 hours a day at (405) 521-4650 or log onto the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Hunters should pick up a copy of the "2006 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for complete information on hunting seasons and hunter education requirements.
Teachers and students eligible to win trips to Wyoming and New Mexico
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International (OSCSCI) are looking for Oklahoma’s top conservation minded students and teachers. Through a youth writing contest and teacher application process by these two organizations, several students and an educator will win a trip of a lifetime.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to express their love for the outdoors and at the same time have a chance to win an awesome outdoor trip,” said Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Winners in the 15-17 age category (one boy and one girl) will receive an all-expense-paid guided antelope hunt in New Mexico. Funding for the trips, including a full shoulder taxidermy mount of the youth’s harvested antelope will be provided by the Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International.
Students in the 11-14 age category are competing for an all expense paid trip to the Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. The Safari Club International’s Apprentice Hunters’ Program is a unique, hands-on experience which covers a wide range of topics including; the ethical basis of modern sport hunting, wildlife management, field identification, and wild game cooking. The Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International will provide travel reimbursements to attend the weeklong course.
The four statewide winners and their legal guardians will be invited to Oklahoma City to attend an awards ceremony in March. In addition, the top 25 essay entrants will receive a one-year youth membership to Safari Club International. The winning student essays will be published in the OSCSCI newsletter “Safari Trails.” Publication qualifies the winning entries for the National Youth Writing Contest sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Several past national winners have come from Oklahoma.
“Students aren’t the only ones eligible to win,” Berg added. “One educator will be awarded an all-expenses-paid scholarship for an eight-day conservation education school at Safari Club International’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) at Granite Ranch near Jackson, Wyoming.”
The AWLS program is conducted during the summer and presents an outdoor program for educators which concentrates on natural resource management. Participants learn about stream ecology, map and compass, language arts and creative writing in an outdoor setting, fly tying, shooting sports, wildlife management, the Yellowstone ecosystem, camping, white-water rafting, educational resources and how to implement outdoor education ideas. Lodging, meals and training materials will be provided by Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will cover transportation to Jackson, Wyoming.
Both the essay contest rules and teacher scholarship applications are available from the Department's Web site www.wildlifedepartment.com. Essays and applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 17, 2006, or delivered by 5 p.m. Nov. 17, 2006, in person to the Department of Wildlife’s Jenks Office at 201 Aquarium Drive, in Jenks. Address entries to: Essay Contest, Attn: Education Section Supervisor, ODWC Jenks Office, P.O. Box 1201, Jenks, OK 74037.
Wildlife Department seeks artists for waterfowl stamp design
The Wildlife Department is looking for redhead artists. Not red headed artists, but artists who can paint the diving redhead duck.
The redhead duck will be featured on the 2007 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp and the Wildlife Department is accepting entries for the stamp design competition. 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.
The deadline to submit art is 4:30 p.m., October 27. 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 entry will become the sole and exclusive property of the Wildlife Department.
For more information about the contest call (405) 521-3856.
Department pre-employment exam to be held Friday, Sept. 29
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.
“You may have heard that it’s hard to get a job with the Wildlife Department. And while it is competitive, I anticipate some retirements and promotions so there will likely be a number of openings in the coming year,” 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.
Biologists, hunters banking on second quail hatch
August roadside surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation show a statewide decrease of 55 percent over the 2005 survey. However, wildlife officials think a significant number of late nesting attempts could bring bird numbers back up to par by the time October counts are conducted.
“Results of the August survey generally don’t include quail produced from late nesting attempts, which typically peak in late August. But we know from field reports that there are lots of young birds out there,” said Doug Schoeling, upland bird biologist for the Wildlife Department. “The October counts should give us a better picture on this fall's quail population.”
The statewide quail index is down 33 percent from the previous 16-year average.
“Late summer rains have provided some short-term relief from the drought in the northern portions of the state, but we just don’t know yet how much these rains helped,” Schoeling said.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologists have conducted the roadside surveys during both August and October for the past 17 years. Observers count the number of quail seen to provide an index of quail abundance and reproductive success. There are 83 different 20-mile routes located throughout the state except for Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.
Running Nov. 11, 2006 - Feb.15, 2007, quail season is one of the most popular events in the state, drawing hunters from all over the nation to enjoy some of America's finest bird hunting. For complete August roadside survey data, log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com. Results from the October roadside surveys will be available in early November.
Opening day of deer archery season just days away
Coming off a near-record setting archery season last year, deer hunters are looking forward to the possibilities of another great bow season when hunters take to the woods October 1.
“Deer movement has begun to pick up over the last couple of weeks. Despite the drought conditions, the deer herd appears to be in good shape across most of the state,” said Mike Shaw, wildlife research supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “With the dry conditions we’ve been experiencing it will likely be more important than ever for deer hunters to spend time scouting this year.”
During the 2005 archery deer season, bowhunters harvested 14,624 whitetail deer, just 15 deer shy of the record set in 2004. The archery harvest was 14 percent of the total deer harvest.
“As a result of drought, deer may be moving more to find food and when deer are moving more it makes it them more visible,” said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “I’ve heard some hunters say that they think ag fields and producing acorn trees could be especially effective this year in hunting deer. In fact, I just talked to a hunter who was very excited because he had located an oak tree that was loaded with acorns and it was the only one around. Needless to say, he is expecting some great early season action.”
Running from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15, deer archery season offers more than 100 days of hunting. The first of Oklahoma's big game seasons, the archery deer season attracted 82,635 Oklahoma hunters last year.
As a bonus turkey archery season also opens on the same day as deer archery season. Hunters who purchase a fall turkey license will be ready to take advantage of the situation if a turkey happens to walk by their tree stand. Archers should remember that turkeys may not be hunted within 100 yards of bait.
With few exceptions, the majority of Oklahoma’s more than 75 public wildlife management areas are open to deer archery hunters for all or part of the season. For more information about the areas, log on to wildlifedepartment.com, where you can review regulations, view aerial maps, purchase a license and more.
Oklahomans must have an annual hunting or combination license, lifetime hunting or lifetime combination license, disabled veteran’s lifetime license, senior citizen hunting or senior citizen combination license or proof of exemption. In addition, hunters must possess a deer archery license for each deer hunted, or proof of exemption.
Unless exempt, hunters must also possess a fishing and hunting legacy permit.
All nonresident deer hunters must possess a nonresident deer archery license for each deer hunted or proof of exemption. Holders of nonresident lifetime hunting and lifetime combination licenses are not exempt from purchasing deer licenses. Nonresident deer hunters are exempt from purchasing an annual nonresident hunting license. Nonresident hunters must also possess a fishing and hunting legacy permit unless exempt.
Upon successfully harvesting a deer, all license holders, including lifetime license holders, must immediately attach their name and license number to the carcass. What the hunter attaches can be anything, as long as it contains the hunter's name and hunting license number and remains securely attached to the animal until it is checked at a hunter check station or with an authorized Wildlife Department employee.
Annual license holders, upon harvesting a deer, must complete the Record of Game section on the back of the universal license. The information must be recorded on the license form prior to moving or field dressing the animal. To do this they must tear out one of the notches on the license and print in ink the time, date, type of game and method of harvest on the notched line in the appropriate columns. Lifetime license holders are not required to complete the Record of Game section on the back of the universal license.
All successful hunters must check their deer at the nearest hunter check station. A county by county listing of hunter check stations is provided in this year's hunting guide and the most up-to-date check station listing is available at wildlifedepartment.com.
Hunting hours during deer archery season are one-half hour before official sunrise to one-half hour after official sunset.
For additional regulations, check station locations, season dates and a wealth of other information be sure to pick up a copy of the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" available at all license dealer locations or log on to the Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
Department to auction off surplus equipment including tractors, trucks and boats
Sportsman, farmers and auction enthusiasts will want to make plans to attend the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s surplus auction Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m. at Lake Burtschi near Chickasha.
“There’s something for everyone at this sale, from cameras to computer equipment to lawn mowers to larger items like farm equipment, vehicles and boats. I expect it will be one of our larger sales in recent years,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the first item will sell at 9:00. We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”
More than 150 items will be available at the auction, including ATVs, boat motors and tires. For those looking for smaller items, there is also plenty to choose from including, spotting scopes, office supplies, computer hardware, and much more.
“We encourage folks to attend because it’s not only a chance to pick up some good buys, it’s a chance to support the Wildlife Department through your auction purchases,” Hill added.
For more information about the auction call (405) 521-4600. Pictures and a complete list of auction items will be available at wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 9 a.m. at the Lake Burtschi Wildlife Department office, located 11 miles west of Chickasha on SH 92. Items may be inspected Oct. 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In case of rain, the sale will be held Oct. 8, same time and same place.
Wildlife Department accepts donation of six-wheeled utility vehicle
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently accepted a six-wheeled Polaris Ranger utility vehicle from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc. The Wildlife Department was awarded the vehicle through the companies Operation Ranger program.
“It is one of our company’s core values that we seek to give back to the communities in which our employees live and we do business,” said James Macias, division manager of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands. “Our Operation Ranger program exists both to recognize the service of our nation’s first responders and to provide a versatile vehicle that will enhance emergency response at a community level.”
The vehicle will be used primarily in law enforcement efforts in central Oklahoma, but it will also be used by game wardens and biologists around the state.
“The Wildlife Department plans to use its new Polaris Ranger for wildlife law enforcement, environmental crime investigation and off-road search and rescue,” said David Deckard, law enforcement training coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The Wildlife Department must be prepared for a wide variety of scenarios and this vehicle will help improve our response time immensely.”
For more information about the Wildlife Department log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Rabbit season opens Oct. 1
As the mornings grow cooler and the days grow shorter, hunters across the state are anxious to head to the fields and to the woods. Just in time, rabbit season opens Oct. 1 across Oklahoma.
“Rabbit hunting is a lot of fun for young and old hunters alike. And it’s a great opportunity to teach youngsters the basics of hunting and hunter safety,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The great thing about rabbit hunting is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. Basically, all you need is a shotgun and a place to go.”
Healthy cottontail rabbit populations can be found across the state, including many public-hunting areas. One of the best places to look for rabbits is anywhere two types of cover meet such as abandoned homesteads, tangled thickets and fencerows.
One of the best aspects about rabbit hunting is the availability of hunting locations. Many wildlife management areas scattered around the state offer first-rate rabbit hunting with minimal competition. Additionally, many landowners are willing to give permission to rabbit hunters.
Hunters are reminded that jackrabbits can only be taken west of I-35, and anyone hunting rabbits should pick up a copy of the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" to learn about license requirements, daily limits and all the other regulations pertaining to rabbit hunting.
Red River Quail Symposium to focus on habitat management
Hunters and landowners who are interested in improving bobwhite quail habitat, or those who just enjoy pursing bobwhites should make plans to attend the Red River Quail Symposium slated Oct. 11-13, just south of Lawton near Wichita Falls, Texas.
The symposium is a great opportunity for landowners, managers and those who are interested in quail to gain a better understanding of quail and lease management, said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service wildlife specialist.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with Oklahoma State University and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to coordinate the conference.
“The symposium will provide them with information regarding quail leases, management of habitat, integration of quail management into cattle operations and cost-share programs,” Elmore said.
Elmore said exhibitors will be on hand to showcase products and services related to agriculture and wildlife.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this symposium. Participants will go home with a lot of valuable information and they’ll be able to look at beneficial plants and discuss management actions with experts in the field,” he said.
The first day of the event will take place in Henrietta, Texas, and include a tour of the Birdwell and Clark Ranch, as well as a presentation on management innovation. Wichita Falls, Texas, is the site activities on the second day. Topics up for discussion include grasses and grazing, brush management, economic impacts of hunting, incentives and resources for habitat management, state regulations, bag limits and quail cooperatives. The final day of the symposium takes place in Archer City, Texas, and includes a tour of the Harvey Ranch, along with presentations regarding supplemental feeding, habitat management, food plots, cost-shared conservation practices, hunter-covey interface and pricing a quail lease.
“This is a great chance for those interested in quail to interact directly with researchers and managers who work with bobwhites,” Elmore said.
Registration is $75. Registration forms and payment may be mailed to Red River Quail Symposium, Texas Wildlife Association, 2800 NW Loop 410, Ste. 105, San Antonio, TX 78218. Registration forms may be downloaded at http://www.texas-wildlife.org.
For more information, contact Elmore at (405) 744-9636.
For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Wildlife Department tractors, trucks and boats to be sold at auction
In the market for a used boat? How about a used truck or an ATV? All these items will be sold at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s surplus auction Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m. at Lake Burtschi near Chickasha.
“We’ve got a little bit of everything at this sale including cameras computers, lawn mowers, tractors, vehicles and boats. I expect it will be one of our larger sales in recent years,” said Johnny Hill, property manager for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the first item will sell at 9:00. We’re going to sell everything as is to the highest bidder.”
More than 150 items will be available at the auction, including ATVs, boat motors and tires. For those looking for smaller items, there is also plenty to choose from including, office supplies, computer hardware, and much more.
“We encourage folks to attend because it’s not only a chance to pick up some good buys, it’s a chance to support the Wildlife Department through your auction purchases,” Hill added.
For more information about the auction call
(405) 521-4600. Pictures and a complete list of auction items will be available
at wildlifedepartment.com. The sale will start promptly at 9 a.m. at the Lake
Burtschi Wildlife Department office, located 11 miles west of Chickasha on SH
92. Items may be inspected Oct. 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In case of rain,
the sale will be held Oct. 8, same time and same place.