WEEK OF JANUARY 22, 2009  





Archers can now hunt bucks until Jan. 15
            Late season archery hunters have until Jan. 15 to hunt deer, and new this season is an opportunity to harvest an antlered deer Jan. 1-15, a period that previously limited hunters to antlerless deer hunting only.
            “This is an exciting time for archery hunters because many of them may not realize they can now harvest a buck during the Jan. 1-15 portion of archery season,” said Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Deer are really focusing on food sources now, so that can help archers pattern deer.”
            Along with the additional buck hunting days comes a change to the archery season harvest limit. Hunters can now harvest their full combined season limit of six deer during archery season, of which no more than two may be antlered deer.
            Other increased archery hunting opportunities have been added in recent years as well, such as one added in 2003 that removed the closure of archery season during deer gun season. Before that, hunters could harvest deer with a bow during deer gun season, but they had to purchase a deer gun license before hunting.  
            To hunt deer Jan. 1-15, 2009, all hunters must possess a valid 2009 hunting license and legacy permit as well as a 2009 deer archery license for each deer hunted, unless otherwise exempt. These annual licenses are valid from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Deer taken Jan. 1-15, 2009 count toward a hunter’s 2008 combined season limit.
            To learn more about deer hunting in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com or consult a copy of the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”
H&H Gun Range to host free hunter education instructor workshops
            Sportsmen who want to pass on the tradition of hunting have an opportunity to educate the next generation of hunters.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has announced the dates for its 2009 hunter education workshops to be held free of charge at H&H Gun Range Shooting Sports Outlet in Oklahoma City.
             “Volunteer instructors are crucial to the success of our hunter education classes statewide,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “We also rely heavily on our partners like H&H.  We couldn’t get hunter education done without the involvement of our community.”
            Miles Hall, founder of H&H Gun Range Shooting Sports Outlet, looks forward to hosting the workshops and adding to the number of Oklahoma hunters.
            “Having helped teach thousands of hunters in the past, we’re looking to build our base of instructors in anticipation of teaching thousands more,” Hall said.
            Volunteer instructors teach and assist in numerous classes throughout the state each year, making hunter education more readily available for more Oklahomans. Volunteers help set up and teach classes, assist other instructors and represent the Wildlife Department and sportsmen of the state.
            Annually, the Wildlife Department certifies approximately 15,000 new sportsmen and women to enjoy Oklahoma’s great hunting opportunities.
            According to Meek, the most important quality for a volunteer instructor is to be a safe and ethical hunter, but there are also a few steps to becoming certified, such as attending a workshop and receiving a background check.
            “Now is a good time of the year to start the process of becoming a hunter education instructor,” Meek said. “There is plenty of time to work through the process of becoming an instructor before our busiest time of year in the Fall, and there is time to gain confidence and learn everything you need to know to teach hunter education.”
            Workshops are scheduled for Feb. 7, June 13, Aug. 8, and Dec. 12, 2009, at H&H Gun Range, located at the I-40 and Meridian area in Oklahoma City (400 S. Vermont, Suite 110).
            For more information about hunter education in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Trout angling offers cure for cabin fever
            Despite some especially cold days during December that brought single digit temperatures to parts of the state, Oklahoma also has been experiencing periods of unseasonably warm weather, driving sportsmen to break their cabin fever and head for the outdoors. Trout angling at one of Oklahoma’s eight designated trout waters may be just the cure for too much time spent inside.
            Matt Gamble, south central region fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said he noted heavy trout angling activity after the season first started Nov. 1 where he is stationed at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. He said he also expects activity to continue picking up.
            “Wintertime trout fishing really offers Oklahomans a unique outdoor getaway,” Gamble said. “Trout do well in Oklahoma waters and really make for an exciting way to fish. They put up a good fight, and both kids and adults enjoy the challenge.”
            According to Gamble, good weather is a plus as well.
            “When you get a really nice winter day like we have been having lately, trout fishing just doesn’t get much better or more fun.”
            Wintertime trout fishing is available from Nov. 1 through March 31 at Blue River PF&HA, Lake Pawhuska, Robbers Cave, Lake Watonga, Quartz Mountain and Lake Carl Etling. Additionally, the Wildlife Department manages year-round trout fisheries in the Lower Illinois River from Tenkiller Dam to the Hwy 64 bridge near Gore and in a 12-mile stretch of the Lower Mountain Fork River from the Broken Bow Lake spillway downstream to the U.S. Hwy 70 bridge (of which about five miles lies with Beaver’s Bend State Park).
            Trout anglers must possess an appropriate fishing license and a legacy permit as well as a $10 trout license ($5 for youth 17 and under).
            For more information on trout fishing, or for descriptions and regulations pertaining to Oklahoma’s designated trout waters, log on to wildlifedepartment.com or consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide.”

More than 4,000 paddlefish cleaned for anglers at new center
            Oklahomans enjoy the finest paddlefish angling in the nation, and in doing so they not only are catching thousands of fish each year, but they are also contributing to science and funding their own sport through the paddlefish research and processing center.
            At its January meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission heard a presentation from Keith Green, paddlefish program coordinator for the Wildlife Department, and Brent Gordon, northeast region fisheries supervisor for the Department, recounting the success of the first year of the Department’s paddlefish research and processing center.
            In February 2008, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation opened the center at Twin Bridges State Park near Miami in far northeast Oklahoma. The center collected important biological data, processed paddlefish fillets for anglers and salvaged paddlefish eggs.
            Over 4,000 fish were brought to the paddlefish research and processing center by anglers, where their fish were professionally cleaned and packaged. Workers at the center salvaged eggs from female fish to sell as caviar. More than 8,000 lbs. of eggs were salvaged, and income derived from the program is being used to fund continued paddlefish research and improve angler access. Oklahoma paddlefish caviar was dispersed throughout Europe and Asia, and after the critical biological data was recorded from each fish, more than 45 tons of paddlefish carcasses were recycled into a natural source of heating oil.
            Most importantly, the Wildlife Department was able to gather large quantities of useful data for managing paddlefish in Oklahoma. Certain types of biological data can only be collected once the fish is dead. Prior to the opening of the research and processing center, the Department had only collected information from 240 fish since the late 1970s. The research and processing center makes it possible to collect data from thousands of fish that are already being harvested by anglers. In just a few months, biologists found themselves years ahead of where they were in terms of researching and managing the species.
            “We get the information we need for management, anglers get the meat from their fish, fish carcasses are used as a natural source of heating fuel, and the salvaged eggs are sold to pay for continued management of the resource,” Green said.
            During 2008, the Wildlife Department was able to gather age and growth data on paddlefish and get an accurate picture of the total harvest. Additionally, biologists recorded a day-by-day documentation of the annual paddlefish spawn for the first time. Information gathered during the spawning season can be compared with future spawning runs to better understand how these unique fish relate to their habitat, including water temperature and flow.
            The success of the paddlefish research and processing center has led the agency to design plans for building a permanent center in 2009 at Twin Bridges on the Neosho River, and the program will be expanded to include Fort Gibson Lake in 2010.
            The center is open during prime paddlefish snagging months (approximately Feb. 15 – May 15), and anglers can bring their catch to the center for cleaning and processing. Additionally, anglers such as those fishing at Miami’s Riverview City Park also can call the paddlefish processing center to come pick up their paddlefish for processing. Anglers who take advantage of the service will take home meat from their own fish that has been safely cleaned and packaged.
            The paddlefish research center is seasonally staffed by employees trained in proper handling and processing of fish products.
            Paddlefish anglers are required to obtain a free paddlefish permit before fishing for paddlefish in Oklahoma. Each angler that obtains the permit will be assigned a number that must be attached to all paddlefish that are caught and kept. The permit system will provide clearer information about paddlefish anglers and help better manage paddlefish populations. The permit is annual, and the permit number can be used on every paddlefish tagged during that period. Permits can be obtained online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            The Commission also heard a presentation from Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department, on the success of the 2008 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo. The Wildlife Expo is a hands-on recreational and educational event. Wildlife Department employees and over 1,000 volunteers and partners come together to make the event happen.
            “The Expo has become the largest outdoor recreation event in the state of Oklahoma, and this year was no exception.” Hurst said. “The Expo brought visitors from every county in Oklahoma, 12 other states and as far away as Alberta, Canada.”
            A survey used by the Wildlife Department to gain information about Expo attendance indicated that 66 percent of the Expo visitors were first-time attendees.
            “It’s evident that, after four years, the Expo is still reaching a significant number of new people every year,” Hurst said.
            Those new people could also equate to new hunters and anglers, according to surveys. Of those surveyed who were not licensed to hunt or fish, 26 percent said they intended to purchase a hunting license and 45 percent said they intended to purchase a fishing license after attending the Expo.
            Hurst reported that the Expo’s first ever “school day,” held Friday during Expo, drew over 4,200 students and over 1,000 teachers and sponsors from 79 different schools, including schools as far away as Valliant in McCurtain Co. and Hardesty schools in the Panhandle’s Texas County.
            At the 2008 Expo, guests were able to shop for outdoor goods and services at the Outdoor Marketplace for the second year in a row, and visitors were able to try a number of hands-on activities. About 2,500 lbs. of catfish were stocked in the pond for fishing opportunities, 7,000 Dutch oven food samples were served to guests, 375 blue bird houses were built, 27,500 shotgun shells were shot, and thousands of pounds of game meat were served to visitors at the popular Taste of the Wild booth.
            In other business, the Commission accepted a donation of $1,050 from the Dillingham Ranch and the Bank of Oklahoma to purchase equipment and supplies for the Department’s Shotgun Training and Education Program (STEP).
            Lance Robnett with Bank of Oklahoma said it was “a pleasure” for the two groups to be able to make a donation to STEP.
            “It’s great to have a program that teaches kids and new shooters the right way to handle firearms,” Robnett said. “I know that my best memories are out in the field with my dad, and I’m working on creating some of those memories with my kids as well. I know the money will be put to good use.”
            Although special emphasis is put on teaching basic wing-shooting techniques and fundamentals, STEP is also geared toward recruiting new hunters, providing shooting experience for Hunter Education students, promoting safe gun handling, and educating hunters about nontoxic shot shell technology.
            The STEP program has over 100 certified instructors that can run a shooting course, and they provide around 100 programs a year. Attended by around 16,000 participants a year, youth make up approximately 63 percent of attendees, while females account for about 23 percent.
            The Commission also recognized Jimmie Henthorn, game warden supervisor for the Wildlife Department, for 35 years of service, and Charles Cowell, data analyst and programmer for the Department, for 20 years.
            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 set for 9 a.m. Feb. 2 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.
Hunters not waiting on fair weather
            With several open hunting seasons and some good fishing to be had statewide, most outdoorsman know this is no time to be suffering from cabin fever. It’s time to be in the field and on the water.
            Even though several major fall hunting seasons have come and gone, there are still opportunities to go hunting right now in Oklahoma including deer and turkey archery, quail, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, furbearer and waterfowl. There also are hunting seasons for other species that are open year-round.
            “This is not the time to pack away all your gear until spring,” said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department. “Instead, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy some of the diverse hunting Oklahoma has to offer.”
            Oklahomans don’t have to look far for a place to hunt during the late season, either. The Wildlife Department maintains wildlife management areas in every part of the state that are open to public hunting. Each one is detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com  Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide seasons, and hunters should consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or www.wildlifedepartment.com before going afield.
Open seasons at a glance
Deer archery – either sex through Jan. 15
Turkey fall archery – through Jan. 15
Squirrel – through Jan. 31
Furbearer – through Jan. 31 (bobcat through Feb. 28)
Pheasant – through Jan. 31
Quail – through Feb. 15
Rabbit – through March 15
Ducks, mergansers and coots – Zone 1 through Jan. 18; Zone 2 through Jan. 25
(Pintail/Canvasback – Zone 2 through Jan. 25)
Canada geese – through Feb. 15
White-fronted geese – through Feb. 6
Light geese (snow, blue and Ross’) – through Feb. 15
(Conservation Order Light Goose Season – Feb. 16 - March 31, 2009)
Sandhill crane – through Jan. 25 (west of I-35 only)
Eagles offer outdoor show to wildlife enthusiasts
            Seventeen locations all across the state offer more than 50 opportunities to see the nation’s emblem in the wild.  
            As lakes in the northern U.S. and Midwest freeze, eagles migrate south to find open water and food. Oklahoma has more miles of shoreline than the east and west coasts combined, and the amount of water in Oklahoma makes it one of the top 10 states in the nation for winter eagle viewing.
            “During the winter, Oklahoma is host to anywhere from 700 to 1,500 eagles that migrate in from the northern states and Canada,” said Lesley McNeff, wildlife diversity information specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The numbers peak in January and February, with the highest concentration of birds located at lakes. Popular viewing sites include Kaw, Texoma, Tenkiller, Ft. Gibson, Grand, Canton and Great Salt Plains reservoirs. Oklahoma also has over 120 bald eagles that live here year-round, including nearly 60 known breeding pairs.”
            McNeff said that the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center, with assistance from the Department’s Wildlife Diversity Program, began an initiative in the mid 1980s to restore breeding eagle populations in Oklahoma and other southeastern states. Between 1985 and 1991 nearly 100 eaglets were released in eastern Oklahoma, including 59 birds in 1990 alone.
            Biologists transported eggs from Florida bald eagle nests to the Sutton Center in Bartlesville. Nine to 10 weeks after hatching, the young eagles were placed in hacking towers and eventually released into the wild with the hopes that they would return as adults and raise their young in the state.
            Since those efforts, bald eagle populations in Oklahoma have increased each year. While no pairs of nesting eagles existed in the state in 1990, Oklahoma currently has nearly 60 nesting pairs.
            Eagle watches are hosted by state parks, lake management offices, national wildlife refuges and local Audubon Society chapters. Event activities will vary, but most events are free. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation annually compiles a list of events to help Oklahomans discover where to view this majestic bird. For more information or to view the list, log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com


Spotted bass length and daily limits eliminated for Oklahoma anglers
            Slot limits, daily harvest limits and “catch and release” angling have long been important elements of developing good black bass fisheries, but a new regulation change for 2009 encourages anglers to keep and eat as many spotted bass as they can.
            The new regulation is highlighted in the “2009 Oklahoma Fishing Guide,” a free, full-color publication of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The guide is available now and is hitting shelves at fishing and hunting license dealers across the state.
            According to biologists with the Department, spotted bass populations in most reservoirs are overabundant and slow growing, seldom providing quality bass fishing and using forage that could be better utilized by the more desirable predators such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass hybrids and walleye/saugeye. Exempting spotted bass from length limits and increasing the daily limit is intended to encourage more harvest of these fish as well as reduce competition for forage among other predators, improve overall fishing quality and remind anglers that harvest is a necessary component of a healthy fishery.
            Keith Thomas, fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department, said the regulation change is a good thing for anglers looking to fill their stringer.
            “Here's a great opportunity for folks to load up the ice chest and have a great shore lunch or fish fry,” Thomas said. “These fish school in large numbers, so once you locate them you'll usually catch a good mess of them just like you would while crappie fishing.”
            Thomas said spotted bass may not be as big as some largemouth bass, but the fact that the statewide limit has been lifted except in a few certain areas means you can harvest more of them for the dinner table.
            “To locate them, fish off of rocky points with steep drop offs,” Thomas said. “Use crayfish, minnows, small curly-tail grubs and small deep diving crankbaits.'”
            Thomas said the nicknames and even the scientific name for the fish — Micropterus punctulatus — lend some insight into distinguishing spotted bass from other black bass.
            “Spotted bass are also called ‘Kentucky bass,' ‘spots' and ‘diamond bass,'” he said. “The scientific name translates to ‘small-finned and dotted.' You can look at the belly scales and most will have a dark green or black spot. Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass will have very few or no spots.”
            For legal identification purposes, a spotted bass is any black bass, except for smallmouth, having a rough tongue patch.
            Thomas' advice to anglers is simple.
            “Anglers, help improve fishing at your favorite lake and harvest some spotted bass,” Thomas said.
            The “2009 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” details special regulation areas where the regulation change may not apply. It also outlines other new regulation changes for 2009. In addition, it includes a full listing of all fishing regulations for Oklahoma as well as a wide range of fishing-related articles and other helpful information such as contacts for Department lakes, “Close to Home” fishing locations, game warden phone numbers, license fees and fish identification tips.
            Anglers also can find the “2009 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” and buy fishing licenses online by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com. The Web site provides a weekly fishing report where anglers can find out how some of the state's most popular game fish are biting and what baits are working best at different fishing locations. Compiled by Wildlife Department personnel and independent reporters, the reports even include techniques and locations to increase angler success. The weekly fishing report can be received weekly by e-mail, along with other wildlife news from the Department. To sign up for the free weekly e-mail, log on to
Celebrate Oklahoma's mule deer with 2009 habitat donor patch
            Few images are more stunning to an Oklahoma hunter than that of a whitetail buck, but many may not realize that the mule deer also calls Oklahoma home. And its stunning features are being celebrated this year on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's 2009 habitat donor patch, available now through the Wildlife Department's Outdoor Store at wildlifedepartment.com.
            Much less common in Oklahoma than the whitetail, the mule deer is characterized by its large, “mule-like” ears and cream-colored tail with a black tip. Additionally, mule deer bucks like the one featured on the 2009 habitat donor patch have antlers with forked main beams that are branched equally. The mule deer typically weighs more than the whitetail.
            Hunters along Oklahoma's far western border and Panhandle areas are most likely to get a glimpse of a mule deer, as they do not inhabit central or eastern portions of the state. Mule deer are attracted to grasslands, plains, foothills and river bottom habitat in addition to forests, desert shrubs and thickets of shrub trees.
            “By purchasing a $10 habitat donor patch, buyers help provide public land access for the future,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration for the Wildlife Department. “One purchase may not seem like much, but that purchase is pooled with those of all other outdoor enthusiasts, and it can really add up. With public land access becoming more important over time, this really is a program sportsmen can feel good about supporting.”
            To purchase a donor patch, visit the Department's Outdoor Store by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com. Caps featuring the habitat donor patch also are available for $15. Outdoor Store order forms also can be found in copies of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine. Additionally, patches can be purchased at the Wildlife Department headquarters in Oklahoma City.
            All proceeds go to the Department's Land Acquisition Fund, which is used to provide public hunting and fishing access. This program has helped the Wildlife Department make available over 300,000 acres of land for public hunting and fishing. To view the new patches and those from previous years, log on to the Department's Web site at
            The colorful patches have displayed a different game or fish species every year since 1986, and collectors can purchase a patch from any year.
            For more information about the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Outdoor Oklahoma readers' photos wanted for special summer issue
            Every year, Oklahoma's outdoor enthusiasts have a chance to see their own digital photos in print in Outdoor Oklahoma magazine's “Readers' Photography Showcase” issue, and now is the time to submit entries.
            Submissions are being accepted through March 31, and winners will have their work featured in the July/August 2009 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma.
            The special summer issue gives both professional and amateur photographers the chance to have their digital photos displayed in a magazine nationally recognized for its photography.
            “Oklahoma is home to many great outdoor opportunities, and photography is certainly growing in popularity,” said Nels Rodefeld, editor of Outdoor Oklahoma. “We look forward to working on the Readers' Photography Showcase issue because we get to see so many great outdoor images. It seems to get harder every year to make the final selections.”
            Each participant may submit up to five digital images. Each submission must include a description of the photo, including the location taken, names and hometowns of subjects and what it took to get just the right shot. Photos should be in sharp focus, and images should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). The canvas size should be about 8 inches by 11 inches. Slides and print images will not be accepted.
Hopeful photographers can mail a disk to: Outdoor Oklahoma magazine, Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

            Individuals can subscribe to Outdoor Oklahoma 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 wildlifedepartment.com.
Weight: 2.6 lbs.
Angler: Shelby Wade Greeson, Noble
Date: Dec. 27, 2008
Bait: Jig
Photo link:
Smallmouth Bass
Weight: 5.5 lbs.
Angler: Barry F. Clay, Tahlequah
Date: Jan. 3, 2009
Bait: Jig
Photo link:

Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International offers sportsmens' auction and banquet
            Safari Club International is characterized by its support of conservation and sportsmen, and their active Oklahoma Station Chapter is offering sportsmen the chance to contribute as well by attending their 24th Annual Awards Banquet and Charity Fundraiser Saturday, March 7 in Oklahoma City.
            The banquet will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and will feature a live auction where bidders will have a chance to buy guided hunts around the globe, ranging from feral hog hunts at Oklahoma's Chain Ranch to big game hunts in Africa. Other auction items include selections of outdoor clothing and decor, firearms, hunting knives camping equipment, fishing trips and much more. A continually updated list of auction items can be viewed on the Oklahoma Station Chapter's Web site at oklahomastationsci.org.
            The Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International offers support and funding to local conservation efforts that benefit the sportsmen and wildlife of Oklahoma. The chapter is a supporter of projects conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, such as the Hunters Against Hunger program that coordinates the annual distribution of over 30,000 of pounds of venison to needy families. The Chapter is also a sponsor of the Wildlife Department's Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, which educates tens of thousands of Oklahomans each year on the value of wildlife and the outdoors to quality of life in Oklahoma.
            “Starting as a young boy over 50 years ago, the opportunity to learn about the outdoors and to hunt has added greatly to my appreciation and enjoyment of life,” said Mike Mistelske, current vice president and nominee for president of the Oklahoma Station Chapter. “It's a privilege now to be able to give something back through SCI here in Oklahoma. I invite our fellow Oklahomans and their friends to enjoy this special banquet and to add their own support of our great hunting tradition and the conservation of our wildlife. Each hunter's support is more important now than ever.”
            The organization also has helped fund the purchase of an airboat used by the Wildlife Department on waterfowl surveys and other wetland management tasks, and a 24-foot trailer for use in the Department's Shotgun Training Education Program (STEP). The STEP program introduces both youth and adults to shotgun shooting techniques and the proper handling of firearms. The Oklahoma Station Chapter also partners with the Wildlife Department each year to hold an annual youth essay contest that provides youth a chance to share their feelings about Oklahoma's outdoors and to win great prizes, including a guided pronghorn antelope hunt in New Mexico. Additionally, the chapter purchased eight elk for introduction into an existing herd in southeast Oklahoma.
            The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, but registration begins at 4:30 p.m. Craig Boddington and various outfitters and wildlife artists will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is located at 1700 N.E. 63rd St. in Oklahoma City 73111.
            SCI membership is not required to participate in the banquet and raffles, or to be eligible for door prizes. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $75 or at the door for $100. To purchase tickets or for further information, contact Verilea Faust at (405) 721-7229 or e-mail faust4v@pldi.net. Ticket forms may also be printed and either mailed, faxed or e-mailed through the Chapter's Web site at oklahomastationsci.org. Bid cards for the auction are available to members at no cost. For non-members, bid cards ($50) or memberships ($85) may be purchased at the door if desired. For questions relating to the banquet and auction, contact Oklahoma Station Chapter of SCI vice president Mike Mistelske at mjmistelske@yahoo.com.
            For more information on the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International, log on to oklahomastationsci.org.
2009-10 Waterfowl Stamp artwork selected
            The 2009-2010 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design competition results are in, and first place goes to Tim Turenne of Richfield, Minn. The wildlife artist's winning painting portraying a pair of gadwalls resting in dim sunlight will be featured on the 2008-09 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp.
            Turenne is an active hunter, angler, hiker and wildlife watcher who enjoys “taking in all nature has to offer.”
            Turenne started his own wildlife art company, WILDforLIFE, in 2006 and has won wildlife art competitions all across the country including the 2006 Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp, 2007 Minnesota Turkey Stamp, 2008 Colorado Habitat Stamp, 2009 Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp and the 2010 Minnesota Turkey Stamp. He said he uses photography to help draw inspiration for his work.
            “I take a lot of pictures that I incorporate into my wildlife paintings,” Turenne said.
            Samples of Turenne's work can be viewed on his Web site at wildforlife.net.
            Honorable mentions went to J. Byron Test of Guymon; James Sanderson of Kansas City, Mo.; Daniel Allard of Pataskala, Ohio; and Douglas Walpus of Hartsville, Tenn.
            “We received some great entries in this year's contest and had the public's help in picking the winning artwork,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The entries were on display at the Oklahoma History Center and visitors were able to provide input on their favorites.”
            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 enhanced and restored through duck stamp revenues.
            Entries were judged on anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for printing. The winner and honorable mentions also will appear in a future issue of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine.
            A selection of waterfowl stamp art from previous years is currently on display in the lobby of the Wildlife Department headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln, in Oklahoma City.
            Prints of previous winning waterfowl artwork can be purchased at www.wildlifedepartment.com

Turenne, stamp winner

Trout season at OKC pond offers outdoor entertainment for the family
            Enjoying a unique fishing trip requires only a few hours after school or work for Oklahoma City residents looking for entertainment for the whole family. Metro anglers have a trout fishing honey hole in their own backyard at Dolese Youth Park Pond in northwest Oklahoma City.
            Part of the state's Close to Home fishing program, the Dolese trout season is made possible through a cooperative partnership between the Wildlife Department and the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department.
            Over the course of the season, (open through Feb. 28), rainbow trout will be stocked regularly in the pond, located north of NW 50th and a half block west of Meridian Ave.
            Trout are provided through generous donations from a local sponsor and BancFirst. These funds are crucial in providing the necessary match for Oklahoma's Sport Fish Restoration Program funding.
            “BancFirst's donation is matched with sport fish restoration dollars through the Wildlife Department to supply the trout for this popular local program,” said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. “We couldn't do it without their support, but thanks to their help we can offer metro anglers this affordable, entertaining source of recreation that doesn't require a lot of planning.”
            The “Close to Home” fishing program provides fishing areas that are often just a short drive away from urban locations, saving anglers time and gas money. In addition, it allows parents and children to fish together after school or on a busy weekend.
            “The ‘Close to Home' fishing program is a unique way to offer angling opportunities to even the most urban Oklahoma residents,” Boxrucker said. “It gives them a chance to experience the outdoors without having to find extra time to plan and drive long distances. And specifically, the Dolese trout season provides a chance to catch a unique fish that the Department has introduced to Oklahoma with great success.”
            According to Bob Martin, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, successful trout anglers at Dolese should keep several colors of powerbaits as well as an assortment of other trout baits in their tackle box, as the best baits to use often change throughout the day.
            Anglers should have success using 4- to 6-pound test line equipped with a slip sinker and small hook. Along with powerbaits, choice baits include corn, worms, small spinners, jigs and spoons.
            “We're stocking rainbow trout that range from nine to 24 inches, with 90 percent ranging from nine to 14 inches,” Martin said.
            Martin said that, in years past, Dolese has seen up to 18,000 hours of angling a year. Martin also said the Dolese trout season attracts returning anglers as well as first-time anglers each year, and successful anglers have reported satisfaction with the size and taste of trout they have caught.
            There is a daily limit of six trout per person during the Dolese Park Pond trout season. In addition, angling is permitted from the bank only, and each angler may only use one rod and reel while fishing for trout. Trout caught and placed on a stringer or otherwise held in possession cannot be released. Catch-and-release angling is allowed all day long during the Dolese trout season, but once a fish is kept, such as put on a stringer or in a basket or bucket, it cannot be released and counts toward the angler's daily limit of six trout. Regulations for other species that may be caught at Dolese are available in the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or online at wildlifedepartment.com.
            Those fishing for trout at Dolese must purchase an annual state fishing license and a fishing and hunting legacy permit unless exempt. In addition, an Oklahoma City Fishing Permit is required for anglers ages 16-61 unless exempt. No state trout license is required. For more information about trout fishing at Dolese and other Close to Home fishing opportunities, contact the city's H.B. Parsons Fish Hatchery at (405) 755-4014, or visit the Lakes and Fishing page of the city's Web site at okc.gov.  For more information on the “Close to Home” fishing program, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Dolese Youth Park and the H.B. Parsons Fish Hatchery are operated by the City of Oklahoma City's Parks and Recreation Department.