JUNE 2009

WEEK OF JUNE 25, 2009


WEEK OF JUNE 18, 2009


WEEK OF JUNE 11, 2009


WEEK OF JUNE 4, 2009

Wildlife Commission bids farewell to longtime Director Greg Duffy
            At its June meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recognized Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, for his 35-year career at the Wildlife Department. Duffy, who has served as director of the Department for the last 16 years, will retire July 2.
            Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins was at the meeting and presented Duffy with a citation commending him for his outstanding professional accomplishments and years of dedicated service to the Wildlife Department and the state of Oklahoma.
            Askins said Duffy’s ability to oversee the Department’s statewide operations and to equip its employees to perform their jobs so well was a “mark of good leadership.”
            “We know that you have given your heart as well as your years to this Department, and we wish to thank you for that,” Lt. Gov. Askins said to Duffy.
            Askins said Duffy’s work has played an important role in continuing Oklahoma’s strong traditions of conservation and the outdoors, stating how important it is for Oklahomans to know that their outdoor heritage is being passed on to future generations who will then pass on the heritage to others.
            Duffy started with the Wildlife Department as a part-time worker at the Durant Hatchery in 1971 and was hired full-time in 1974 as a waterfowl biologist. In 1977, he began work as a wildlife and lands biologist for Eufaula, McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, Fort Gibson and Okmulgee wildlife management areas. He has served the Department in an administrative capacity since 1979 when he took on the position of assistant chief of the wildlife division. He was promoted to chief in 1988 and director in 1993.
            Duffy is currently the second longest tenured wildlife agency director in the nation and the longest tenured director in the history of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
            As Director, Greg has hired 255 Department employees. That number is more than 75 percent of the Wildlife Department’s total workforce.
            Under Duffy’s leadership, the Wildlife Department has moved forward on conservation issues and greatly expanded Oklahoma’s sporting opportunities for hunters and anglers. He has been involved in drafting and implementing more than 1,000 fish and wildlife laws and regulation changes designed to increase hunting and fishing opportunities. He has overseen and directed the acquisition of more than 100,000 acres of public hunting land – something sportsmen will enjoy forever.
            Additionally, it was under Duffy’s watch that the Department’s youth deer and turkey seasons were created, the Streams Management Program was created, and programs to assist landowners in improving wildlife habitat on their properties were implemented.
            Duffy has been involved in almost every detail of the Department’s operations for a decade and half, and even seemingly small advances have led to great contributions to conservation. For example, more than half a million dollars has been raised for wildlife diversity conservation through the Wildlife Department’s license plate program, which allows motorists to sport one of their favorite wildlife or fish species on their license plates.
            Duffy is a 1969 graduate of Lomega High School. He received a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Southeast Oklahoma State University in 1973.
            “I want to extend my thanks to the Commission for their support of me throughout my years as director,” Duffy said. “I also would like to express my appreciation for all of the great executive staff and field staff at the Department whose work has made my time as director so enjoyable.”
            The Commission voted last December to appoint Richard Hatcher, assistant director of operations, to assume the position of director upon Duffy’s retirement.
Fishing guide licenses to go into effect this summer
            Fishing guides who operate on Oklahoma waters will be required to purchase a fishing guide license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation beginning July 31.
            At its June meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved emergency rules to go into effect July 31 in accordance to Senate Bill 277, which recently was signed by the Governor.
            “The new fishing guide license was requested by the fishing guide industry in Oklahoma and will help ensure our state’s fishing guides have a strong set of safety and first-aid skills as well as properly functioning equipment and insurance,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Wildlife Department.
            The annual license will cost $132 for both residents and nonresidents, but Wildlife Department officials are only going to charge $66 for the remainder of 2009 since the requirement will only be in effect for half of the year. The license is required of all persons, resident or nonresident, who charge or accept consideration to take someone fishing. The only exemption is for landowners or lessees who provide such services on their own property and those who assist a licensed guide in the same boat.
            Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, fishing guides applying for a license must provide the Wildlife Department with documentation stating they have completed boat training through the National Association of Safe Boating Administrators, which is available readily online or at locations throughout Oklahoma. They also must provide the Wildlife Department with proof of commercial general liability insurance covering services as a fishing guide with policy limits of at least $500,000 per occurrence. Additionally, fishing guides must maintain current boat inspection by any governmental agency or entity authorized to perform such inspections, and they must be certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and basic first aid.
            “Other states, including Texas, have guide license requirements, and I am confident this will benefit our anglers and guides,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. “We hope to maintain a list of licensed guides to help anglers identify guides and get ‘hooked up,’ so to speak.”
            In other business, the Commission recognized Charlie Brown of Okmulgee for her efforts in hosting an annual fishing clinic at Okmulgee Lake for kids with disabilities.
            According to Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Wildlife Department, the Department’s aquatic resource education program is “kind of like that turtle on top of a fencepost; you know he didn’t get there without some help.”
            And Brown is one of those whose help has gone a long way to make fishing clinics across the state so useful for introducing youth to the outdoors and conservation.
            “The Department’s Aquatic Education program wouldn’t be what it is without the assistance of many volunteers all over the state, and that is especially true for this particular clinic that’s been held at Okmulgee Lake for youth with disabilities,” Rodefeld said.
            The Wildlife Department is involved with about 300 fishing clinics annually that reach an estimated 20,000 youth per year. The clinic at Okmulgee Lake has served almost 500 youth since its inception.
            “That’s really amazing — 500 kids,” Rodefeld said. “And that’s certainly special in and of itself, but I think what’s even more special is somebody that’s Ms. Brown’s age being that interested and that dedicated that she would want to share with other kids.”
            Brown will be starting her sports medicine degree program this fall at Cottey College in Missouri. She served as the Northeast District 4-H president this year and has shown lambs and cattle. She will help with this year’s fishing clinic at Okmulgee Lake June 13.
            The Commission also established new officers to begin serving next month on the Commission.
            District 8 Commissioner John Groendyke was unanimously elected Commission chairman. District 8 consists of Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woodward, Woods, Major, Alfalfa, Grant, Garfield, Kay and Noble counties.
            Groendyke, who has served on the Commission since 1976, was reappointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2004 to serve an additional eight-year term. Groendyke is chairman of the board of Groendyke Transport, Inc. Founded by his father, H.C. Groendyke in 1932, it is one of the nation's largest motor carriers of bulk commodities serving the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Groendyke graduated from Wentworth Military Academy where he attended high school and junior college. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business from Oklahoma State University.
            Commissioner Mart Tisdal will serve as the Commission vice-chairman. Tisdal represents District 7, including Ellis, Dewey, Roger Mills, Custer, Beckham, Washita, Kiowa, Greer, Jackson, Harmon and Tillman counties.
            Tisdal was named by Gov. Brad Henry in 2007 to serve the remainder of the district seven Wildlife Commission term vacated by Wade Brinkman’s resignation.
            Tisdal, whose current appointment on the Commission runs until 2011, was born and raised in Clinton and founded Tisdal Law Firm, a general practice legal office which has oil and gas, environmental law and complex litigation among its areas of focus. He earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to receiving numerous professional awards, he has served as the president of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. He is also a veteran, having served on active duty in the U.S. Army, field artillery, from 1971-73.
             An avid quail hunter, Tisdal says he has many fond memories of growing up in western Oklahoma. Tisdal also enjoys turkey hunting, fishing, golf, running, snow skiing, and just being outdoors. He also has a keen interest in wildlife conservation. He says sharing Oklahoma’s outdoor heritage with the next generation is an important part of the future of conservation.
            Serving as Commission secretary will be District 3 Commissioner Mike Bloodworth. District 3 consists LeFlore, Latimer, Pittsburg, Atoka, Pushmataha, McCurtain, Choctaw, Bryan, Marshall, Carter and Love counties.
            Bloodworth is from Hugo and was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Brad Henry in 2007. Bloodworth's term will run through 2015. A lifelong resident of Hugo, Bloodworth founded an independent insurance agency in that Choctaw County community after serving as a sixth-grade teacher and elementary school principal for 10 years. He earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree in education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. He is also an active duck and goose hunter.
            In other business, the Commission recognized Greg Duffy for his 35-year career at the Wildlife Department. Duffy will retire at the end of June. The Commission also recognized Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee Co., for 25 years of service to the Wildlife Department and Jeff Neal, wildlife technician, for 20 years of service. Additionally, the Commission approved its fiscal year 2010 annual budget.
            The Commission also recognized Kolt Perkins of Zaneis Elementary School near Wilson, who recently won a national championship at the National Archery in the Schools Tournament. Kolt was the highest scoring elementary student at the tournament, scoring 292 points out of 300 and 23 bullseyes. Perkins outscored 1,006 other elementary students to claim the first place spot and become one of the first two Oklahomans to win a National Archery in the Schools Program national championship. Perkins' score also was the highest ever achieved by an elementary boy in the history of the national tournament. Kolt qualified for the national tournament by participating in the Wildlife Department’s Oklahoma Archery in the Schools program, which introduces youth to shooting sports and conservation through hands-on instruction in the classroom.
            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. July 6 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.
Wildlife Department employees receive awards for conservation achievements
            Two employees of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation received prestigious awards for their work recently, representing both the agency’s Fisheries and Wildlife divisions.
            Gene Gilliland, central region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department, was named 2009 Conservation Director of the Year by B.A.S.S., a worldwide organization dedicated to promoting sportfishing. Additionally, Alan Stacey, wetland development biologist for the Wildlife Department, was awarded the Ducks Unlimited Wetland Achievement Award.
            “Gene is very deserving of this award, and we congratulate him on all of his hard work,” said Barry Bolton, fisheries chief for the Wildlife Department. “Gene is nationally known as an authority on fisheries management, and his efforts have gone a long way in helping make Oklahoma such a great state for angling.”
            Gilliland is based out of the Wildlife Department’s Oklahoma Fisheries Research Laboratory in Norman. He graduated with fisheries degrees from Texas A&M as well as Oklahoma State University. He has served with the Wildlife Department for the last 26 years. Currently, Gilliland works extensively with the Department’s largemouth genetics program.
            Stacey was selected to receive the Wetland Achievement Award for his contributions to the restoration and conservation of wetlands and waterfowl. Stacey began his career upon completion of his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Oklahoma State University in 1978. From then to 1986, he was employed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and he came on board with the Wildlife Department in 1986.
            DU’s Wetland Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl in six categories. Alan Stacey is this year’s recipient for the State/Provincial award.
            “Alan is dependable, motivated, and innovative in his work to preserve and improve Oklahoma wetlands,” said Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department. “We are thrilled his work has been recognized with such a prestigious award. In the waterfowl world, this award is like winning the Heisman Trophy.”
            Stacey is currently the wetland program coordinator over state waterfowl management areas and private lands for the Wildlife Department.
            “Alan is deserving of this award by virtue of his 30 years of dedicated service to the people and places so vital to the resources we love; waterfowl and wetlands,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs, Scott Manley.
            The Wildlife Department is the state agency charged with conserving Oklahoma’s wildlife. To learn more about the Department and its mission, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Wildlife Department to host free Cherokee Kids Camp
            Parents and kids won’t want to miss the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s ninth annual free Cherokee Kid’s Camp slated for June 20.
            Cherokee Kid’s Camp is held at the Cherokee Wildlife Management Area in northeast Oklahoma. Youth age 15 and under are welcome, and the event is free. No pre-registration is required.
            “Hunting and fishing are part of Oklahoma’s heritage, but today a number of rural and urban kids are never exposed to these activities,” said Ron Justice, wildlife biologist for the Wildlife Department. “The camp is designed to introduce kids to hunting and fishing, and encourage future involvement in Oklahoma’s most traditional outdoor sports. In addition, everything needed to participate is provided, and the event is free, even the lunch.”
            Participants at Kid’s Camp will have the opportunity to participate in several outdoor activities, including shooting sports such as archery, air rifles, paintball, .22 rifles, muzzleloading firearms and shotguns. In addition, kids can go fishing in a stocked pond and visit exhibits on reptiles, mountain men, knife making, flint knapping, taxidermy, trapping, turkey calling, and wildlife.
            Kid’s Camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and food and drinks as well as the use of fishing tackle, ammo, and firearms will be provided free of charge.
            To get to the Cherokee WMA, drive approximately 10 miles east of Fort Gibson on Highway 62, then two miles south at the Midway Conoco to the Zeb Entrance of the wildlife area. Once inside the WMA, drive one mile to the WMA Headquarters.
            For additional information contact Ron Justice at (918) 260-8959. For more information about other outdoor activities offered by the Wildlife Department, such as fishing, hunting, hunter education or aquatic education clinics, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

Oklahoma City attorney named to Wildlife Conservation Commission
            Oklahoma City attorney Ed Abel is the newest member of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, the 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.
            Abel, appointed by Governor Brad Henry and confirmed by the Senate, will begin his eight-year term in July. Abel also served as a Wildlife Commissioner from 1994 to 2002.
            Abel will serve as the voice of sportsmen in District 5, which includes Logan, Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Garvin, Murray and Payne counties.
            “I am looking forward to being on the Wildlife Commission,” Abel said. I’m very interested in wildlife and wildlife issues.
            Abel said he looks forward to serving alongside other commissioners to serve the sportsmen of Oklahoma. Abel himself is a lifelong sportsman. His father introduced him to the outdoors at a young age through activities like squirrel hunting.
            “I have enjoyed hunting and fishing since I was about five years old when I started with my father,” Abel said.
            Abel is particularly fond of hunting with dogs. He and his hounds have hunted competitively across the United States, winning several world championships. His kennel, Sooner Black and Tans, is well known among coonhunters and houndsmen, and Abel has held leadership roles in several hunting dog organizations, including the American Black & Tan Association, Oklahoma Federation of Coonhunters and others.
            Abel is the founder and senior partner of what is now Abel Law Firm, founded in 1976. He is listed in “Best Lawyers of America” as one of the “top guns” in the legal profession and is an active member in numerous professional associations. He has served as chairman and member in many law association committees and organizations, including the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, Oklahoma County Bar Association and others. He was active in the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 and has been the recipient of several awards for outstanding legal contributions.
            Abel received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1963 and his Juris Doctor Degree from The University of Oklahoma Law School in 1966.
            Abel has been married almost 31 years. He and his wife have four children — three daughters and a son — as well as three grandsons.

Photo caption: Oklahoma City attorney Ed Abel is the newest member of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, representing District 5.
Few Father’s Day gifts compare to a fishing trip with family
            Dads may receive any number of techno gadgets, ties or shaving kits from their families this Father’s Day, but maybe a day of fishing is more in line with what Dad really wants this year.
            “For decades, dads and fishing have gone together like peanut butter and jelly,” said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “I encourage families looking for a special gift for the father in their life to head to the water for some fishing this Father’s Day. As a dad myself, I am confident this is a gift that will go over well. What better way to show your dad how much you love him than by spending time with him doing something he enjoys? The memories you make together fishing will last longer than anything you can buy.”
            Oklahoma has no shortage of angling opportunities this year, either. From big lakes with big fish to rivers, streams, ponds and more, there are approximately 11,600 miles of shoreline in Oklahoma, many of which are accessible to the public.
            Fishing with Dad this Father’s Day can be as simple as carrying a few rods and reels and a box of worms to a nearby fishing hole or as exciting as planning a weekend getaway for camping, grilling out burgers and catching loads of fish at a large lake, river resort or state park.
            “No matter where you are in the state, you don’t have to make a long-distance drive or own a boat to go fishing this Father’s Day,” Boxrucker said. “There is most likely a place close by where you can fish, even if you live right in the middle of town.”
            While opportunities like the Wildlife Department’s “Close to Home Fishing” program offer angling in urban locations, families can also take their fathers to one of the state’s big lakes, where they can fish in public access areas or even hire a fishing guide to help make their trip a success.
            “A guided fishing trip would make any dad’s day, such as a striper fishing trip on Lake Texoma,” Boxrucker said. “If you are looking for a start, you can find Lake Texoma fishing guide information by logging on to sixoldgeezers.com.”
            To fish in Oklahoma, anglers need a state fishing license and a fishing and hunting legacy permit, unless exempt. Other municipal permits or access permits may apply in certain locations. The Wildlife Department’s “2009 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” outlines state fishing regulations as well as a wealth of angling information ranging from fishing techniques to fish identification tips. The 40-page guide can be obtained anywhere fishing licenses are sold or on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
June means spawning sunfish and angling action
            The month of June means spawning sunfish, and spawning sunfish means good fishing in waters all across Oklahoma.
            Sunfish — which include such fish as bluegill, redear, pumpkinseed and green sunfish, among others — spawn along shallow shorelines, and their circular spawning beds can often be seen from the bank. Spawning sunfish are also aggressive feeders and strong fighters for their size.
            “If you fish for sunfish during the spawn using ultra-light tackle, you might gain a new respect for this incredibly abundant fish,” said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
      Spawning sunfish are usually caught by casting a line along shallow shorelines. Weedbeds also are ideal habitat for large sunfish. Live bait like worms, minnows and grasshoppers are good choices for bait, but small jigs and lures work well, too.
      “Honestly, all that is needed for a good sunfish angling trip is a pole set up with a bobber, sinker and baited hook,” Boxrucker said. “Include a stringer as well so you can take a few home for the frying pan.”
            Catching sunfish is one the simplest types of fishing Oklahoma offers, and they make delicious table fare when fried and served with hushpuppies, potato salad or baked beans.
      Sunfish angling during the spawning season is a great time to teach youngsters about the basics of fishing while also keeping the action intense. Oklahoma’s creeks, ponds and lakes are filled with sunfish that can help youth and newcomers to the sport hone and master their angling skills while making memories that they will remember years down the road.
            Peak activity for sunfish is in the early mornings and late evenings, and therefore these hours make ideal times for targeting them with a rod and reel. Sunfish are often active throughout the day, though, so anglers should not rule out other times of the day.
Abundant populations of sunfish exist in any direction of the state. Some Oklahoma residents can speed up their search through the “Close to Home” fishing program. Under cooperative fisheries management agreements between Oklahoma municipalities and the Wildlife Department, there is a wide variety of fishing opportunities around the Oklahoma City metro. The current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” offers a complete list of these areas, and Tulsa anglers can log on to wildlifedepartment.com for a list of locations near their home.
            To fish in Oklahoma, anglers must possess an appropriate state fishing license and a fishing and hunting legacy permit, unless exempt. Complete regulations are available in the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.

Seventy-six-pound flathead catfish sets new Oklahoma state record
            When Tommy Couch of Howe was reeling in his 76-lb. state record flathead catfish from the Poteau River June 13, he just knew it was going to be a carp.
            “He stayed right along the bank and right along the bottom,” Couch said, similar to carp he has landed in the past. “When his tail finally came up — that’s when I realized what he was.”
            On the bank, someone with Couch screamed, “That’s a record! That’s a record.”
            And it was. Couch’s fish outweighs the previous 72-lb., 8-oz. record flathead catfish caught by Ron Cantrell in 2004 at El Reno Lake.
            Couch was fishing the old Poteau River channel below the Wister Dam when he landed his state record. He was not having much luck using night crawlers, so he switched to red worms and caught the fish just after 1 p.m. The catfish measured 51 1/2” in length and had a girth of 58 1/4.”
            Couch was using a Ambassadeur 5000 reel on a Master Spector 10’ graphite rod. His 20 lb. test line was rigged with a 2-0 Eagle Claw hook.
            Couch said he has never had a fish fight on the line quite like his record fish — or like a catfish in general, which is one reason he recommends catfish angling to other sportsmen.
            Couch is an avid catfish angler, and he said “anytime the barometer is rising” is a good time to be casting for catfish.
            Flathead catfish are popular among Oklahoma anglers, as are channel catfish and blue catfish. All three catfish are readily available in the state’s lakes, ponds and rivers, and they can be caught using a variety of methods, including rod and reel, trotlining, juglining, limblining and noodling.
            Couch had initially considered donating the fish to an aquarium facility, but it died before he found a location that would accept it. He and friends decided to eat the fish and have already sampled the meat.
            Don Groom, northeast region fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, verified the fish for the Wildlife Department.
            “Poteau River is known for producing large flatheads,” Groom said. “This is a great fish, and we congratulate him for his catch.”
            Couch’s flathead catfish also qualifies as a lake record for Wister Lake. To view other lake record fish, log on to the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            For a complete list of record fish and the procedures regarding certifying state record fish, consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Anglers who believe they may have hooked a record fish must weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale, and the weight must be verified by a Wildlife Department employee.
Five-year fishing license a good buy for anglers this summer
            As summer heats up and families find more time for fishing getaways, many anglers are opting to spend $88 on a five-year fishing license that is good for 60 months rather than purchasing a $25 annual license that will only remain valid through December.
            Close to 7,600 anglers have purchased a five-year fishing license or five-year combination hunting and fishing license since they became available at the start of 2009. The licenses, offered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation along with a five-year hunting license, provide an alternative to purchasing an annual license without the expense of a lifetime license, and they save money compared to purchasing annual licenses and fishing and hunting legacy permits over the course of five years.
            With approximately 78,500 miles of rivers and streams and 1,120 square miles of lakes and ponds in Oklahoma, much of which available for public access, a five-year fishing license is  a worthwhile purchase for anglers who spend much time on the water.
            Authored by State Rep. Randy McDaniel (R - Edmond), House Bill 2667 was signed into law in 2008, creating the five-year license. Senator John Ford (R - Bartlesville) was the Senate author. Rep. McDaniel is the state’s District 83 representative (northwest Oklahoma City) and serves on several House committees, including Tourism and Recreation, for which he is vice chair; Industry and Labor; Arts and Culture; Human Services; and Health. Sen. Ford represents District 29 (northeast Oklahoma).
            Sportsmen considering a five-year license can choose between the five-year fishing license and the five-year hunting license for $88, or they can purchase a five-year combination hunting and fishing license for $148. Some of the money is earmarked for hunting and fishing access as part of the Hunting and Fishing Legacy Program.
            The five-year license provides about a 30 percent savings over purchasing annual licenses and fishing and hunting legacy permits.
            “Since angling opportunities are available all over the state right now, and with the fall hunting season just around the corner, now would be a good time to look into a five-year license,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration for the Wildlife Department.
            Sportsmen who hold a five-year license are still required to purchase other applicable annual permits as such deer and turkey licenses, appropriate waterfowl stamps, land access permits and other permits where required. The five-year fishing, hunting or combination license is available through the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com or at many sporting goods stores or locations that sells hunting and fishing licenses through the Wildlife Department’s Internet point of sales system.
            The Wildlife Department is the state agency charged with conserving Oklahoma’s wildlife. It receives no general state tax revenues and is funded by sportsmen through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and special federal excise taxes on sporting goods.
Fifth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo to offer outdoor learning opportunities
            Oklahomans interested in the outdoors should mark their calendars now for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s fifth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo slated for Sept. 25-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City.
            The Wildlife Department will be working with a range of organizations, individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the Expo — a free event intended to promote and develop appreciation for Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources by providing hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.
            “The Expo is a one-of-a-kind outdoor recreation event,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “This is a place where literally tens of thousands of outdoor-minded people of all ages and skill levels gather for a weekend of activities and learning opportunities that are entirely focused on Oklahoma’s outdoors.”
            Among many other activities, Expo visitors will be able to try firsthand activities such as fishing, shooting shotguns and archery, kayaking, mountain biking and more. They will have access to seminars on hunting dog training, outdoor cooking, camping, hunting, fishing, birdwatching, and other recreation in the great outdoors. Additionally, guests can shop at the Outdoor Marketplace, a large area at the Expo designated for shopping for the latest in outdoor gear and merchandise. Visitors to the Expo also can win a variety of free prizes thanks to the Expo’s generous sponsors.
            In the past, the Expo has drawn crowds from all over Oklahoma, including celebrities like country singer Blake Shelton of Ada.
            “I have been to the Wildlife Expo, and take it from me, it's a lot of fun!” Shelton said.
            This year’s Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. Educators interested in planning a trip to the Wildlife Expo with their students this year should call (918) 299-2334 for more information.
            Expo hours will be from 8 .m. to 6 p.m. each day, Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on the upcoming Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.


Artists wanted for Oklahoma waterfowl stamp design contest
            The Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design contest hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will feature the ringneck in 2010-11, and entries will be accepted from July 1 through Aug. 31, 2009.
            Every year artists from across the country enter their renditions of a pre-selected waterfowl species in the contest, and the winning art is printed on the next year's Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp, which can also serve as an Oklahoma waterfowl hunting license. Oklahoma waterfowl hunting licenses are required of Oklahoma waterfowl hunters, unless exempt.
            “When waterfowl hunters purchase a stamp or a waterfowl license, they are funding on-the-ground habitat work,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “The stamp is a popular item for collectors as well.”
            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, six and a half inches high and nine inches wide. It must be matted with white mat board nine inches high by 12 inches wide with the opening cut precisely 6.5 x 9. Artwork may not be framed or under glass, but acetate covering should be used to protect the art. All artists must depict the ringneck, and any habitat appearing in the design must be typical of Oklahoma. Artists also can include a retriever dog in their entry, as long as the ringneck is the featured element of the artwork. 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 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. Aug. 31.
            The winning artist will receive a purchase award of $1,200, and the winning entry will become the sole and exclusive property of the Wildlife Department.
            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 wildlifedepartment.com.
            For more information about the contest call (405) 521-3856. For a complete list of contest rules, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Wildlife Expo to offer first-hand outdoor opportunities to Oklahomans
             Oklahomans wanting to learn about the outdoors should mark their calendars for the fifth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, slated for Sept. 25-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City.  
            The Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma's largest outdoor recreation event, offering guests the chance to shoot shotguns and archery equipment, ride mountain bikes and ATVs, catch fish in a fully stocked pond, attend seminars about hunting, fishing and camping and more for free.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host Expo. The huge event is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.
            Whether trying the sport of kayaking for the first time or eating a snack at a Dutch oven cooking course, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a full weekend of free outdoor knowledge, skills and experiences as hundreds of volunteers and Wildlife Department employees work to keep the event exciting, educational and entertaining.
            “If you want to try over a hundred outdoor activities, then be at this year's wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27,” said country music star and outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Ada, who has made appearances at the Expo in the past. “If you love to hunt and fish like I do, then take someone to this year's Wildlife Expo."
            The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year's Expo activities.
            This year's Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. Educators interested in planning a trip to the Wildlife Expo with their students this year should call (918) 299-2334 for more information.
Outdoor Marketplace returning to 2009 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo
            For the third year in a row, vendors at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo will be offering their outdoor goods and services to sportsmen interested in the outdoors through its Outdoor Marketplace.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's fifth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is slated for September 25-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. The Wildlife Department will be working with a range of organizations, individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the event —  intended to promote and develop appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources. Last year's Expo drew nearly 40,000 visitors to the Lazy E Arena over the course of three days.
            “The Expo is an event that draws tens of thousands of outdoor-minded individuals who want to learn about the outdoors and try their hand at a number of outdoor activities,” said Rhonda Hurst, Wildlife Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “The Wildlife Department is pleased to offer to Expo visitors a chance to stroll through the Outdoor Marketplace to see the latest in outdoor merchandise. I'm confident this year's Outdoor Marketplace will be well worth checking out.”
            The Outdoor Marketplace is a large area where commercial vendors will be selling their hunting and fishing-related merchandise and services. The Marketplace features vendors under a large tent, but outdoor open-air spaces also are available for displaying larger items such as ATVs and hunting blinds. A 10' x 10' booth space under the tent or a 20' x 20' outside space costs $300. Both include electricity. Nonprofit conservation organizations also will be able to sign up for free booth spaces to promote membership and educate sportsmen about their organizations.
            Along with shopping at the Outdoor Marketplace, Expo visitors will be able to fish, shoot shotguns, kayak, ride mountain bikes, see and touch wildlife, attend dog training seminars and learn about recreation in the great outdoors. They will also be able to win a variety of free prizes thanks to the Expo's generous sponsors.
            “Vendors who want to reach outdoor enthusiasts with their products and services need to be part of the Wildlife Expo's Outdoor Marketplace,” Hurst said. “Don't miss out on this opportunity to participate in the largest outdoor recreational event in the state of Oklahoma.”
            Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on the upcoming Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.
For more information about obtaining a booth in the Outdoor Marketplace or to obtain an application for a booth, contact Rhonda Hurst, Wildlife Expo Coordinator at (405) 522-6279.
Lake Record Update: 11.2-lb. largemouth caught from Sooner Lake
            Angler Bryan Fuksa of Enid caught an 11.2-lb. lake record largemouth bass June 13 from Sooner Lake. The fish was caught on a jig. For more information, log on to the link below. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Lake Record Fish program, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
Sooner Lake
Largemouth bass
Angler: Bryan Fuksa
Date: June 13
Bait: Jig
Photo link: