Archived Weekly Wildlife News

Produced by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Sign up for the Weekly News Release via e-mail

If you are with the media please call (405) 521-4630 to sign up. 

 

July 2013

 


July 5, 2013
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Calling all volunteers to help create fishing memories for children with illnesses
Boat-owning volunteers are needed July 11 and also July 13 to help take a group of children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses fishing on Lake Texoma as part of Camp Cavett.
Camp Cavett is a weeklong camp that offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses. Each year, part of the week's festivities includes fishing on the lake, for which anglers and boaters from across Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana volunteer their time and their boats to spend time fishing with the campers.
According to Larry Cavett, past president and current board member emeritus of the Cavett Kids Foundation, the camp helps kids learn coping skills due to the education process entwined in camp activities.
"Camp Cavett is a place where these children can come together and have fun while learning crucial life lessons from one another," Cavett states in a letter to volunteers.
"We ask our kids, 'What activity is the most fun you had at camp?' Their answer is usually 'fishing,'" Cavett said. "These kids are resilient. They slowly walk to dialysis, then run back to their favorite event of the day. These kids could give adults lasting lessons in life on how to cope with what life has dealt them."
According to Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and active volunteer for the Camp Cavett fishing days, the campers that come to Camp Cavett may have endured some tough times, but just like any other kid, they love to go fishing and take a boat ride.
Getting the opportunity to go through Camp Cavett gets campers involved in the outdoors, giving them something to look forward to at camp and broadening their appreciation for the natural world. Both campers and volunteers have a great time on the fishing outings.
This year, the group will target stripers on Thursday, July 11 and black bass on Saturday, July 13, but overall, the fishing event is a "fish-for-anything" derby, with prizes for campers who catch the largest black bass, panfish, catfish, striped bass or rough fish. A free cookout is provided for all participants and volunteers following the day's outing on the lake.
Boaters and anglers interested in participating can register as volunteers online at http://cavettkidsfoundation.org/volunteers.
Each boat will be assigned up to three campers and a counselor, depending on boat capacity. Tackle, bait and life jackets for campers are provided, though boaters are encouraged to bring additional life jackets if they have them in sizes adult small or adult medium. About 75 volunteers and boats will be needed for the event.

 


July 5, 2013
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation


New system in place to alleviate water shortage problems at popular fishery
Several partners teamed up recently on a project to help alleviate chronic water shortages and water quality problems in the Lower Illinois River trout fishery below the Lake Tenkiller dam.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently worked with other agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southwestern Power Administration, as well as sportsmen's groups such as the Indian Nations Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Tulsa Fly Fishers to put in place a new system to provide water and oxygenation to the river during periods of low flow. Also, a system has been put in place to monitor downstream water quality.
Currently, none of Lake Tenkiller's water is allocated for managing the popular fishery. Instead, the Wildlife Department has relied on a limited supply of water made available by other water storage rights holders, such as Sequoyah Fuels, and even then only during sporadic water releases. Leakage in the dam had provided some water flow as well until being repaired recently, leaving the Wildlife Department with access to just two hours of water flow or less per day for managing the 7.75 miles of trout fishery.
The inability to secure adequate water flow from the dam has caused problems for the fishery, including low dissolved oxygen levels, toxic algae blooms and significant fish kills. Studies indicate the fishery has an economic impact of up to $5 million per year. Local businesses may feel the ache of the water shortages as much as the fishery itself.
The new system, which was recently unveiled at a ceremony held among partners at the site of the project, includes a low-flow pipeline that the Wildlife Department can use to deliver borrowed water to the river even when the dam isn't generating water flow.
"This pipeline allows us to make more efficient use of available water," said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. "Prior to construction of the pipeline, we were unable to control the volume of water released. With the ability to more closely monitor water releases, we can more effectively manage water quality downstream."
Additionally, a dissolved oxygen enhancement system has been provided to increase oxygen in the water immediately below the dam. Paired with the water provided by the new pipeline, this system can help prevent the conditions that have resulted in fish kills in the past. Monitoring stations set up at 13 downstream locations can help managers track water conditions as well.
"The system we've put in place will conserve water and improve dissolved oxygen levels, meaning better management, effective prevention of fish kills and improved fishing for anglers," Bolton said.
Though the new system will help address the issues facing the fishery, Bolton said a long-term solution is still needed, which must include a dependable source of water to maintain the fishery down the stream.
Established in 1965 as mitigation for the construction of Tenkiller Dam, the Illinois River trout fishery has become a recreational and economic staple for the region. While finding a solution to water shortages in the river poses unique challenges, Bolton said the Wildlife Department is committed to the survival of the fishery and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure quality fishing for those who depend on the fishery for recreation and business.


July 8, 2013
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation


Controlled Hunt results to be available online July 10
Applicants for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Controlled Hunts program can access results starting July 10 by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com.
When checking the results, applicants will be prompted to enter their last name, birthday, and the number they used on the original application (either their Social Security or driver's license number). The system will only access the Controlled Hunts results database when the correct number matches with the hunter's other information.
Sportsmen also can check their results at computer terminals available at the Department's headquarters and at certain regional offices during those offices' regular business hours. Contact information for Wildlife Department field offices are available at wildlifedepartment.com. In addition, many local libraries offer Internet access to library cardholders. Applicants should check with their local library for Internet services and user-policies. Successful applicants will also be notified by mail.
The opportunity to hunt on some of Oklahoma's most unique and desirable hunting properties have made the Department's controlled hunts program one of the most popular programs in the country.
This year more than 27,000 applications were submitted for about 5,800 permits available through the Controlled Hunts program. Hunters not selected for a hunt in a certain category for which they applied receive a preference point for that category. Each preference point earned by not drawing a hunt in a certain category acts like an extra application the next time the hunter applies for that same category.
For more information about the Wildlife Department's Controlled Hunts program, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

 

July 16, 2013
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation


RECORD BASS STOCKING EFFORT GIVES 44 LAKES A GENETIC BOOST

Over a three-week period this spring, the Fisheries Division of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation released a record-setting 2.22 million Florida-strain largemouth bass (FLMB) into 44 Oklahoma lakes.
This year's exceptional FLMB production at three of the state's fish hatcheries doubled what would be expected in an average year, said Cliff Sager, a senior biologist with the Wildlife Department.
"We had a good situation this year by having so many fish," Sager said, which resulted in many more lakes being stocked than would have been stocked in an average year. "Being able to stock 44 lakes, to give so many lakes a shot in the arm with the Florida genetics, that just increased the potential for trophy bass production for years to come."
Ike McKay, FMLB project leader at the Durant State Fish Hatchery, credits better spawning and handling techniques being used by hatchery technicians as being one major reason for this year's bumper crop of FMLB. Improved techniques have allowed record fish production the past two years, and McKay credits "the commitment and cooperation of everyone involved."
The outstanding numbers from 2013 eclipsed the previous production record set in 2012, when the Fisheries Division stocked 1.74 million FLMB in 27 state lakes.
The Wildlife Department began stocking Florida-strain bass in Oklahoma waters in the 1970s, with the goal of introducing the strain's genetics into local populations. The Florida bass grow larger than native strains, but they also are not as tolerant of cooler temperatures.
"Oklahoma is really right on the line of where you can expect Florida bass to be successful," Sager said. Lakes in the southern half of Oklahoma have shown much greater success in sustaining Florida-strain bass. "There's a reason Cedar Lake (in southeastern Oklahoma) has broken the state record the past two years."
Stocking sites are chosen by a committee of biologists and technicians based on many criteria. The committee considers the documented success in trophy bass production, as well as angler pressure. Also, lakes with better habitat for bass are more likely to be stocked than lakes where good bass habitat doesn't exist.
Sager said growing trophy bass in a particular lake "is an eight- to 10-year investment." Therefore, the Wildlife Department concentrates on the waters that hold the most promise for producing trophy bass.
All of the Florida-strain bass that the Department stocks are spawned in the Durant hatchery. Most of the fish are raised there, but some of the fry are distributed to state hatcheries in Byron and Holdenville for raising. The state's fourth hatchery at Medicine Park gets involved by helping to deliver FLMB fry and fingerlings to the various lakes for stocking.
"It truly is a coordinated effort to raise and stock that many fish over a short period of time," Sager said. "It speaks to the dedication of the Wildlife Department to improve our fisheries resources."
To see a list of the 44 lakes stocked with FLMB this year and how many fish they received, go online to www.wildlifedepartment.com/fishing/surveys.htm and click on "2013 Largemouth Bass Stocking Report."

 

July 19, 2013
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife food plot and deer management workshops planned
Wildlife food plots and deer management are important topics to many Oklahoma hunters, and this summer and fall sportsmen can attend a demonstration and a workshop to learn more about both.
A wildlife food plot demonstration hosted by Oklahoma State University Extension and several seed companies will take place from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 in Slaughterville. The OSU Extension along with Ross Seed, The Whitetail Institute, Mossy Oak/Biologic, Eagle Seed, Pennington, Tecomate and Evolved Harvest will team up for the event to plant acres of their seed blends, and the public is welcome to attend and learn more about which seed blends stand up best to deer pressure. Copies of tissue and soil sample results will be on hand, and the landowner will discuss the planting process and his plans for managing deer on his property.
To get to the site, travel 4.6 miles east on Slaughterville Road from the Shamrock station at the intersection of Hwy 77 and Slaughterville Road (south of Norman/Noble). Immediately to the north, look for the white OSU sign. Turn in to the gate and follow the road north. For more information or for trouble locating the demonstration site, call OSU at (405) 321-4774. Attendees should plan to arrive at 3 p.m. and should wear proper attire and bug spray. For questions or to RSVP email Cherry Slaughter at cherry.slaughter@okstate.edu.
Additionally, a whitetail deer management seminar will be by OSU Extension and the Noble Foundation from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Fry Auditorium/Sutton Wilderness in Norman. The workshop will provide key insights into behavior, nutrition and biology to help understand and manage deer in Oklahoma.
Registration is $15 and includes lunch, or participants can register and receive a book on managing for deer in the Cross Timbers region for $35. More information is available at http://www.noble.org/events/ag/ and payment can by arranged by contacting Jackie Kelley at (580) 224-6360 or jmkelley@noble.org.
Biologists for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation also will be on hand at the events to discuss deer management with attendees.
Countless properties across Oklahoma are being purchased for recreation, and many of these landowners are planting food plots and attempting to manage deer herds. These events are intended to help these landowners in maximizing their efforts.