Commissioners Updated on ODWC Marketing Efforts
During their regular February meeting, Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners viewed a presentation of the past year’s marketing efforts and how they have contributed to operations of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Senior Information Specialist Michael Bergin outlined how partnerships, donors, targeted email campaigns and digital ads have encouraged participation in outdoor activities, which helps ODWC in its mission to manage and conserve the fish and wildlife of the state, along with their habitats.
In other business:
- Commissioners viewed a presentation about native, nongame fish species and potential effects of bowfishing on those populations. Senior Fisheries Biologist Jason Schooley recently published research on the topic, which is very scarce nationally. He said these native fish do not compete with game fish, and some of these species can live very long lives (alligator gars, 98 years; bigmouth buffalo, 106 years) in the wild. He also said the females of these species are the oldest and largest, and they have the greatest effect on sustainable populations. However, the older and larger nongame fish are often the preferred targets for bowfishers.
- Scott Alls, Oklahoma state director of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, updated Commissioners on efforts to control feral hogs. Alls said lethal baits will be tested this spring in other states, using bait boxes that can be opened remotely when swine are present. Pending successful testing, Alls said he expects that control method will be approved for widespread use.
- Legislative Liaison Corey Jager summarized the 30 wildlife-related bills that have been filed for the current session of the Oklahoma Legislature. Among those are SB 774, which is an ODWC-request bill to allow the Department to overhaul its license structure, and HB 2721 to prohibit the waste of edible meat from wildlife.
- Director J.D. Strong reported on ODWC’s activities in various divisions since the previous meeting, including plans for a virtual Rack Madness event Feb. 22-26 on social media. The weeklong series of live feeds will focus on topics such as how to score typical and nontypical racks, and discussions about the most recent deer seasons.
Go online to https://youtu.be/G53EwuftC74 to view a video recording of the meeting.
The next regular Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. March 1, 2021, at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City.