Volume 3 • Issue 8 • August 2009

Wildlife Expo 2009

Wildlife to Offer First-hand Outdoor Opportunities to Oklahomans

Mark your calendar 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, and you and your family can get to shoot a shotgun and archery equipment, ride a mountain bike and ATV, catch fish in a fully stocked pond, attend seminars about hunting, fishing and camping and more for free.

 Whether trying the sport of kayaking for the first time or eating a snack at a Dutch oven cooking course, you can 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.
Even the simplest things can excite a child at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.

“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 is hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and 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.

Written by Micah Holmes. Micah is an information supervisor with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area

The Beautiful Waters of Southern Oklahoma

Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area is located eight miles northeast of Tishomingo in Johnston County.  Covered in postoak and blackjack oak with occasional openings, the area attracts many species of wildlife.

The area around Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area has many scenic views.
Matt Gamble, biologist at Blu River, has been successful at implementing a prescribed fire plan.  This plan focuses on producing native wildlife foods such as ragweed and sunflower, although some small grains are planted.

Some of the more popular game species on Blue River include cottontail rabbits, whitetail deer, bobwhite quail, dove, Rio Grande turkeys and furbearers such as coyote, bobcat and raccoons.

With so much water, bald eagles can sometimes be seen on Blue River, but a short trip over to Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge will almost always provide you with a chance. 

Did we mention that Blue River has a little water?  Well, with water comes fish.  Fishing opportunities are abundant here.  In fact, trout are stocked every two weeks from November through March 1st. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you don't have a fishing license you must obtain a Blue River Passport.

We highly recommend that you give Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area a try.  For more information contact the area biologist Matt Gamble at (580) 443-5728.

Written by Lesley B. Carson. Lesley is a wildlife diversity information specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The Dog Days of Summer

The Birds Need Water Too

Water becomes increasingly important to wildlife as the hot, dry days of summer progress.  Animals have a myriad of physiological and behavioral adaptations that help their bodies conserve water, and there are many amphibians, some reptiles and even a few mammals that burrow underground and go dormant during the height of the summer.  But regardless of their adaptations, all wildlife needs water, especially in the summer, and will take advantage of it where it’s available.

A bird bath is the easiest and most conventional way to provide water.  These are usually shallow dishes of water on a raised pedestal that are easily accessible to flying birds.  A bird bath fits the needs of most birds perfectly because they seek out water that is clean and only one to three inches deep for drinking and bathing.   But what about the wildlife in our yards that can’t fly up to or reach a bird bath?  Water is still important to them, and the bird bath concept is still very applicable!  An upside-down trash can lid, or a water-catching saucer that fits under a flowerpot can be used to make a great wildlife bath for ground-dwelling species such as rabbits, turtles and toads.  Find a spot in the yard with sparse groundcover and some shade – an area under a tree or shrub is perfect.  Take a shovel and dig a very shallow scrape – just a few inches deep – into which you can place a trashcan lid or similar, shallow container for water.  Use a rock or brick to weigh it down and fill it with one to three inches of water.  You will quickly have a small water hole that will be visited by squirrels, rabbits and many birds.  It is very important to keep clean every source of water that you provide for wildlife.  Many individual animals may visit your water each day and it can quickly become dirty.  The water should be emptied and replaced daily or at least every two days.

Over the past 15 years, misting systems and water drippers have become common place items in garden centers, feed stores and bird stores.  A misting device can be attached to the end of a garden hose to provide a steady mist or fog that is especially attractive to birds that will bathe and cool off in it.  A dripper is another item that can be placed on the end of a garden hose and then attached to the side of a bird bath or saucer.  It steadily provides drips of water that create soft splashes when they land.  This sound helps to attract birds and it will help keep the bath filled.  Both of these can help improve the “visibility” of a wildlife bath, although the mister can be bath and cooler by itself and used independently of a bird bath or saucer.

Written by Mark Howery. Mark is a wildlife diversity biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

OKLAHOMA WILDLIFE EXPO! September 25-27 8 PM - 6 PM Each Day

Our Mission:

The WILDLIFE DIVERSITY PROGRAM monitors and manages the state's wildlife and fish species that are not hunted or fished.