FEBRUARY 2007 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 22, 2007

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 15, 2007

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 8, 2007

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 1, 2007

Plan now to attend the Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International's annual banquet
            Outdoor enthusiasts can contribute to important projects supported by the Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International by attending their annual banquet Saturday, March 3 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
            “The event plays an important role in generating revenue so that the chapter can in turn lend support to programs for wildlife and outdoor education, said Sam Munhollon, member of the Oklahoma Station chapter’s past president council.
            The Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International offers support and funding to a number of sportsmen’s causes, especially local efforts that benefit the sportsmen and wildlife of Oklahoma. The chapter is a sponsor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo and a donor to the Hunter's Against Hunger program, which oversees the distribution of hunter-harvested venison to needy families.
            The organization also helped fund the purchase of an airboat used by the Wildlife Department on waterfowl surveys and other wetland management tasks, and they provided the Department with a 24-foot trailer for use in the Department's Shotgun Training Education Program (STEP). STEP introduces both youth and adults to shotgun shooting techniques and the proper handling of firearms. Additionally, the chapter purchased eight elk for introduction into an existing herd in southeast Oklahoma.
            The Oklahoma Station of the Safari Club International sponsors the Department's annual youth essay contest. The contest gives youth the opportunity to share their feelings about Oklahoma’s outdoors and gives them the opportunity to win great prizes, including a guided pronghorn antelope hunt in New Mexico.
            One of the highlights of the annual event is the live auction, where bidders have a chance to buy guided hunts in Oklahoma, across the United States and around the world. There also will be a selection of items on the auction block including art, firearms, camping equipment, vacations, jewelry and much more.
            The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3, but registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the event must be purchased by Feb. 27. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is located at 1700 N.E. 63rd St. Oklahoma City 73111.
            For more information or to purchase tickets, call (405) 721-7229, or call toll free 1-800-405-3580. For more information on the Oklahoma Station chapter of the Safari Club International, log on to oklahomastationsci.org.

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NatureWorks to hold annual art show in new location
            Wildlife enthusiasts who look forward to the annual NatureWorks Wildlife Art Show and Sale in Tulsa each year should note that the 2007 show will be held at a new venue.
            Slated for March 3-4 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center, the art show will feature everything from wildlife paintings and photography to sculptures and carvings.
            “Those of us associated with NatureWorks are especially proud of the fact that it is an all-volunteer organization,” said Ken Greenwood, senior executive director of NatureWorks.
            Greenwood said the annual art show is one of the best shows in the nation.
            “It attracts some of the finest artists nationally and internationally,” Greenwood said.
            Art enthusiasts can view entries from last year’s art show by logging on to natureworks.org.
            The annual Wildlife Art Show and Sale, sponsored by NatureWorks, has generated matching grants to assist a variety of state wildlife conservation projects.
            NatureWorks, Inc., located in Tulsa, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting in wildlife conservation efforts and wildlife education opportunities.
            Programs such as the Hunters Against Hunger program, the Harold Stuart Waterfowl Refuge Unit within the Deep Fork Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Grassy Slough WMA have benefited from NatureWorks’ generous support.
            Hours for the NatureWorks Wildlife Art Show and Sale will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 3 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 4. The Tulsa Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center is located at 6808 South 107th East Avenue (71st and US-169). For more information about NatureWorks or the art show, call (918) 296-4278 or log on to natureworks.org.

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Light goose season approaching

Goose hunters don't have to put their waterfowling gear away yet. There is still an opportunity to extend the season and help the arctic ecosystem at the same time. The Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS), designed to reduce the mid-continent light goose population, opens Feb. 19 and runs through March 31.

Populations of light geese, which include snow, blue and Ross' geese, have become so high that they are causing severe habitat destruction to their Arctic breeding grounds. Since 1999, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has cooperated with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the COLGS.

"The COLGS is a step toward maintaining healthier numbers of light geese and reducing their damage to Arctic breeding grounds," said Mike O'Meilia, migratory game bird biologist for the Wildlife Department. "In addition to that, it's a great way to get extra time in the field."

More agricultural crops in the south-central United States means snow geese are living longer and reproducing more, and their overpopulation continues to degrade Arctic habitat. Because snow geese feed by grubbing and pulling out plants by the roots, large numbers can literally destroy extensive areas of tundra.

The season offers no daily limit on light geese, and shooting hours are extended for the season to one half hour after sunset. Waterfowlers also can use electronic calls and unplugged shotguns to increase their chances.

Hunters who participate in the COLGS must use only federally-approved, nontoxic shot as well as have all necessary licenses, waterfowl stamps and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit in their possession while hunting. For complete license information, see the "2006-07 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide" or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

Federal law requires that the Wildlife Department estimate the harvest of light geese during the Conservation Order Light Goose Season. Hunters who plan to pursue snow, blue and Ross' geese during COLGS are asked to register with the Department and provide their name, address and telephone number so a harvest survey can be administered when the COLGS ends.

"We really need the help of sportsmen in order for this season to exist. By registering, they are doing a small part in helping us protect habitat for light geese as well as other waterfowl and arctic wildlife," O'Meilia said.

Hunters can register for the season by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com, or they can mail a letter or postcard to: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; Attn: COLGS; P.O. Box 53465; Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

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Tulsa wildlife monument dedicated to George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center

Tulsa-based NatureWorks has selected the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center as the recipient of its 2007 Wildlife Stewardship Award and is honoring their efforts in conservation research by dedicating a wildlife monument to the City of Tulsa.

NatureWorks is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting in wildlife conservation efforts and education opportunities. Along with offering their support to various wildlife-related causes, the organization regularly honors groups and individuals for their efforts in conservation by dedicating bronze statues to the City of Tulsa. According to NatureWorks' Web site, this year's "Black Mesa Muleys" monument, portraying a buck and a doe mule deer, is the 16th monument dedication and will be placed in Tulsa's River Parks near Galveston Ave. Artist Daniel Parker sculpted the statue.

"The Sutton Center is deeply honored to be the recipient of the NatureWorks 2007 Wildlife Stewardship Award," said Dr. Steve Sherrod, director of the Sutton Center. "Over our 23-year existence, we have been able to contribute to a variety of avian conservation efforts ranging from those directed at native species such as the bald eagle, greater and lesser prairie chickens and a variety of grassland songbirds and raptors."

Located near Bartlesville, the Sutton Center focuses on conservation using science and education.

Several NatureWorks monuments are on display near the Arkansas River in Tulsa, including the recently dedicated "Riverside Mallards" statue located on Riverside Drive just north of 31st Street. The statue, sculpted by artist Ronnie Wells and paid for through the cooperation of NatureWorks and Tulsa resident Mike Geer, honors the work of Ducks Unlimited.

NatureWorks puts on an annual art show in Tulsa, and visitors can slip away to Riverside Drive to view several of the NatureWorks monuments on display. This year's art show is scheduled for March 3-4 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center and will feature everything from wildlife paintings and photography to sculptures and carvings.

The annual NatureWorks Art Show and Sale has generated matching grants to assist a number of state wildlife conservation projects. Programs such as Hunters Against Hunger, the Harold Stuart Waterfowl Refuge Unit within the Deep Fork Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Grassy Slough WMA have benefited from NatureWorks' support.

Hours for the NatureWorks Wildlife Art Show and Sale will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 3 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 4. The Tulsa Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center is located at 6808 South 107th East Avenue (71st and US-169). For more information about NatureWorks or the art show, or to view an image of the "Black Mesa Muleys," log on to natureworks.org.

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Gobbler season approaching; still time to enroll in hunter education class

Spring turkey season opens April 6, so prospective hunters should enroll now in one of several hunter education classes offered in the months of February and March by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"We've got plenty of classes scheduled before turkey season opens," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department. "Taking a class is a great first step to getting prepared for turkey hunting, but people should be scheduling the most convenient classes now so they will be ready to go when the hunting season arrives."

Hunter education classes cover a variety of topics including firearms safety, water safety, survival, archery, muzzleloading, hunter responsibility and wildlife conservation, management and identification.

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1971 must successfully complete a hunter education class before purchasing a hunting license, unless exempt. For a list of exemptions, consult the "2007 Oklahoma Hunting Guide." Youth under 18 years old have the option of participating in the spring youth turkey season open March 31-April 1. The limit is one tom turkey, which counts toward their regular spring season limit. Hunters under 16 years old are exempt from purchasing a hunting license and fishing and hunting legacy permit. Unless exempt, youth turkey hunters must possess a turkey license while in the field.

Hunter education classes are free and are available as either an eight-hour classroom course or home-study course. Classes are scheduled at locations all across the state during February and March, so hunters planning to hunt turkeys in April or early May still have time to enroll. To see a complete listing of available courses, log on to the Wildlife Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

Spring turkey season runs from April 6 to May 6 and offers a generous season limit of three tom turkeys. Hunters who are willing to travel can harvest their limit in one day, but they must be aware of which counties in Oklahoma have either a one- or two-tom limit. Turkeys thrive at many wildlife management areas across the state, giving hunters several choices on where to hunt.

For a complete listing of county harvest limits and spring turkey season regulations, consult the "2007 Oklahoma Hunting Guide."

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Tree seedlings available to Oklahoma landowners for conservation

Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say February is a good time to plant trees and shrubs for wildlife, and one state program has made tree seedlings for conservation available at near cost prices.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry's Forest Regeneration Program makes a variety of seedlings available for landowners who will plant them for conservation purposes such as reforestation, wildlife habitat and erosion control.

"Some landowners of property that was once cleared for farming purposes are now placing more emphasis on wildlife, and planting native trees is a good start toward restoring certain habitats," said Mike Sams, senior wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Department.

The bare root seedlings are available in more than 30 species.

Bare root seedlings purchased through the Forest Regeneration Program are available in minimum orders of 200 seedlings and range in price from $3.80 to $44 per 100 seedlings depending on the species. According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry's Web site, program participants must plant the seeds for "conservation, environmental education and commodity production purposes only."

"It can take a long time for trees to grow, and even longer for mast producing trees to provide a crop," Sams said. "But because of the low cost involved with this program, landowners can get more seedlings planted for less money. You have to start at some point, and wildlife will likely benefit years down the road."

Landowners interested in applying for the seedlings program have until the end of March to get an application. Applications are available by calling the nearest Forestry Services office or the Forest Regeneration Center at (405) 288-2385 or 1-800-517-3673. They also can be e-mailed at frc@oda.state.ok.us. For more information about the Wildlife Department and other landowner programs, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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Lower Mountain Fork River sees most significant rainbow trout stocking in recent years

Recently the lower Mountain Fork River in southeast Oklahoma underwent the most significant rainbow trout stocking it's seen in years, with over 8,000 rainbow trout stocked at several locations.

"Oklahoma's trout fishing has received a lot of attention lately," said Mike Scott, fisheries technician with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who directed the stocking. "But that's because we have good trout fishing opportunities, and with this recent stocking, the fishing is now even better."

The noteworthy load of fish was raised at the Norfolk National Fish Hatchery near Mountain Home, Ark., and was provided to Oklahoma by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The fish released are already ideal for catching.

"There were literally thousands of fish stocked, and most of them were around 11 inches in length," said Scott. "Considering this sizeable stocking and all the recent stream projects on the lower Mountain Fork River, this is a special time for trout anglers in our state."

Department fisheries technicians from the Durant and Holdenville state fish hatcheries transported the rainbows from the hatchery in Arkansas to stocking sites along the lower Mountain Fork River.

Stocking sites included the Lost Creek and Evening Hole areas, Beavers Bend State Park area and below the Re-regulation and Old Park dams.

For more information and regulations on trout fishing at the lower Mountain Fork River, consult the "2007 Oklahoma Fishing Guide" or log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Anglers also can keep up with fishing conditions at the lower Mountain Fork River and other state waters by receiving the Department's weekly Fishing Report and Wildlife News. To subscribe, log on to the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com

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"Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine still accepting digital photos for Showcase

Photographers have until March 31 to submit their digital outdoor photographs for the Readers' Photography Showcase issue of "Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine.

"We've received a lot of submissions already, but we hope both amateur and professional photographers will keep sending us their best shots," said Nels Rodefeld, "Outdoor Oklahoma" editor.

This year's Showcase will be the first year the magazine will be accepting only digital photograph submissions.

Editors are hoping to display a theme of "faces in outdoors" in the special issue to show hunters, anglers, kids and other outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the outdoors, but photographers are not limited to photographs of people.

"Even though we want to show Oklahomans out there enjoying the outdoors, we will still display a broad range of images that capture the state's wildlife and natural landscapes," Rodefeld said. "From sunsets to insects, readers have all kinds of opportunities to snap a photograph for this year's Showcase, and we hope they will share them with us."

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 www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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2007 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo to include new Outdoor Marketplace

Oklahomans interested in the outdoors should mark their calendars now for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's third annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo slated for September 28-30 at the Lazy E Arena.

The Wildlife Department will be working with a range of organizations, individuals and outdoor-related companies to host the Expo - an event intended to promote and develop appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources.

"The Expo is the state's largest indoor and outdoor recreation event," said Greg Duffy, director of the Wildlife Department. "Literally thousands of people get a chance to enjoy the outdoors and maybe experience something new."

Among many other activities, 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.

New this year, the Expo will feature the Outdoor Marketplace, a large tent where commercial vendors will be selling their hunting and fishing-related merchandise, services and memberships to outdoor organizations.

"We are confident that the Outdoor Marketplace will be a good addition to the Expo," Duffy said. "It will be one more thing for visitors to enjoy, and it will give Oklahoma's outdoor businesses one more way to showcase their products and services at an event that offers maximum exposure to the state's outdoor-minded individuals."

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.

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Applications available now for Wildlife Department Youth Camp

Youth interested in wildlife, fisheries and law enforcement can apply now to attend the ninth annual Oklahoma Wildlife Department Youth Camp scheduled for June 10-15.

"This camp is free, and youth get a chance to learn about several interesting careers in wildlife conservation," said Jon Cunningham, camp coordinator and Oklahoma game warden stationed in Payne County.

Held at Camp McFadden near Ponca City, the camp is open to Oklahoma youths ages 14 to 16 and is designed to give an increased awareness of protecting and managing Oklahoma's wildlife resources. Participants will attend courses in firearms handling, wildlife law enforcement, wildlife and fisheries biology, water safety, self-defense, rifle and shotgun training, waterfowl hunting and archery.

The camp is free of charge, but will be limited to 35 participants. Applicants should be interested in fish and wildlife management or law enforcement and must submit a 75-word essay explaining why they want to attend the camp, why they believe they should be selected and what they expect to learn while attending. They must also submit a letter of recommendation from a person of their choice other than a family member.

The application deadline is April 27, and applicants must turn 14 prior to June 10, 2007. Obtain applications by logging on to the Wildlife Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Simply print off the application, fill it out and mail it in with the essay and letter of recommendation to: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Law Enforcement Division Youth Camp, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

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Wildlife Department employment exam scheduled?

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be holding an open employment exam Friday, March 30. Taking the test is the first step in the hiring process for individuals seeking positions as game wardens, biologists, fish hatchery assistant managers or technicians with the Department.

The standardized employment exam is set for 10 a.m. at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium located on the Rose State College campus. The Center is located immediately north of I-40 on Hudiburg Road in Midwest City. The exam is free, and participants must have photo identification upon check-in. Late arrivals will not be permitted to enter the examination room after 10 a.m.

Specific job and education requirements for Department positions as well as suggested study material for the exams are listed on the Department's official Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com

Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period. Test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date, and top scorers will be invited to submit an employment application. When a job opening becomes available, selected applicants from the test register will be scheduled for an interview. For more information, contact the Wildlife Department's Human Resources office at (405) 521-4640.

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