APRIL 2011 NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF APRIL 28, 2011

 

WEEK OF APRIL 21, 2011

 

WEEK OF APRIL 14, 2011

 

WEEK OF APRIL 7, 2011

Wildlife law enforcement and education efforts receive a boost from SCI
            Safari Club International (SCI) is known for supporting conservation and sportsmen, including their Oklahoma Station Chapter’s generous support for many initiatives of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Their most recent contribution to Oklahoma sportsmen is a $25,000 commitment to the Department’s Operation Game Thief program in the form of $15,000 over three years from the Oklahoma Station Chapter and $10,000 over two years from the national chapter. The donation will be used by the Operation Game Thief program to emphasize education of young and adult Oklahomans in the importance of game laws to the future of wildlife and hunting in Oklahoma.
            The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to accept a $10,000 portion of that amount at its April meeting, which will be used to build an Operation Game Thief exhibit trailer for displaying deer antlers and taxidermy confiscated from poachers by the Wildlife Department. The trailers will be used at events across the state to educate Oklahomans about game laws.
            SCI’s active Oklahoma Station Chapter held its 26th Annual Awards Banquet and Charity Fundraiser on March 5 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  This premier event was a sell-out, attended by over 500 sportsmen and women; and it featured a live auction where bidders bought guided hunts around the globe, ranging from waterfowl hunts in Oklahoma and a variety of whitetail deer hunts in several states and Canada to big game hunts in Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, and South America, and fishing trips from Alaska to Patagonia. Other auction items included beautiful bronze wildlife sculptures and other outdoor art, items especially for ladies, firearms, hunting gear and much more.
            “This was a heart-warming turnout of Oklahoma sportsmen and women and many of their out-of-state friends,” said Mike Mistelske, retiring president of SCI’s Oklahoma Station Chapter. “We were literally sold out weeks in advance — a first in the 26-year history of this event — and a testimony to the strong commitment of today’s Oklahoma hunters to continuing our hunting heritage.  Funding from this one event is largely what enables us to support ODWC projects throughout the year, and that so many Oklahomans turned out for our banquet and auction bodes well for our future.  We are already planning the 2012 event, again at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum the first Saturday in March.”
            The Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International offers support and funding to many local conservation efforts that benefit the sportsmen and wildlife of Oklahoma. The chapter is a major supporter of many projects conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, including the Hunters Against Hunger program that coordinates the annual distribution of over 30,000 of pounds of venison to needy families; the Wildlife Department’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, which educates tens of thousands of Oklahomans each year on the value of wildlife and the outdoors to quality of life in Oklahoma; and the Department's Shotgun Training Education Program (STEP), which introduces both youth and adults to shotgun shooting techniques and the proper handling of firearms.
            For more information on the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International, log on to oklahomastationsci.org.
            The Commission also voted to set new dates for the state’s antelope archery season.
            This fall, the antelope archery season will start Oct. 1 and will run for 14 days, whereas the season had previously been held in September.
            According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department, the state has always had antelope in the Panhandle and the Wildlife Department works to provide maximum hunting opportunities. Like with elk in southwest Oklahoma, the Department works with landowners in antelope-populated areas of the Panhandle to address depredation concerns.
            Up until 2009, antelope hunting in Oklahoma had been limited to those offered through the Wildlife Department’s controlled hunts program, in which a select number of hunters are drawn for an antelope hunt, or through a limited number of landowner permits. Antelope hunts drawn through the controlled hunts program are “once-in-a-lifetime” rifle hunts, meaning that once a hunter draws out for the hunt, they become ineligible for future controlled antelope hunts. But in 2009, the first over-the-counter antelope licenses were sold for a 14-day archery season that did not require hunters to be drawn to hunt and that hunters could participate in year after year. The season was held before the completion of some of the once-in-a-lifetime hunts.
            While the open archery season hunts have been successful, landowners and constituents have requested that the Wildlife Department move the archery season back to allow hunters who draw the once-in-a-lifetime controlled hunts the first chance to go afield.
            The Wildlife Department actively monitors its antelope herd. Recent aerial counts have shown as many as 3,100 antelope in the hunt area, and hunters harvested only 257 antelope last year.
            “We’re harvesting less than 10 percent of our antelope herd,” Peoples said. “And our antelope herd is doing great.”
            According to Peoples, up to 20 percent of the herd could be harvested annually without concerns.
            To learn more about antelope hunting in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
            In other business, the Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with the University of Central Oklahoma to continue the Project WILD program. Project WILD is a wildlife-based conservation and environmental education program that was conducted by the Wildlife Department for more than 20 years and has been operated by UCO, with funding from the Wildlife Department, for the past three years.
            “In those three years, we’ve seen the program grow,” said Mark Herrin, assistant vice president of wellness and sport at UCO.
            Herrin said the program has been incorporated into the academic curriculum of college students who are studying to become educators.
            “We’re actually training the teachers now before they go into the field, and we think that is a real plus,” he said. “In addition to that, we are continuing to work with teachers who are already in the classroom. This is another opportunity for them to bring a cutting edge program to the classroom.”
            The Commission also voted to support the concept of a partnership with the Medicine Park Museum of Natural Sciences in southwest Oklahoma. The Medicine Park Museum of Natural Sciences is a native wildlife zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens scheduled to open in 2012 or 2013 at Medicine Park. The museum is expected to become a component of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge eco-tourism appeal as well as a supplement to education in southwest Oklahoma and family destination. The future site of the museum will be located on Hwy 49 near the entrance to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
            “Our mission is conservation through education, bringing people, nature and science together,” said Doug Kemper, executive director for the museum.
            The museum will focus on educating visitors about conservation through living exhibits, wildlife biology, hands-on activities, global issues and more in a rustic southwest Oklahoma setting.
            The Wildlife Department will most likely provide funding for construction of exhibits at the museum focusing on the mission of the Wildlife Department and in-kind services for the museum.
            The Commission also voted to approve a two-year extension on its May 2008 resolution to close to the waters of the state to commercial turtle harvest. The moratorium had been put in place to allow researchers at Southeastern Oklahoma State and at Oklahoma State universities to investigate impacts of commercial harvest in Oklahoma.
            The Commission also heard a presentation from Colin Berg, information and education supervisor for the Wildlife Department, on the agency’s various education programs such as Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools (OKNASP), aquatic resources education, hunter education and the Explore Bowhunting program, all of which are designed to introduce people — and especially youth — to the outdoors, conservation, and hunting and fishing.
            The Wildlife Department works to implement these education programs into schools, and according to Berg, educators have success incorporating the programs into their class work. The Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools Program, for example, has been introduced to thousands of students in about 250 schools across the state. Over 1,150 students recently participated in the OKNASP state shoot at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City after a season of practice at their schools.
            Finally, the Commission heard a presentation on the elk population status on private lands in southwest Oklahoma. Two distinct elk herds have been identified on private lands in Comanche, Caddo and Kiowa counties by animals that left the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and established on private lands. The Wildlife Department works with those landowners to manage the elk to provide hunting opportunity and manage depredation impacts.
            Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor for the Wildlife Department, said the agency meets periodically with landowners in the area to discuss their needs and desires and how those fit into sound conservation of the private lands elk herds. Through the years, Smith said the Wildlife Department has liberalized private lands elk hunting considerably, resulting in 55 days of open cow elk hunting each year as well as opportunities to harvest mature bulls.
            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., May 2, at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.
 
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Controlled Hunts application online now
            Offering once-in-a-lifetime elk and antelope hunts, highly sought-after buck hunts, and a range of other quality deer, turkey, quail and coon hunts, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s controlled hunts program is a valuable resource for sportsmen, and now is the time for hunters to submit applications.
            The online application process takes just a few minutes and must be completed through the Wildlife Department’s website at wildlifedepartment.com. The cost is $5, and applicants have until May 15 to apply.
            “For just $5, you can get drawn for a bull elk hunt in Oklahoma’s rugged Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration and finance for the Wildlife Department. “The same $5 can put your name in the hat for an antelope hunt in the Panhandle, a deer hunt in some of the best habitat in the state, or even a unique gobbler hunt. You just can’t beat this opportunity.”
            The controlled hunts program offers a wide variety of highly desirable hunts through a random drawing. Opportunities offered through the program include hunts on Department or other government-owned or managed lands where unrestricted hunting would pose safety concerns or where overharvest might occur.
            All applicants, including lifetime license holders, must pay the $5 application fee to enter the controlled hunts drawings. The fee is paid only once per person per year regardless of the number of categories entered.
            Applications are offered online through a secure process that only accepts applications once they have been filed correctly, and a print-out confirmation page is available for sportsmen to document their submitted application.
            For complete application instructions, including tips on enhancing your chances of being selected as well as a full listing of available hunts for elk, deer, antelope, turkey, quail and raccoon, log on to
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com
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Lake records filling the books this spring
            With the onset of spring comes the onset of increased fishing activity, and with that comes increased entries into the books of Oklahoma’s lake record fish program.
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So while anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, they also have a chance of putting their name in a record book.
            Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass. Minimum weights are set for each species and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on wildlifedepartment.com.
            Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            An easily-operated search feature is available on the website that allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from the size of record fish caught to what kind of bait or rod and reel was used to catch them.
            All past and current state record fish are registered in the lake record fish program as records for their respective lakes.
            For more information about the lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
Recent Lake Records
 
Lake: Arbuckle
Species: blue catfish
Weight: 50.1 lbs.
Angler: Bobby Pope
Date caught: March 11
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1099

Lake: Holdenville
Species: largemouth bass
Weight: 9.8 lbs.
Angler: Allan Brooks
Date caught: March 19
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1094   
 
Lake: Hefner
Species: blue catfish
Weight: 41 lbs.
Angler: Robert Young
Date caught: March 19
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1091
 
Lake: Arcadia
Species: striped bass hybrid
Weight: 12.5 lbs.
Angler: Jeff Smith
Date caught: March 26
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1106
 
Lake: Tenkiller
Species: crappie
Weight: 2.4 lbs.
Angler: Joe Duncan
Date caught: March 31
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1097
 
Lake: Canton
Species: walleye/saugeye/sauger
Weight: 9.5 lbs.
Angler: Hunter McDonald
Date caught: April 1
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1098
 
 
Lake: Broken Bow
Species: spotted bass
Weight: 3.7 lbs.
Angler: Pat Underwood, Jr.
Date caught: April 2
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1101
 
Lake: Fort Gibson
Species: striped bass hybrid
Weight: 9.3 lbs.
Angler: Dennis White
Date caught: April 3
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1100
 
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Detailed maps feature Oklahoma public hunting land in new WMA Atlas
            Thousands of Oklahoma sportsmen have already discovered the usefulness of the new Wildlife Management Area Atlas from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and are using the 100-page book to explore Oklahoma’s public hunting land.
            Back by popular demand, this page-by-page guide to Oklahoma’s public lands features topographical maps of almost every wildlife management area in the state.
            “The new wildlife atlas is tough, durable, and will show hunters and fisherman where to go and how to get there,” said Erik Bartholomew, wildlife biologist for the Wildlife Department.  “This is a great reference for any hunter or fisherman using our state-managed areas.”
            Each alphabetically listed color map depicts an Oklahoma WMA, using symbols to show roads, parking areas, designated campsites, food plots, rivers, ponds, wetland development units, non-ambulatory zones, boat ramps, area entrances, shooting ranges, county boundaries and more. Additionally, acreage and contact information for each area is listed on the same page as the map. If a hunter is interested in visiting a WMA, the atlas provides all the tools needed to understand the area, its topography and its boundaries, and a detailed set of driving directions to each WMA is listed in the back of the atlas. Additionally, index pages show where each featured WMA is located in the state, and a glossary of terms helps sportsmen distinguish differences between land usage terms such as “wildlife management area” (WMA), “game management area” (GMA), “national recreation area” (NRA), “wetland development unit” (WDU), “waterfowl refuge portion” (WRP) and others.
            The “Oklahoma Wildlife Management Area Atlas” can be purchased for $25, which includes a free one-year subscription to Outdoor Oklahoma magazine, the official magazine of the Wildlife Department. Outdoor Oklahoma features everything related to hunting, fishing, wildlife watching and conservation in Oklahoma. Readers can catch the first glimpse of the Wildlife Department’s annual “Big Game Report, get insider tips on fishing from the magazine’s annual “Anglers’ Guide,” and read a range of articles and news about the outdoors in Oklahoma. Game meat recipes, how-to articles, stunning photography and more are all included.
            The new atlases are available at the Wildlife Department headquarters in Oklahoma City (1801 N. Lincoln Blvd) and the Department’s Jenks office (300 S. Aquarium Dr). Copies can also be ordered by phone at (405) 521-3856, and order forms can be downloaded from wildlifedepartment.com and mailed in with a check. To order by mail, send a check or money order for $25 along with an “Outdoor Store” order form from wildlifedepartment.com to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152 (specify address to which atlas should be mailed and, if different, the address to which the subscription to Outdoor Oklahoma magazine should be credited).
            For more information about hunting in Oklahoma, log on to the Wildlife Department’s website at wildlifedepartment.com.
 


Photo Caption: Back by popular demand, the “Oklahoma Wildlife Management Area Atlas” features topographical maps of almost every wildlife management area in the state. At almost 100 pages, the atlas depicts special features on each WMA such as roads, parking areas, designated campsites, food plots, ponds, wetland development units, non-ambulatory zones and more.
 
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Fish identification workshops in southeast Oklahoma to benefit even experienced anglers
            While most fish are easily identified, even an experienced angler may need help at times determining the exact species of fish they have caught. At two upcoming fish identification workshops in southeast Oklahoma, personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will focus on instructing adult anglers to distinguish between a number of commonly misidentified fish.
            Small subtleties, unusual coloring among individuals, out-of-the-norm features and occasional hybridization are just a few of the things that could make species identification a challenge.
            “Most people get their knowledge of fish from family, friends, neighbors and fellow anglers,” said Don Groom, southeast region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “For the most part, this knowledge is ‘close enough.’”
            Still, the workshops will cover areas of special concern to Oklahoma anglers, such as subtle differences in fish species that have different sets of regulations. Species like black bass and black bass hybrids, for example, may not always appear different to the untrained eye, but knowing the difference can impact daily harvest limits for anglers. For example, largemouth bass may look similar to spotted bass, but in most cases daily limits set for largemouths but no daily limits on spotted bass.
            “During the workshop, anglers will be encouraged to ask questions along the way and should expect to leave with more confidence in their ability to identify a fish, and more importantly, be able to pass better than ‘close enough’ information on to their family, friends, neighbors and fellow anglers,” Groom said.
            Groom and his fellow Wildlife Department fisheries personnel will be on hand to discuss the differences between black bass, but also others such white bass, yellow bass, striped bass, hybrids and catfish. They will also cover differences between snakeheads and bowfins.
            One workshop will be held at 7 p.m. April 25 at the Broken Bow Library, and the other will be held at 7 p.m. April 26 at the Hugo Library. The workshops are free, and registration is not required.
            For more information, contact the Wildlife Department’s southeast region office at (918) 297-0153 or Don Groom at (918) 686-3249.
 
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Birding and Heritage Festival offers outdoor fun in Alfalfa County
            April 15 – 16 marks the annual Cherokee Birding and Heritage Festival held throughout Alfalfa County in northwest Oklahoma. The event features activities in multiple locations with one common goal — enjoying what nature has to offer.
            The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet is hosting a full weekend of family fun at this year's Birding & Crystal Festival. For more than 11 years, this event has drawn crowds of people, and this year it will serve as an exciting rendezvous point for the Birding and Heritage Festival. Activities will range from archery and casting contests to crystal digging contests, birding tours and much more. The refuge's visitor center will be open all weekend, featuring a number of crystal exhibits detailing this unique natural gem in northwest Oklahoma.
            Star-gazing, nature tours and opportunities for wildlife photography, plus a wealth of outdoor activities like trapshooting with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, reptile rehabilitation with live snakes and lizards, and birdwatching around the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge will be available with a  family atmosphere.
            As part of the weekend event, families can learn about the lesser prairie chicken at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Byron Watchable Wildlife Area. They can also go on a prairie chicken scavenger hunt and have the opportunity to make a bluebird house to take home with them. In the evening, they can look for bats with Alabaster Caverns State Park and listen to their echolocation around the nature center.
            For directions to Byron Hatchery WWA, log on to the Wildlife Department’s website at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com  or call (405) 990-4977. For more information about the Festival, call (580) 626-4794 or log on to travelok.com.
 
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State record paddlefish reeled in this spring
            A paddlefish that was caught April 10 has become a new state record fish, pushing aside a record held since 2003 and proving that there are always bigger fish to catch.
            Aaron Stone of Pawhuska was snagging around 11 a.m. April 10 in the Arkansas River when he hooked the large fish, which he finally reeled in after 40-minutes of reeling and what he said was a 15-foot slide down an embankment. The “spoonbill” measured 55 inches in length, 41.75 inches in girth and weighed 125-lb., 7 oz.
            This has been Stone’s first year to try fishing for paddlefish, and at first, the 21-year-old angler didn’t realize just how big of a fish he had caught. His father-in-law, an experienced paddlefish angler, encouraged him to have the fish weighed.
            The previous state record paddlefish was reeled in from the Kaw tailwaters by Shane McCleary in April 2003.
            Snagging is the primary method for catching paddlefish, since the fish eat mainly microscopic zooplankton and therefore are not inclined to bite on lifelike lures. During the spring, paddlefish swim upstream from lakes in rivers to spawn, resulting in concentrated numbers of fish that anglers can snag more easily.
            Paddlefish routinely weigh over 30 lbs., with females taking eight to 10 years to mature to breeding age and males taking six to eight years. Because they are slow to mature, careful management of paddlefish populations is critical, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s paddlefish management program is supplying biologists with information they need to make important decisions to benefit the species. The Department uses its paddlefish research and processing center in northeast Oklahoma to gather harvest data on fish voluntarily supplied by anglers. In exchange for biological information from fish, the Department cleans and packages fish for anglers to take home and eat.
            When asked if he would continue fishing for paddlefish, Stone’s answer comes as no surprise to those who have experienced spoonbill fishing.
            “Oh, yeah,” he said. “We’re hooked on it.”
            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 a Wildlife Department employee must verify the weight.
 

 

Photo Caption: Aaron Stone, 21, Pawhuska, reeled in this 125-lb. 7-oz. state record Paddlefish April 10 from the Arkansas River.
 
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Holdenville angler lands two lake records from same lake in one month’s time
            Holdenville Lake is on a roll, and so is Allan Brooks of the city of Holdenville. On April 16, Brooks caught an 11.4-lb. largemouth bass that measured 23.5 inches in length and 20.5 inches in girth. The fish is a new lake record for Holdenville, taking the spot from a 9.8-lb. bass caught last month by none other than Brooks himself.
            For a lake under 1,000 acres, Holdenville is proving to be a hotspot for anglers. In May of 2010, Scott Allen Babb caught a 9.1-lb. largemouth bass, and Holdenville also has yielded high numbers of bass in electrofishing surveys by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in recent years.
            The three big bass caught at Holdenville in the last year may only be a few among many that anglers have pulled from the lake — many that Oklahoma anglers may never get a chance to celebrate. But thanks to the Wildlife Department’s Lake Record Fish Program, Holdenville Lake and the fish it produces are starting to get the recognition they deserve, as well as more than 40 other lakes across the state.
            “In the past, you didn’t hear about a lot nice fish caught from lakes unless you knew the angler, or unless the fish is some kind of state record,” said Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Wildlife Department. “The lake record fish program is changing that, giving anglers the opportunity to recognize big fish and the lakes that produced them, not to mention the anglers who catch them.”
            The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
            The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So while anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, they also have a chance of putting their name in a record book.
            Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass. Minimum weights are set for each species and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on wildlifedepartment.com.
            Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
            An easily-operated search feature is available on the website that allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from the size of record fish caught to what kind of bait or rod and reel was used to catch them.
            All past and current state record fish are registered in the lake record fish program as records for their respective lakes.
            For more information about the lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
Recent Lake Records
 
Lake: Grand
Species: spotted bass
Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Angler: Troy Enmeier
Date caught: April 2, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1123
 
Lake: Broken Bow
Species: striped bass hybrid
Weight: 10.2 lbs.
Angler: Timothy Rothstein
Date caught: April 16, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1122
 
Lake: Okmulgee
Species: largemouth bass
Weight: 7.9 lbs.
Angler: Kyle Doke
Date caught: March 4, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1086
 
Lake: Arbuckle
Species: flathead catfish
Weight: 50.9 lbs.
Angler: Charlie Hayship
Date caught: April 6, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1115
 
Lake: Arbuckle
Species: channel catfish
Weight: 19 lbs.
Angler: Eddie Tedder
Date caught: April 9, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1119


Lake: Keystone
Species: blue catfish
Weight: 64.6 lbs.
Angler: Willard Allen Wilkins
Date caught: April 14, 2011
Photo and more information:
http://lake-record.ou.edu/fishsite/public/fishView.php?id=1118
 
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“Oklahoma Hunting Guide” ad deadline set; new design will launch this summer
            J.F. Griffin Publishing has set May 18 as the deadline for advertising in the “2011-2012 Oklahoma Hunting Guide.” Advertisers will find that the new publication will look and feel different when it arrives at license vendor locations across the state, thanks to a brand-new layout and upgraded design.
            “We are completely re-designing and upgrading our regulation publications this year,” said Ben Davis, information and education specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The paper quality of the Guide will be a glossy stock used for magazines, which will support a much greater range of color and graphics in the book. Both regulation content and advertising will look great in the new Hunting Guide.”
            The Wildlife Department is partnering with J. F. Griffin Publishing to produce the new guide.
            “We are excited to partner with J. F. Griffin Publishing to produce official hunting, fishing and waterfowl guides for the state of Oklahoma,” said Davis, who is in charge of coordinating production of the guide. “Griffin is now our exclusive regulation publishing partner, and will provide printing and design services to the agency along with selling advertising space in the regulations.”
            Advertising sales in the “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” allow the Wildlife Department to save money on printing costs – money that can be spent on other projects close to the heart of outdoors-enthusiasts.
            “The Wildlife Department accepts advertising for our hunting and fishing guides in order to offset printing costs and deliver a high-quality, low-cost publication to Oklahoma hunters and anglers,” Davis said. “Because advertising revenue allows publishers to offer competitive prices to state agencies, the ODWC can provide more services to our constituents thanks to a decrease in printing costs. This means an increase in funding for fishing access, youth programs and habitat work on public hunting areas.”
            The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax revenues and is funded by sportsmen and women through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on sporting goods.
            This year, 400,000 Hunting Guides will be printed and distributed to license dealers, outdoor stores and municipal businesses across the state. It is the most widely distributed outdoors publication in the state and is distributed statewide around Aug. 1. It also can be found online on the Department’s web site, wildlifedepartment.com.
            “The new Hunting Guide will still provide clear and accurate information about Oklahoma’s hunting seasons, but will also feature excellent visuals and modern layout and design,” Davis said.
            The Wildlife Department has a contract with Griffin Publishing to oversee all advertising for the guide and publish the guide. Ad rates start around $375 for a classified box ad and range up to about $11,000 for a full-color page. Promotional advertising does not constitute endorsement by the Wildlife Department.
            For additional advertising information concerning the “Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” contact Jeremy Garnish at J. F. Griffin Publishing, (413) 884-1001, extension 101.
 
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Two big fish remind us now is the time for fishing
            Two big bass surveyed recently by fisheries biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are serving as reminders that now through the next few months is a good time to be bass fishing, and that you never know where the next big fish might be lurking.
            Each spring, fisheries biologists use electrofishing techniques to survey bass populations at lakes across the state, and this year biologists surveyed one bass from Lake Arcadia that weighed 12.22 lbs. and another from Lake Watonga that weighed in at over 11 lbs. Several other fish in the nine to 10-lb. range were surveyed as well. The fish were released in good condition.
            “Good bass fishing can be found just about anywhere in Oklahoma, even close to the metro,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department.
            As the name suggests, electrofishing surveys use electric current to “stun” fish in a specific area of a lake, causing them to surface long enough for biologists to collect biological data. A short time later, the fish recover from the shock and swim on their way. Last spring, electrofishing survey results from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation showed that even small lakes under 1,000 acres produced high numbers of bass during the survey
            Other data provided in the spring electrofishing survey is the number of bass over 14 inches that are surveyed per hour and the heaviest bass recorded from each lake. Though factors like inclement weather or prolonged high water levels can prevent biologists from surveying some lakes from year to year, the data collected provides useful information for biologists and for anglers planning their next getaway.
            Biologists employ different methods of data collection depending on the species they are studying as well as the time of year. For example, springtime electrofishing is especially effective for surveying black bass, as bass spend more time in shallow water during the spring than at other times of the year and are therefore more susceptible to electric shock. During the summer, bass may be too deep in the water for electrofishing to effectively survey large numbers of fish.
            Saugeye are more vulnerable to electrofishing in the fall, and other species, such as crappie, can be captured and surveyed through methods such as trap netting. Crappie tend to perceive the nets as underwater structure and are likely to concentrate in such areas, making them easier to catch and survey.
            Survey data and other information collected by Wildlife Department fisheries personnel can be used to help manage fish populations, establish regulations and increase fishing opportunities across the state. To learn more about fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
 
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Photo Caption: During a recent electrofishing survey at Lake Arcadia near Edmond, fisheries personnel surveyed this 12.22-lb. largemouth bass, reminding anglers that big fish can turn up at any time, and now is the time to catch them. Pictured holding the bass is Richard Snow, central region fisheries technician for the Wildlife Department.
 
Lake Arcadia 12.22-lb. largemouth bass
 


Photo Caption: This largemouth bass, surveyed by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation fisheries personnel during recent spring electrofishing surveys, weighed more than 11 lbs. Pictured holding the bass is John Stahl, northwest region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department.

Lake Watonga largemouth bass

 
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Northeast Oklahoma flooding may hinder some fishing activities over the weekend; other fishing opportunities unaffected
            Oklahoma has been receiving long-awaited rainfall across the state this week, and along with it have been numerous weather advisories, watches and severe weather warnings in counties across the state. Additionally, high water levels at lakes and rivers in eastern and northeast Oklahoma may be affecting fishing opportunities this weekend. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are urging anglers to be aware of the water conditions and possible closures at their favorite fishing locations and use caution when fishing locations with high water levels.
            “The Corps of Engineers may close some areas for the next week or so because of high waters,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. “Lake Tenkiller is 22 feet up and rising. Ft. Gibson is 11 feet up and rising, and the Arkansas River navigation system is flowing 80,000-160,000 cubic feet per second. These are all hazardous conditions for boating and fishing, and anglers need to use caution. They also need to make sure their favorite areas aren’t closed before they head out to the water.”
            Paddlefish angling is popular this time of year in northeast Oklahoma, but rainfall has put boat ramps at Twin Bridges State Park and Miami City Park — two popular paddlefish angling destinations — underwater, all but shutting down paddlefish angling activity in the area.
            “There are still plenty of lakes and waters elsewhere in the state where anglers can enjoy good fishing this weekend,” Bolton said. “We just want to make sure everyone is aware of the conditions of their favorite spot before trying to fish in high waters. If a spot is too flooded to fish, you should avoid that area and fish a different spot. Those fish will be there after the flooding recedes.”
            To learn more about fishing in Oklahoma, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
 
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Family Fun in the Outdoors at Alabaster Caverns State Park
            Oklahomans are celebrating the outdoors in a number of ways this spring, and one way to do that is by attending the annual Watchable Wildlife Weekend May 6-7 at Alabaster Caverns State Park.
            Beginning 10 a.m. Friday, visitors can view interactive displays of native wildlife at the state park, enjoy the “Roving Naturalist” program held throughout the park by park naturalist Tandy Keenan, learn about lesser prairie chickens from Wildlife Department personnel, and more. Friday’s activities will remain open until 3 p.m.
            On Saturday, the day starts early with a bird walk at 6:30 a.m. with Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department. There is no fee, but a reservation is required. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site will exhibit items made from bison parts in a hands-on display, and the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge will host a hands-on display for children of all ages.  Children and adults will enjoy trying an atlatl, a spear-throwing technique used by Native Americans in ancient times. For those interested in wildflowers, grasses and other plants, there will be two opportunities to join Jerry McLaughlin, rangeland specialist, on a plant walk scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Park Pal, the official mascot of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, will be making appearances throughout the day, and campfire activities are available in the evening.
            Activities are free, and for more information, including program times and dates or to make reservations for the bird walk, contact Tandy Keenan at (580) 621-3381.
 
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