I think Admin is going to let me have this space
Oklahoma Wildlife news 11-11
November 10, 2011
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
News Contacts: Michael Bergin or Micah Holmes (405) 521-3856
Website: www.wildlifedepartment.com <http://www.wildlifedepartment.com>
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Wildlife Commissioners discuss Oklahoma quail research
Online hunter check station brings newfound convenience to checking in big game
Support your sport with a habitat patch
Wildlife Commissioners discuss Oklahoma quail research
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation continues to stay at the forefront of upland game bird research efforts intended to benefit important species like the bobwhite quail and lesser prairie chicken.
At its Nov. 7 meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission heard a presentation from Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department, regarding ongoing upland game bird research efforts in the state. After record heat and drought, the Wildlife Department’s October roadside quail survey index decreased 37 percent from 2010, which was already down from the 21-year average. Facing a gradual downward range-wide decline in quail populations, biologists have been working on research initiatives to learn more about what factors affect quail mortality.
As part of the initiative, the Wildlife Department is working with the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Texas Tech universities on a project called Operation Idiopathic Decline. Wildlife Department biologists are trapping quail and sending biological samples to Texas Tech University where researchers are investigating the potential impact of disease, parasitism, pesticides, toxins and contaminants on quail. Additionally, the Wildlife Department is starting an upland game bird initiative on Oklahoma’s Packsaddle and Beaver River wildlife management areas that will provide extensive information that could lead to improvements in the quail population and quail habitat management.
“We’re in the process of finalizing a contract with Oklahoma State University to conduct bobwhite quail research over the course of the next six years totaling several million dollars,” Peoples said.
The Department also continues to closely monitor the lesser prairie chicken in northwest Oklahoma. Collectively — between the Wildlife Department, other state and federal agencies, conservation organizations and business industries — over $40 million has been spent on or committed to associated habitat management efforts that benefit the lesser prairie chicken. Peoples said he believes the efforts are proving successful, citing evidence from surveys conducted by the Sutton Avian Research Center that indicate the presence of more prairie chicken leks, or breeding areas, than in previous surveys. Future efforts will include the use of surveys, interstate working groups in partnership with other states, and continued partnerships with the Sutton Avian Research Center and OSU on future research efforts.
In other business, the Commission was updated on the status of the Grand Lake paddlefish fishery. Coming up on its sixth year of operation, the Paddlefish Research and Processing program stationed near Twin Bridges State Park in northeast Oklahoma helps collect important data to assist biologists in managing the unique fish population.
Paddlefish are large, native fish that eat tiny plankton and are caught by snagging. Every spring large numbers of paddlefish move upstream out of lakes into rivers and tributaries to spawn. It is during this time that anglers have the most success catching them, and the Department’s Paddlefish Research and Processing Center is open for anglers to have their fish cleaned and processed for free in exchange for biological data from the fish and, if female, any eggs present. The Department directs funds derived from the sale of the paddlefish eggs back into the resource through projects that improve fishing access, educate anglers and help manage paddlefish.
Dr. Dennis Scarnecchia, a paddlefish expert from the University of Idaho who has been consulting with Wildlife Department biologists on the state’s paddlefish program since 2004, delivered a presentation to the Commission that explained the significance of the research in sustaining the fishery.
Through angler support and participation, the popular paddlefish program is providing the Wildlife Department with significant data that otherwise would not have been possible to obtain.
“The key result of our work so far has been the identification of the 1999 year class as the dominant one contributing to the fishery each year,” Scarnecchia said.
Since male fish take six to seven years to mature to breeding age and females closer to eight or nine years, the 1999 class must be managed to support the fishery until the next significant age class matures to breeding age and begins spawning.
In addition to lending insight into important age class information, research has revealed data that led to fishing regulation changes in 2010. The changes, which included the implementation of catch-and-release days and restricting fishing in certain spawning areas, were designed to effectively reduce the total harvest and help sustain the world class fishing opportunities provided by Oklahoma paddlefish.
Because of the Paddlefish Research and Processing Center, Wildlife Department biologists know more than ever before about this unique population of fish. Proper management will ensure sustained populations of fish and excellent fishing for the future.
The Commission also heard a presentation from Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department, on how the summer’s heat and drought have affected stream flows and fish in rivers across the state. Two fish kills were confirmed in 2011 at the Lower Illinois River, where water shortages and insufficient stream flow are threatening the river’s year-round trout fishery. Bolton said recent repairs to Tenkiller Dam have stopped a leak that had previously been keeping the fishery supplied with ample water and flow, and other water supplies from the lake that had previously been available have depleted. Bolton said the only realistic long-term solution is reallocation of water from Tenkiller Lake.
Additionally, fish kills occurred along a 100-mile stretch of the Red River extending to the west end of Texoma Lake, as well as at Jack Fork Creek below Sardis Lake. Water scientists with the Oklahoma Department of Environment Quality and Environmental Protection Agency are still working to determine the exact cause of the fish kill along the Red River, which occurred in July and included significant numbers of large fish such as blue catfish, smallmouth buffalo and largemouth buffalo.
At Jack Fork Creek, a mussel kill was confirmed after summer temperatures and lack of water releases from Sardis Dam resulted in flows of less than one cubic foot per second. While most fish were able to swim downstream to safety, widespread mussel mortality occurred. Among the species of mussels that were killed is the state and federally endangered Ouachita rock pocketbook. Bolton discussed solutions and resolutions to the issues and said the Wildlife Department is working diligently to address water and stream flow issues affecting the state’s wildlife.
Additionally, the Commission heard a presentation provided by Buck Ray, environmental biologist for the Wildlife Department, and Damon Springer, aquatic resource education coordinator for the Wildlife Department, on how mitigation is administered in Oklahoma for damages to natural resources. Natural Resource Damage Assessments, or NRDAs, are created by federal legislation through the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act with the goal of compensating the public for damages to natural resources. One recent case in Oklahoma includes damages to a 12-acre site along the Canadian River as a result of motor fuel refinement processes on the site. The site consists of mixed wetlands and riparian zones, but because of it unique landlocked location, mitigation funds will be used along the same watershed at the Wildlife Department’s Arcadia Conservation Education Area. Projects include various habitat enhancements like invasive vegetation and tree control and wildlife and habitat educational tools such as the development of a trail and curriculum for area schools. The total mitigation, including various joint settlements and funding, includes almost $309,000.
The Commission addressed several other agenda items at its November meeting, including the following:
* A donation of $2,500 from the Indian Territory Quail Forever Chapter was accepted for the Wildlife Department’s Shotgun Training and Education Program (STEP). The donation was presented by Terry Free, ITQF Chapter member, and will be used to purchase gun security lockers for STEP trailers.
* Steve Tully, wildlife biologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, was recognized by the Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his outstanding contributions to wetland conservation in Oklahoma. Recognitions were presented by Alan Stacey, senior wetland development biologist for the Department, and John Hendrix with the USFWS.
* The certified annual financial and audit report was presented by auditing firm Finley and Cook, LLC. The Department has an independent audit of the financial records and federal aid records of the agency. The FY2011 audit found no findings, and the auditors complimented the agency on its staff and internal controls.
* The actuarial firm, Buck Consultants, presented the FY2011 Actuarial Valuation Report for the Department’s retirement plan. The funded ratio of the plan dropped from 81.5 percent last year to 78.1 percent this year. The decrease is mainly contributed to the change that was made last year to decrease the investment rate of return assumption from 7.5 percent to 7 percent.
* An update was provided on the legislative task force on endangered species and economic development. The task force has met three times and is currently focused on planning and organizing initiatives for conserving the lesser prairie chicken.
* Tenure awards were presented to David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa Co., for 25 years of service to the Department; Tom Cartwright, District 4 lieutenant game warden stationed in Hughes Co., for 25 years; Tracy Daniel, District 8 law enforcement chief stationed in Kay Co., for 30 years; James Champeau, District 5 law enforcement chief stationed in Logan Co., for 30 years; Keith Green, paddlefish program coordinator, for 30 years; and Robert Fleenor, law enforcement chief, for 35 years.
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. Dec. 5, at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.
Online hunter check station brings newfound convenience to checking in big game
Many hunters have already experienced the convenience of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Check Station Web Portal, which allows sportsmen to check in their harvested deer, turkey and elk electronically. It is simple and fast, requiring only a computer or mobile device with Internet access.
Hunters can print a carcass tag from a printer or simply write their confirmation number on the field tag that they made when they harvested the animal.
“Any computer or cell phone with internet access can be a check station,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “The online method is both convenient and economical.”
According to Holmes, being able to check in a deer 24 hours a day and seven days a week is a value in itself, since not having to transport their animal to a physical check station means they can save on automobile fuel expenses and start cooling the meat from their animal almost immediately. Additionally, a hunter who checks an animal online will not have to worry about his or her personal information, since data entered online goes straight to a secure server. There also is potential for hunters to query the online database and view their past deer, elk, or turkey entries.
The online check system was first implemented during the 2009 deer season, and over 17,000 hunters experienced the ease of the new system. That number almost doubled in 2010 with over 30,000 hunters checking in almost 40,000 deer electronically.
Those without Internet access can still check in their animal at the nearest hunter check station, or have a friend or relative with Internet access check in the animal for them and provide the confirmation number to be used on the field tag.
Not only is the online check station economical and convenient for the hunters, but it also saves the Wildlife Department time and money. Physical check stations require a minimum of five visits by a biologist or technician each year. Department employees spend over 200 man-hours editing check station books by correcting mistakes and illegible handwriting. The instant data provided through the online check system allows biologist and game wardens to quickly access information. The online database also allows for “real-time” analysis of harvest numbers.
The online system also helps the Wildlife Department enforce wildlife laws.
David Clay, game warden stationed in Osage County, was able to make two cases in 2010 using the online system. Two illegal hunters used hunting license numbers other than their own to check in deer they had illegally harvested. Both subjects pled guilty and paid $1,500 in fines and costs.
Current physical check stations can continue providing a service to sportsmen by offering Internet access at their locations, and some have already made the switch.
“It’s great,” said Gloria Bishop from the OC Corner Mart in Keota. “We don’t have to write anything, and I think it is even faster than the old book. Hunters come in to check their deer and they can still get their deer weighed and picture taken if they want to. We’ve found it just easier all around.”
To check in a deer, elk or turkey online, log on to wildlifedepartment.com and follow the link on the homepage to the “Online Check Station.”
Support your sport with a habitat patch
Approximately 97 percent of the land in Oklahoma is private property, creating an ever-important need for more public land for hunters, anglers and conservation efforts. Sportsmen can help increase public hunting and fishing lands by ordering the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s 2012 pronghorn antelope habitat donor patch or donor hat, available now in the Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Store on wildlifedepartment.com.
The revenue generated from the sale of the Wildlife Department’s habitat donor patches goes into the Land Acquisition Fund, which is used to purchase, lease, or acquire easements for property to be used for public hunting and fishing.
“Habitat patches are an important way for wildlife enthusiasts and sportsmen to support public hunting, fishing and conservation, and also gain a collectable item,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration and finance for the Wildlife Department. “This program ensures public hunting and fishing for the future sportsmen and women of Oklahoma, as the Department has purchased approximately 1.2 million acres of public land.”
To purchase a donor patch or hat, log on to the Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Store http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/fa...tdoorstore.htm <http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/facts_maps/outdoorstore.htm> . Outdoor Store order forms may also be found in copies of the Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Oklahoma magazine. Additionally, patches may be purchased at the Wildlife Department headquarters in Oklahoma City.
5-27: Waterfowl season dates for Zone 2. Consult the current “Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide” at wildlifedepartment.com for zone boundaries and bag limits.
10: The Oklahoma Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Tulsa Fly Fishers will host Norm Crisp of Prairie Village, Kan., as the guest speaker. Mr. Crisp is the owner and head guide for Streamside Adventures. He is an internationally known fly fisherman, author, teacher/lecturer and water resources scientist. He has fly fished throughout North America and many parts of the world including Russia, Nepal, Scotland, England, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, the former Yugoslavia and even the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in North Africa. He has written numerous articles about fly fishing for trout and his travels in search of trout. Meetings are held at the Hardesty Public Library located at 8316 E. 93rd St. Tulsa. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. For more information see www.tulsaflyfishers.org <http://www.tulsaflyfishers.org/> .
12: Wheelin’ Sportsman Gun Bash Benefit at the McAlester Country Club, doors will open at 6 p.m. This Wheelin' Sportsmen benefits give you a chance to go home with one of 30 firearms that will be given away that night and have a great time with friends. Tell your friends. You do not have to be present to win. Ticket prices: one ticket for individuals not able to attend - $85; one ticket with meal for those who can attend - $100.00; 1 ticket with two meals for those who can attend - $120. You can purchase as many tickets has you want. To purchase a ticket, contact Gary Garman at (918) 470-8279 or Gary Brooks at (918) 421-0800 or Angie Grippando at (918) 470-7320.
12- Feb. 15, 2012: Quail Season. Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide seasons. For more information consult the “2011-2012 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available free online at wildlifedepartment.com.
19: Byron Hatchery Watchable Wildlife Area Nature Center will be open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The biologist on duty will be happy to visit with visitors about wildlife in the area or take a walk with you on the nature trail. For more information about these events, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 990-4977.
19-Dec. 4: Deer Gun Season (Antlerless days vary by zone). Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide seasons. For more information, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available free online at wildlifedepartment.com.
1: Pheasant Season. Only in open counties. For complete details and regulations, consult the “2011-2012 Hunting Guide.”
3: Sooner Retriever Club Training Day. For more information contact Bill Blochowiak at email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> .
5: Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting. Meetings are held monthly at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Building (auditorium), 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK at 9 a.m.
10: Hackberry Flat: A Photographic Year-in-Review. A guest photographer will be invited to highlight his year at Hackberry Flat with an exhibit of images. The exhibit will be held at the Hackberry Flat Center in Frederick.
10-January 22: Waterfowl days for Zone 1. For complete details and regulations, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”
10-January 29: Waterfowl days for Zone 2. For complete details and regulations, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”
16-25: Holiday Antlerless Season. Only in open zones Consult the 2011-2012 Hunting Regulations.
17: Byron Hatchery Watchable Wildlife Area Nature Center will be open from 9 am – 3 pm. The biologist on duty will be happy to visit with visitors about wildlife in the area or take a walk with you on the nature trail. For more information about these events email email@example.com or 405-990-4977.
26 & 27: State Offices Closed.
FISHING REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Eucha: November 8. Elevation 9 ft. below normal, water 59 and dingy. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush and structure. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa.
Ft. Gibson: November 4. Elevation 2 ft. below normal, water 65 and clear. Crappie excellent at 10-15 ft. on minnows and black and chartreuse jigs in the underwater structure. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 5-15 ft. Catfish good on juglines baited with shad and sunfish at 15-20 ft. Report submitted by Rick Stafford of Wagoner.
Greenleaf: November 7. Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits along shorelines, brush structure and creek channels. Catfish good on fresh cut bait and stinkbait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at fishing docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Oologah: November 6. Elevation 3 ft. below normal, water mid 60s and clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 10 ft. around brush piles. White bass fair on jigs at 5-10 ft. off main lake points. Report submitted by Brek Henry, game warden stationed in Rogers County.
Pawhuska: November 7. Elevation below normal. Trout good on Power Bait. Report submitted by David Clay, game warden stationed in Osage County.
Spavinaw: November 8. Elevation slightly above normal, water 60 and dingy. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa.
Webbers Falls: November 7. Elevation normal, water murky. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits along riprap, brush structure and creek channels. Catfish good on fresh cut bait along mudflats or drifting. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around bridges and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Canton: November 6. Elevation 12 ft. below normal. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on shad near drop-offs. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.
Arbuckle: November 5. Elevation 5 ft. below normal, water 63 and stained. Bass good on jerk baits, crankbaits and brown jigs. White bass being caught on spoons at 23-34 ft. and on small jigs along windy banks. Crappie on jigs at 20-35 ft. off brush piles. Report submitted by Jack Melton.
Blue River: November 8. Water 59 degrees, slightly elevated and murky. Trout excellent on Power Bait, salmon eggs, in-line spinnerbaits, and gold spoons. Fly fishing good on woolly buggers, San Juan worms and egg patterns. Smallmouth and spotted bass good on soft plastics fished around structure in slower moving water. Channel catfish good on stinkbait, chicken liver and cut shad around structure in deep pools. Report submitted by Matt Gamble, biologist at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.
Broken Bow: November 6. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on crankbaits around points, structure, mouths of creeks and ledges early and late. Catfish good on juglines and trotlines baited with cut bait. Crappie good on minnows and jigs around structure in the upper end of the lake. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Eufaula: November 7. Elevation 4 ft. below normal, water clear. Blue catfish good on fresh shad in the shallow flats. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs in the riprap along the highway, standing timber and bridges. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.
Konawa: November 7. Elevation 1 1/2 ft. below normal, water 59 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits at 15 ft. in the discharge canal. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on minnows and jigs at 15 ft. in the discharge canal. Report submitted by Daryl Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
McGee Creek: November 6. Elevation 7 ft. below normal, water 67 and clear. Largemouth bass fair to good on spinnerbaits and swim baits at 6-12 ft. Crappie fair at 10-20 ft. around cedar brush just off of main creek channels. Report submitted by Larry Luman, game warden stationed in Atoka County.
Pine Creek: November 6. Elevation below normal, water clear. Bass fair on crankbaits near points in the deepest waters. Crappie fair on jigs. Catfish good on night crawlers with pole and line. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, by game warden stationed on McCurtain County.
Sardis: November 6. Elevation 2 ft. below normal. Largemouth bass good on topwater lures early and late and on spinnerbaits and crankbaits at midday. Channel, blue and flathead catfish good. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 14-16 ft. Walleye fair trolling. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Pushmataha County.
Texoma: November 6. Elevation 8 3/4 ft. below normal, water 68 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair to good on plastic combination baits, deep diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 5-15 ft. around the points. Striped and white bass fair to good on live bait, sassy shad and slabs at 5-15 ft. in the river channels. Channel and blue catfish fair to good on live bait, worms and stinkbait from Platter Flats to the south. Crappie fair to good on minnows and jigs at 5-10 ft. around underwater brush. Sunfish fair to good on worms, shrimp and small tube jigs at 5-10 ft. around riprap and fish attractors. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
Wister: November 7. Elevation 2 1/2 ft. below normal, water murky. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures early and late. Catfish fair on juglines baited with cut shad and liver and best on night crawlers. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in LeFlore County.
Altus-Lugert: November 7. Elevation 27 3/4 ft. below normal and dropping. Catfish fair. Crappie fair to good on minnows, worms and shrimp. White bass fair to good on minnows and worms from the bank near the dam. Walleye fair good on minnows, worms and shrimp. Report submitted by Sue Hokanson.
Ellsworth: November 6. Elevation 11 ft. below normal. Catfish fair on cut bait off rocky points and drift fishing. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
Foss: November 7. Elevation 5 1/2 ft. below normal with gates closed, water low 60s and clear. Striped bass hybrids good on live bait near the dam. Walleye fair on slabs. Catfish fair on doughbait. Report submitted by Eric Puyear, B & K Bait House.
Ft. Cobb: November 7. Elevation 4 3/4 ft. below normal, water 50 and clear. Only Sunset Boat Ramp and Lemon Hill still open. Catfish being caught on whole shad in White Catfish Cove early evenings. Crappie slow on jigs in the evenings around marina and boat slips. Report submitted by Sgt. Kevin Bean, park ranger at Ft. Cobb State Park.
Lawtonka: November 6. Elevation 9 ft. below normal. White bass hybrids fair to good on minnows and spinnerbaits at the pipeline. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
This program operates free from discrimination on the basis of political or religious opinion or affiliation, race, creed, color, gender, age, ancestry, marital status or disability. A person who feels he or she may have been discriminated against or would like further information should write: Director, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152, or Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.
Tags for this Thread
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO