posted on September 24, 2004 00:00
By Vic Allshouse
E-E Outdoors Columnist
Through scientific studies, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has determined that the biggest threat to Oklahoma's quail population is the loss of habitat.
Many of the readers will remember the lack of sufficient quail to make hunting them worthwhile in recent years. And many of us (yes, I said US) believe the loss of the state's quail population has more to do with predators than habitat, but these fellows at the Department have a much broader knowledge than you and I and have conducted a lot of research and many studies to find out where the problem is and what we must do to rectify the situation.
The department will hold several public hearings to discuss efforts and future directions in restoring Oklahoma's bobwhite quail.
"We are really excited about new land owner incentives to help restore bobwhite quail habitat," said Mike Sams, upland game biologist for the Department. "With greater financial support, many land owners can now finally get the ball rolling toward on-the-ground restoration."
The purpose of the hearings is to inform land owners about several habitat incentive programs, including the farm bill's new Bobwhite Buffers Initiative.
"Specifically, the Bobwhite Buffers Initiative will pay farmers an enrollment bonus, restoration costs and annual rental payments to restore native grass buffers around their agriculture fields. We will also outline the very latest scientific computer modeling that we will use to enhance restoration efforts."
There will also be a report on this year's quail forecast. All meetings will be from 7-9 pm.
The closest meeting to our locale is slated for Tulsa, on Oct 11 at the Riverside campus of Tulsa Tech, 801 E. 91st Street.
YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTS ANNOUNCED
Open to youngsters ages 12 to 15, the ODWC will offer an opportunity to hunt waterfowl in nine locations around the state.
The hunts are designed for youngsters who may not have an adult mentor who waterfowl hunts. The youths will be provided a 20-gauge shotgun and non-toxic shells with which to hunt if they do not have one.
Youth hunters will be randomly drawn from a list of applicants for each hunting area. To qualify, youths must be 12 to 15 years of age, have proof of successfully completing a certified hunter education course, and have an adult guardian who can accompany them on the hunt.
A Department employee will accompany each youth and their guardian for the controlled hunt at one of the areas. Only the youth hunter will be allowed to hunt.
To enter, each youth and their guardian mat apply only once and must provide the following information on a 3x5 postcard to be eligible for the drawing: names, addresses, phone numbers, youths hunter ed number, the name of the desired hunt area and two alternate locations. The specific date of the hunt will be coordinated with successful applicants after the drawing.
Send the entrees to: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Youth Waterfowl Hunts, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Successful applicants will be notified by Oct. 27, 2004.
The locations of the hunts are: Ft. Gibson Refuge, Webbers Falls Refuge, Wister Lake Refuge, Vann's Lake - Wagoner County, Canton Lake, Hackberry Flat, Okmulgee WMA, Ft. Cobb Lake Refuge and Lincoln County Wetland.
BASSMASTERS FISH FT. GIBSON
This past Sunday was a beautiful day, but that was about all the praise the Bartlesville Bassmasters could muster for their monthly tournament on Ft. Gibson Lake, just outside Wagoner, Ok.
The club found the lake on a slight rise with finicky fish and murky waters in some areas. To say the fishing was tough would have been an understatement as one-helf of the field of 18 anglers failed to catch a keeper fish.
Taking first place in the event was Kent Bottenfield who managed to scratch out a five-fish limit weighing 9.5 pounds. Second place went to Brian Fielder with three fish weighing 7.19 pounds, while third was won by Frank Crow with three fish weighing 4.69 pounds. Big bass honors and fourth place were taken by Matt Morrison with a fish weighing in at 4.69 pounds - the only fish Morrison turned in for the day.
The club's next event is slated for Eufaula Lake on October 2 and 3. The club has already drawn for the tournament, therefore the meeting for October will not take place.
The dove hunting has been only fair around the area, with hunters reporting that there were more dove here just before the start of the season. The teal hunting is almost non-existent, but several hunters have managed a few of the big Canada geese.
Fishing for white bass is picking up at all of the area lakes with, Grand, Eufaula and Ft. Gibson anglers reporting good action early and late in the day. Trolling with jigs and casting slab spoons and small crank baits are producing the best.
Copan and Hulah Lakes are falling with fishing rated as slow at both locations. A few catfish are being caught below the dams at both lakes on cut shad.
The city's Lake Hudson is continuing to fall and the upper end of the lake is becoming quite shallow and dangerous. I recommend that those who venture out to fish there, DO NOT travel to the north end unless you are familiar with the lay of the lake. There are several obstructions that could be dangerous or damaging to your boat. The lake is approximately 5 feet below normal and will continue to fall until it reaches the target level of approximately 11 feet low by November.
Until next week, good luck and good hunting and fishing!