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Oklahoma Seeks Bowhunting Observers

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ATTENTION AVID BOWHUNTERS! Here’s your chance to impact wildlife management decisions and activities of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation! And all you’ll need to do is keep track of things you observe while in the forest or the field.

For the first time, the Wildlife Department will conduct a Bowhunter Observation Survey during the upcoming archery seasons. Bowhunters are invited to go online and register as an official observer and become a citizen scientist this year.

“This is a great opportunity to help the Wildlife Department learn more about our natural environment, and in turn help the wildlife that we are mandated to protect and conserve,” said Corey Jager, responsive management specialist for the Department.

Here’s how the survey will work:

Bowhunters will register by filling out an online form before Sept. 30.

Participants will receive an informational packet that they will receive by e-mail before the survey period begins Oct. 1.

When in the field or forest from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, observers will record the number of deer, wild turkeys and furbearers they see, along with the number of hours they spend in the field.

Observers will submit reports of sightings either at the end of each hunt, or all at once after Nov. 30 using an online form.

After the survey is complete and data are processed, participants will receive a copy of the results.

“We believe this citizen-science survey will provide valuable information to the Wildlife Department for evaluating population demographics and the general health of these wildlife populations,” Jager said. “And it’s just so easy to jot down your observations from your hunting trips, but it really could help our biologists make the best management choices for the animals and hunters alike. This survey allows hunters to play a more active role in bettering the future of their sport.”

To sign up, go to tinyurl.com/bowhuntersurvey through Sept. 30. For more information, contact Jerrod Davis, furbearer biologist, at jerrod.davis@odwc.ok.gov or (405) 590-2583, or Erik Bartholomew, big game biologist, at erik.bartholomew@odwc.ok.gov or (405) 396-2503.

Photos

You’ve just killed the buck of a lifetime and now you’ve got the chance to capture the moment for all of your friends and family to see. Don’t blow it with amateur photography. Follow these tips to take better field photos.

Do This

Always carry a camera. The best time and place to take a hero shot is in the field immediately after recovering game as it accurately records the mood and location. Animals are fresh and more attractive before field dressing and more maneuverable before rigor sets in.

Check your batteries before you leave home to make sure they’re fresh or fully charged and that your camera has a card with sufficient available space.

Remove dirt, leaves, blood, and saliva from the hunter and the trophy. Smooth ruffled hair and remove clutter from the foreground and background. And for Pete’s sake, stuff the animal’s tongue in its mouth.
Skyline the antlers to show off the tines and ensure that the horizon doesn’t cut through the hunter or the animal.

To produce vibrant images, shoot during periods of the softest light–early and late in the day. From late morning to late afternoon, avoid direct sunlight. Pose in full shade (not dappled sunlight), and use a flash. Use a tripod to prevent blurred images, and make sure the camera is plumb and level.

Pose creatively. Take shots facing the animal as well as crouching behind it. Pose the head in different positions to accentuate various characteristics. Grasp antlers near the bases with your fingertips rather than your full hand.

Take multiple shots of different poses, from various angles, and bracket the image if your camera has that capability.

Avoid This

Skip the tight focus. Leave plenty of space around the subject; you can always crop the image later if you have to.

Never pose in a truck bed. You’ll look like a rube.

Don’t straddle big game. It’s not a horse. Show a little respect by kneeling beside or behind the animal, and smile.

Tricks of the Trade

Keep a few moist wipes in a resealable plastic bag to wipe off blood and moisten fleshy parts, like the nose and eyes.

Use a fill flash to counteract distracting shadows.

Position the subjects to lead the viewer’s eyes from left to right to make a more visually appealing picture.
Shoot from a low angle where you’re even with or, if possible, below the animal. This helps enhance the trophy’s size. And silhouetting against an open skyline will sometimes produce dramatic results.

Good Luck!

 

Oklahoma DWC Partners With QDMA

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC), in partnership with the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), will distribute 3,000 QDMA educational posters to more than 700 schools.

“These posters are a great fit for the 700-plus schools involved in our Outdoor Education programs,” said Lance Meek, ODWC’s Senior Information and Education Specialist. “The students at these schools are already learning about archery, hunting, fishing and more. However, the teachers are always eager for more curriculum to use in their classrooms. I think that these posters will go a long way toward teaching young hunters that they are an important part of wildlife management.”

Half of the posters are QDMA’s Selective Antlerless Harvest Poster, which outlines techniques for selective antlerless deer harvest including how to tell the difference between does and fawns and how to avoid harvesting button bucks. The other 1,500 posters are QDMA’s Jawbone Removal and Aging Poster, which details the tools needed and step-by-step process for removing deer jawbones and estimating age using the tooth replacement and wear method.

The ODWC also added a poster to the package for schools they created called “Young Buck or Old Buck?”

Schools receiving these educational posters participate in ODWC’s Outdoor Education programs including the National Archery in the Schools Program, Explore Bowhunting, Explore Bowfishing, Hunter Education and Fishing in the Schools.

Additionally, the ODWC will also give away posters through a survey conducted via social media. You can find the ODWC on Facebook at and on Twitter @OKWildlifeDept.

QDMA applauds the ODWC for its efforts to help students learn about deer hunting and management in school.

With the advent of our youth education and outreach program, the Rack Pack, QDMA wants to do more for the classrooms throughout the country, and we now offer QDMA in the Classroommemberships. You can help make a difference in the community where you live and hunt by sponsoring a school near you. For more information, please e-mail QDMA’s Youth Education and Outreach Manager Hank Forester.

 

From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation – Youth Deer Gun Season Kicks Off Friday

Mom points out a potential target to her daughter from their stand during Youth Deer Gun Season. Youth hunters 17 and younger will have the first shot to harvest a deer with a firearm during this season from Oct. 17-19, 2014

Oct. 17 is the day many young hunters are awaiting. That Friday will be opening day for this year’s three-day youth deer gun season for hunters 17 and younger.

“This year’s youth deer gun season has the potential to be a great one,” said Erik Bartholomew, big-game biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The fact that this season happens earlier in the year than other seasons is often a benefit for youth hunters.

“The youth deer gun season is set up so that kids can have a good time in the field. Deer are still in their summer feeding routines and are easy to pattern. And temperatures in October tend to be mild, and that makes for a more comfortable hunt,” he said.

“Since the deer aren’t moving as much as they would be during the rut, the kids should have a good chance to set up on a known area and get an opportunity to harvest a deer.”

The youth season is open to hunters 17 and younger who are accompanied in the field by an adult who is 18 or older. The adult is permitted to archery hunt while accompanying the youth hunter, but the adult may not hunt with a firearm.

Youths have generally had good success during this early season, which is a testament to the mentors who are taking the youths hunting, allowing them be successful.

Bartholomew urged mentors to take the youth hunters to scout out hunting areas before heading out on opening day.

“This is a fun way to get your kids outside and to learn about deer hunting. Take them scouting, and make it an experience.

“Point out the tracks, drop-pings, scrapes and rubs. Let them help you set up a blind, cut brush and conceal it. Make it a chance for them to learn about your passion for deer hunting!”

As the parent of a young deer hunter, Bartholomew offered some tips from experience. “Make sure that you bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep kids happy. I know snacks are important!

“Also consider that the kids can move around a lot. Ground blinds are great for kids because they can mask a lot of movement that might otherwise spook the deer.

“Make sure that you practice scenarios with a young hunter, such as shot placement and shooting from a blind. This will help those young hunters have success. And for them, success means they will want to do it again!

“Remember, it is about passing on the traditions that we as adults enjoy so that they can do so in the future.”

Youth hunters may harvest two deer during youth deer gun season, and one of those may be antlered. A deer license is required for each deer hunted, which means youth hunters wanting to harvest two deer can buy three deer licenses (one antlered and two antlerless) to maximize their opportunity. Additionally, resident youth hunters who do not harvest a deer during the youth deer gun season may use their unfilled youth deer gun license during the regular deer gun season. Hunters who do harvest a deer during the youth deer gun season may buy another youth deer gun license and harvest a deer during the regular gun season.

In specified counties, youth hunters may also harvest a turkey during youth deer gun season, provided they have the appropriate fall turkey license. See the “OklahomaHunting” regulations guide for details.

Deer taken by hunters participating in youth deer gun season are included in the hunter’s combined season limit (six deer, of which no more than two may be antlered). If a youth harvests a buck during the youth deer gun season, that youth can harvest another buck during either the regular gun season, archery season or muzzleloader season, for an overall total of two.

Oklahoma youths 15 and younger are exempt from the purchase of a hunting license but must possess a youth deer gun license or apprentice-designated youth deer gun license or proof of exemption.

Residents who are 16 or 17 years old must possess a hunting license or proof of exemption, plus a youth deer gun license for each deer hunted. A $5 youth hunting license or a $9 youth combination hunting and fishing license is available to 16 and 17-year-old residents, and resident youth deer gun licenses are $10.

Youths can hunt with an apprentice-designated hunting license as long as they are accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 18 or older and hunter education certified or exempt from certification. For complete details on the apprentice-designated hunting license, consult page 11 of the current “Oklahoma Hunting” regulations guide.

For complete information on youth deer gun season regulations, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting” regulations guide online at wildlifedepartment.com, or in print at any hunting or fishing license vendor statewide.

A former state employee is fighting to get his job back with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife after the agency fired him for writing a letter of recommendation defending rocker Ted Nugent.

In 2010, Nugent got in trouble with California CDFW officials for illegally hunting deer, a charge which he pleaded no contest, lost his hunting privileges in the state and later bashed the CDFW officials who enforced the punishment.

A couple years later Nugent faced similar charges, but in Alaska. In response, Robert Simpson, a former captain with CDFW, wrote the letter — with a CDFW letterhead and as a CDFW official — defending outspoken political activist. A year later, Simpson was fired.

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fhfh
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) received over 175 tons of donated meat during the past year- enough to feed 1.4 million servings to the needy. This includes deer and elk donated by hunters along with livestock and poultry donations from farmers. Since 1997 FHFH has coordinated the donation and distribution of over 16 million meals of wild game, livestock, and poultry to the hungry across America.

“Food Banks, soup kitchens, and feeding ministries continually share how critical it is to receive donated meat like this,” said Matt Wilson, FHFH Program and Development Director. “What an opportunity for the hunting and outdoors community to make a significant impact in the hunger relief effort across our nation.”

FHFH is thankful to all of the hunters and farmers, local FHFH Coordinators, financial supporters, participating meat processors, and prayer partners who make the ministry possible. With continuing support FHFH has set a goal of providing 2 million meals annually through 200 local chapters by 2016.

Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that provides nutritious meat from donated game and livestock to food banks and feeding programs that serve the needy. Formed in Maryland during 1997, FHFH now has Coordinators serving in 27 states.

Visit www.fhfh.org, call toll-free 1-866-438-3434, or email staff@fhfh.org for more information or to inquire about finding or starting FHFH to help feed the hungry of your state.