Two of Knife Rights requested Knife Law Reform bills passed a major hurdle Thursday in Oklahoma. House Bill 1460 (Knife Rights’ Knife Law Preemption bill) passed the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee by a vote of 8-1 and House Bill 1911 (Knife Rights’ Switchblade Ban Repeal bill) passed by a vote of 9-1. Both bills will now head to the House floor for a vote before they head to the Senate.

If you live, work or travel in Oklahoma, Knife Rights urges you to contact your Representative and politely ask your member to vote YES on HB1460 and HB1911. Click here to find your Representative: http://www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx

Knife Rights would like to thank Don Spencer, Vice-President of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, for working closely with us in support of these important knife law reforms

Knife Law Preemption prevents a patchwork of local ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere in a state.

Knife Law Preemption is Knife Rights’ signature legislative initiative and is the essential foundation for improving knife laws and protecting knife owners. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first Knife Law Preemption bill in Arizona in 2010 and has since passed preemption bills in Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Utah.

Automatic (switchblade) knives are legal in 38 states (some with restrictions) and 26 states have no restrictions whatsoever on these knives. Seven of those 26 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a switchblade knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of switchblade bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. In Washington state knifemakers can now legally manufacture automatic knives.

ABOUT KNIFE RIGHTS
Knife Rights (www.KnifeRights.org) is rewriting knife law in America™, aggressively fighting for a Sharper Future™ for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice to influence public policy. In the past four years, Knife Rights has passed pro-knife legislation in 11 states and prevented anti-knife legislation in four states. Knife Rights is also the lead plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit against New York City.

Oklahoma-Department-of-Wildlife-Conservation
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Friends of Hackberry Flat are hosting a star party at the Hackberry Flat Center located south of Frederick. Join Mike Caywood, manager of Alabaster Caverns State Park and amateur astronomer, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10 to learn all about the winter night sky. The event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department encourages everyone to come out to the program, whether cloudy or clear. “Hackberry Flat is a perfect spot for viewing the constellations, planets, the Milky Way Galaxy, and other celestial objects of the night sky,” she said. “This program will capture the imagination and wonders of the night sky.” Attendees are urged to dress warmly and to bring an outdoor chair and blanket. Telescopes will be set up, weather permitting.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, located near Frederick in southwestern Oklahoma, offers 7,120 acres of wildlife recreational opportunities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with many conservation-minded partners, restored this legendary wetland, creating a vast mosaic of wetland habitats for prairie waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent birds. Upland areas of native sunflowers and cultivated fields interspersed with mesquite have become one of the state’s premier dove-hunting destinations. Open for scheduled events, including a raptor program in February and Hackberry Flat Day in April, the modern Hackberry Flat Center offers interpretive guidance for wildlife enthusiasts, students and educators. For more information, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

To get to the Hackberry Flat Center, from Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south, and continue six miles. Watch for signs to the center.

For more information about this and other educational programs held at Hackberry Flat Center, contact Melynda Hickman at melynda.hickman@odwc.ok.gov or by phone at (405) 990-4977.

Thousands of pounds of venison are delivered by Bushnell employees to Operation Breakthrough, which feeds needy children
Thousands of pounds of venison are delivered by Bushnell employees to Operation Breakthrough, which feeds needy children

Bushnell, an industry-leader in high performance sports optics for 65 years, is proud to once again support Operation Breakthrough as their annual holiday organization.

Operation Breakthrough is a nationally accredited, not-for-profit corporation that was started in 1971 by Sister Corita Bussanmas and Sister Berta Sailer as a response to requests from parents in the central Kansas City area for quality child care for children of the working poor.

The program began with 50 infants, toddlers and preschoolers at 31st and Paseo. In 1976, it expanded to include before- and after-school care. The Center moved to its current location at 31st and Troost in 1981. Since that time, it has added a broad range of social services to meet the needs of the children and their families. In 2006, Operation Breakthrough completed an expansion and renovation project that doubled the size of the facility and increased its licensed capacity from 353 children to over 500.

Since 2009 Bushnell and hunters from Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma have contributed over 5000 lbs. of fresh, organic, sustainable deer meat to the Operation Breakthrough food pantry. This year Bushnell expects to collect over 2000 lbs. of meat and poultry for the center.  At today’s meat prices, that is a six year total of $30,000 worth of free range protein.

All this fresh meat goes to feed the children and families of the center.  Protein is so vital to the development of kids, and often traditional food banks are not able to donate fresh meat items.

The main contact for Operation Breakthrough is Sister Berta Sailer. To learn more about the organization and ways you can help go to http://www.operationbreakthrough.org

TULSA, Oklahoma –Guns are now allowed on school grounds, but you shouldn’t ever see them.

New rules went into effect, but it still means no weapons will actually be allowed in classrooms or any school building.

Licensed handgun owners can now bring their weapons on school property, but they must stay in their cars.

“To me, I’m not really too bothered either way by the law,” said parent Todd Yeagley.

The new law allows handgun-license owners to drive onto school grounds with their weapons in tow, but guns must stay inside the vehicle at all times.

If the licensed gun owner needs to go into a school building they must lock their car and put the weapon in a place where it can’t be seen.

“As long as kids aren’t getting ahold of them and it’s just the adults, I think it’s a great idea,” said parent, Stephanie Bonin.

Bonin said knowing there’s someone, like a teacher or administrator, on school grounds with easy access to a weapon brings her peace of mind, especially if there’s a threat on campus.

“At least having access to something quickly, if you can get out there to get it, I think it’s better than not having anything at all,” she said.

The idea of guns being left unattended in cars on school campuses has others feeling uneasy.

On Facebook, Pati Hyatt wrote, “Cars are not burglar-proof. Windows can be broken and guns stolen.”

Kris Ward was thinking along the same lines saying, “Might this law give some nut an idea they hadn’t had before?”

Yeagley believes if someone were planning an attack, they’d find their weapon before getting to campus.

“This law wouldn’t really put those guns in the hands of the people that would be planning that,” he said.

We checked around with a few public schools in the area. Jenks and Sand Springs said they will follow the law.

Tulsa is reviewing its policies and meeting with the district’s attorney to make to evaluate its options.

Legal gun owners could carry weapons on campus before the law, but they weren’t allowed to leave guns inside parked cars, and if someone was caught doing so it was a felony.

The representative who authored the bill said it allows law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd amendment right.

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.

 

Oklahoma youths and educators have until Nov. 21 to submit entries in a creative writing and scholarship contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International.

Students must use the theme “Hunting: Sharing the Heritage” or “Archery: What I Like About Archery in the Schools and Bowhunting,” or the theme’s concepts, to develop an expository essay or short story.

Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department, said the essay contest is an ideal way for youths to show their love for the outdoors and, in the process, possibly win a getaway in the great outdoors.

“The traditions of hunting and the new legacy being created by our Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools Program are important to Oklahoma, and this contest gives youths an important avenue to express their interest in these things,” Meek said.

To participate, students must be 11-17 years old and currently enrolled in any Oklahoma school or homeschool. Winners of the previous year’s contest are not eligible. Applicants must have successfully completed the Oklahoma hunter education course by the entry deadline, which is Nov. 21, 2014. The hunter education course can be completed free online at wildlifedepartment.com. Additionally, entries must have the Department’s student entry form attached.

The essay contest has two age categories: 11-14 and 15-17.

Winners in the age 15-17 Senior Apprentice Hunter category (one boy and one girl) will receive a guided antelope hunt either in New Mexico or in the Texas Panhandle, and winners in the 11-14 age category are competing for a scholarship within the Junior Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. Safari Club International’s Junior Apprentice Hunter Program is a hands-on course covering topics such as the history of hunting, the ethical basis of modern sport hunting, wildlife management, field identification, tracking and interpreting sign, game cooking, and the SCI Sportsmen Against Hunger Program.

“If you don’t enter, you can’t win,” Meek said. “I encourage everyone to put in for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

One of last year’s junior essay contest winners, Hunter Thomsen of Chandler, took his winning trip to the YO Ranch this past summer. “Just being able to go out there to the YO Ranch is truly amazing, because it’s gorgeous out there,” he said. He was able to go hunting for his first time, and he harvested a Corsican ram.

“I never thought I’d do anything like that until I won the contest. I really enjoyed it.” Thomsen said the essay wasn’t difficult to write, and he urged any eligible student to enter the contest.

The four statewide student winners and their legal guardians will be invited to Oklahoma City to attend an awards ceremony in March. In addition, the top 25 essay entrants will receive a one-year youth membership to Safari Club International. The Oklahoma Station Chapter will reimburse travel expenses up to $500 per essay contest winner. The winning student essays will be published in the OSCSCI newsletter, “Safari Trails.” Publication qualifies the winning entries for the Outdoor Writers Association of America Youth Writing Contest. Several past national winners have come from Oklahoma. Essays may also be printed in “Outdoor Oklahoma,” the official magazine of the Wildlife Department.

“Students from all over Oklahoma have won this contest,” Meek said. “Public school, private school and homeschool students are eligible to enter.”

Two educators also will be awarded all-expenses-paid scholarships for an eight-day conservation education school at Safari Club International’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) at Granite Ranch near Jackson, Wyo.

The AWLS program is conducted during the summer and presents an outdoor program for educators that concentrates on natural resource management. Participants learn about stream ecology, map and compass, language arts and creative writing in an outdoor setting, fly tying, shooting sports, wildlife management, the Yellowstone ecosystem, camping, white-water rafting, educational resources and how to implement outdoor education ideas. Six sessions will be offered June through August 2015.

Essays and applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 21, 2014, and addressed and mailed to Essay Contest, Education Section Supervisor, ODWC Jenks Office, P.O. Box 1201, Jenks, OK 74037. Hand-delivered entries must arrive by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Jenks office at 201 Aquarium Drive, Jenks. Fax entries will not be accepted.

Essay contest entry forms and teacher scholarship applications are available at the following links: 

Creative Writing Contest Information

Student Creative Writing Entry Form

Educator Scholarship Information

Educator Entry Form

 

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.

Terror in the Heartland

 

Special Report by Ginny Simone

“Evil is here,” declares one Oklahoma citizen. Following the horrific attack at Vaughan Foods in Moore — which the FBI is still refusing to call an act of terrorism — some companies are reevaluating their policies for allowing employees to carry a firearm on the job, like Mark Vaughan was the day he saved untold lives by shooting the attacker.

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Elk season is now closed in two of Oklahoma’s seven private-lands hunting zones. As of Monday, hunters in the Southeast Zone had harvested the season quota of five elk, and hunters in the Special Northwest Zone had harvested the season quota of two elk. Elk archery season remains open on private lands in the other five zones; Northeast, Northwest, Panhandle, Southwest and Special Southwest zones.

The status of elk harvest quotas is updated daily online at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com. Hunters must check the harvest quota status before going afield to ensure the season remains open for the zone in which they intend to hunt.

Oklahoma dove season opens Sept. 1

Hunting season is just eight days away, or at least what most people consider to be the beginning of the real hunting season, the opening of dove season on Sept. 1.
Next to the opening day of deer gun season, the dove season opener is the most anticipated hunting day in the state. It’s the traditional kickoff to the fall hunting seasons, even though most people don’t shoot doves after opening day or opening weekend, as the doves can get pretty scarce afterward. Last year in Oklahoma, more than 23,000 hunters in Oklahoma shot an estimated 421,000 doves, and probably 80 percent of those birds were taken either on opening day or the opening weekend of the hunting season, said Josh Richardson, migratory bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. With opening day of dove season falling on Labor Day this year, it could mean a heavy turnout of wing-shooters around the state if the weather is good. If other holiday plans prevent you from a dove shoot on Labor Day, the following weekend will be a good time to go and introduce someone new to dove hunting. Oklahoma’s annual free hunting days will be Sept. 6-7, and no hunting licenses or HIP permits are needed. Richardson said there should be plenty of birds to shoot — or shoot at — this year. Doves are challenging targets. They are small, fast and difficult to hit. The shooting can be fast and furious in a dove field, and, like in baseball, if you bat .300 or better with doves, you are doing something.

Having a good working dog along to retrieve birds can enhance a dove hunt. Photo by By Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman
Having a good working dog along to retrieve birds can enhance a dove hunt. Photo by By Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman

In southwest Oklahoma, there are reports of bunches of doves this year. From now until opening day, birds should be forming in large flocks, Richardson said. “It’s looking good from what I have seen and heard so far,” Richardson said of dove sightings. “Most people (in the Wildlife Department) who were out dove banding (this summer) were seeing a pretty good number of birds.” Richardson said this year’s dove call survey by the Wildlife Department, which provides an index of adults pre-nesting, was up by more than 20 percent, a considerable boost from last year. Finding the food and water sources that doves prefer are the key to finding doves. Heavy rain in parts of the state has reduced some of the normal food sources, as most waste grain in wheat fields has either sprouted or soured, he said. However, the summer rain also has produced more native habitat like sunflower, snow-on-the-mountain, croton (doveweed) and other food that doves like. The Wildlife Department manages several dove fields on the public hunting areas around the state through mowing, disking and burning, so seeds are on the ground to lure birds. On some wildlife management areas, wheat is planted as part of a farmer’s land lease agreement that requires 10 percent of the crop to be left for wildlife management. If you can’t scout out a location for yourself, it’s a good idea to call the biologist for the wildlife management area nearest you to find a dove field. Richardson said Beaver, Kaw and Cross Timbers are areas where biologists are working dove fields, but the premier shoot remains at Hackberry Flat near Frederick in southwest Oklahoma. “It’s been a little tougher with absolutely no water out there the past couple of years because of the part of the state it’s in, but just about the entire thing has good dove habitat throughout,” he said. “I would still call it our top area.”

Camping out by a watering hole in the evening where doves come to get a drink before heading to roost is an ideal hunting location. Photo by By Ed Godfrey,
Camping out by a watering hole in the evening where doves come to get a drink before heading to roost is an ideal hunting location. Photo by By Ed Godfrey,

Hackberry Flat (where steel shot is required) also gets a lot of hunting pressure, so it can be difficult to get far enough away from other hunters to keep stray shotgun pellets from raining on you. Hackberry Flat is so popular on the opening day of dove season, the Wildlife Department assigns extra game wardens from around the state for the hunting area. The opening day of dove season also is the second busiest day for Oklahoma game wardens as far as contact with hunters, only behind the opening day of deer gun season, said Robert Fleenor, head of law enforcement for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. A common violation on the opening day of dove season is hunters forgetting to plug their shotguns if they are using an autoloader or pump, Fleenor said. The shotgun must be capable of holding only three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.   Of course, if you are using an over/under or a side-by-side, you don’t have to worry about this. Another common violation is dove hunters simply not carrying an HIP Permit or license, Fleenor said.

A hunter aims to take down some doves flying by on a late afternoon dove shoot in a field near El Reno. Dove season opens Sept. 1 statewide. Photo by By Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman
A hunter aims to take down some doves flying by on a late afternoon dove shoot in a field near El Reno. Dove season opens Sept. 1 statewide. Photo by By Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman

“A number of them just forget to buy a license or don’t have their HIP Permit with them,” he said. Shooting across a road is another issue game wardens often encounter during dove season, he said. And if you are lucky enough to get permission to hunt doves on someone else’s property, pick up your spent shells if you would like to get invited back.