Oklahoma hunters often find success out-of-state and one of the most popular destinations is New Mexico for antelope hunting.
Jan Greer of Tuttle sent this photo and note about her recent hunt on private land near Clayton, N.M.
“About 10:30 am I took my first shot, approximately 225 yards. He was hit, but still able to run away and I was not able to get another shot.” Greer said. “As I followed him, it became evident I had hit him in his right front leg. He was not moving to well, but well enough to evade me until about 5:30 pm when I was able to get within about 85 yards and was able to take him down.”
Oklahoma also has antelope hunting. The state Department of Wildlife Conservation allows limited hunting for antelope in Cimarron and Texas counties for individuals fortunate enough to have been drawn for a permit through the agency’s controlled hunts program.
It is the second most popular hunt through the program. Only the state’s elk hunts receive more applicants.
The antelope population in the Panhandle has been expanding and state wildlife officials are considering increasing the number of hunts available.
Last year, the state gave 265 permits (100 bucks) and there were 9,900 applicants. The odds of being drawn were 1 in 38. Once a hunter has been selected, he or she can’t be drawn again for an antelope so it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Buck hunts are in September and doe hunts are in December. This year’s hunts have already been selected. You can apply for next year’s controlled hunts beginning in May.
Oklahoma landowners get additional permits and some will sell antelope hunts.
Last Sunday I asked readers their opinion of the best shotguns ever made, mentioning the Browning A-5 and the Remington 870. Below are the comments I received from readers.
”I have a Belgium made A-5 (light 20 gauge) which is about as good as they get for the following reasons: superb quality of manufacturing; five-shot capacity; will shoot reloaded or new shells all day without malfunctions; very lightweight to carry and swing on target; easy to change the barrel and lastly, the design seems to make pointing a natural motion.” – J. Paul Gragg, Oklahoma City
“My vote is for the Winchester Model 12. This gun is known not only for its excellent handling but is a great all-around firearm to use in the field or on the trap range.” – Mike Cook, Duncan
“My uncle gave me a Remington 870 pump about 25 years ago. It had been used quite a bit already and I’ve continued to fire away with it. I have not owned or even shot the Browning model that you referenced, but it would have to be an extrardinary gun to pull me away from the 870.” – Mark Webb, Durant
“My vote goes for the model 12 Winchester pump 20 gauge modified choke. I’ve used this for 30-some years. It has been maintenance free. They are reasonably priced and very durable. I also had a Belgium-made Browning A-5 I couldn’t master. I gave it to my son and he loves it.” - Carl Williams, Kingfisher
“My vote for the best shotgun of all time is the Model 12 Winchester pump. Its fit, finish and overall quality is head and shoulders above any other shotgun in my opinion.” – Tom Hayes, Purcell
“For me, it is the classic Mossberg 500 pump. While it may not be as expensive as a Remington or nowhere near and intricate as the Benelli, the Mossberg is a tough utility shotgun that can be used for dove, turkey, qual, and yes, even sporting clays. I believe you could drop the thing from an airplane and it would function adequately.” – Ron Black, host of the WILD Oklahoma radio and TV show
“It has to be the 870.” - Chris Thomas, Midwest City
“My vote is for the Franchi 20 gauge automatic. It is the lightest (minimal recoil) most versatile and deadly shotgun I have ever used in my 38 years of hunting. Great for all upland game and waterfowl. Wouldn’t have another! - Jim Chapman
“My vote for the best shotgun would have to go to the Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight (the one gun my Dad got for me in 1959 when I was awarded the Boy Scout Eagle Badge). The gun is light, doesn’t kick, is almost weatherproof (with its downward ejection). Mine is a 20 gauge, but my vote goes for the entire Ithaca 37 lineup. The Remington 870 is a good gun, too, but kind of bulky when compared to the Model 37.” – Sam Ebersole, Perry
“Out of the two guns I believe the Remington 870 is best. Why is that? Well, I have owned a lot of shotguns and owned both the A-5 and the 870 and after awhile, I had trouble with the A-5 not wanting to eject shells all the way and I have owned the 870 over 10 years now and I haven’t had any problems with it. But I think the best shotgun ever is the Ruger Red Label.” – Mitchell Loudermilk
“I bought (a Browning A-5) in ’62 for $159. To me, that’s the best that’s ever been made, I think, and I have used quite a few shotguns. It would eject shells perfectly and fire as fast you could pull the trigger. I shot many a box of shells in it. Never had to take it to the gun shop (for repair). I kept it oiled and cleaned. “ 87-year-old Arnold Heath of Norman
“I guess now my secret will be public. The best all around shotgun is positively the Ruger Red Label. I prefer 20 gauge with European Stock. Here is why. Great fit and handling. Quick to the shoulder (in the Euro stock). Good balance and weight, leading to low recoil and good swing through. Reasonably priced (used to be better, the demand is driving prices up). Can be used for skeet, sporting clays and game hunting equally well. Reliable. I’ve shot literally thousands of rounds through mine without a misfire or jam. Forcing cones are just right, yielding superb pattern and low recoil.” – Sheldon Lackey, Edmond
“The Browning A-5, Belgium-made, gets my vote. Why? Because it has never failed me in its mechanical operation!!!!! Mine is a low serial number which I have owned since 1969.” Gene Bartnicki, Duncan
The Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International and Wild Game Outfitters have partnered to provide a special hunting and fishing adventure for two Oklahoma combat veterans of the post-9/11 war on terrorism.
In January or February, two veterans will be provided lodging and meals for three days of hunting and fishing near Porum.
They will each be given a guided hunt for a cow elk on the Duchess Creek Ranch, as well as guided fishing on Lake Eufaula. Virtually all expenses for the veterans and their companions will be paid.
The hunting and fishing adventures will be shown on the “Redneck Adventures” television show..
A complete description is provided on SCI’s website, http://www.oklahomastationsci.org/.
By clicking on “Special Hunt for Oklahoma Veterans”, you can read all the details, see who is eligible, and find out how to nominate a veteran (or apply yourself). Nominations need to be received by Oct. 31.
SCI is challenging other Oklahoma organizations, businesses, and individuals to join as a partner in this way of saying thank you to all of the military men and women serving our country.
If you would like to discuss how to contribute, e-mail SCI Oklahoma Chapter vice president Mike Mistelske at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday night, hundreds of Oklahoma sportsmen and sportswomen will be honoring military veterans.
Hunters and anglers in Oklahoma are reaching out to reaise awareness and much-needed revenue for Oklahoma’s Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The MAPVA is comprised of men and women who advocate for disabled veterans (many of who are disabled veterans themselves.
“Hunters and anglers appreciate the sacrifice,” said Ron Black, founder of WILD Oklahoma – a hunting and fishing television and radio show.
“Without our men and women in the military, we wouldn’t have our right to keep and bear arms, nor would we be able to participate in the oudoor activities we so love,” said Black, one of the organizers of the event and a U.S. Navy veteran.
”It’s time for us to pay tribute to them,” he said.
The PVA Celebration begins at 4 p.m. at the Del City VFW Hall. The event will include food, beverages, face painting for the kids, door prizes and a live auction with items ranging from a Buster Bass boat, guided hunting trips and a trip to Las Vegas, Nev.
Several elected officials are scheduled to attend, including U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and other state lawmakers. Radio legend Mike McCarville will be one of the guest speakers.
Proceeds from the event will got the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Who is the best bass fisherman in the state? Tough question.
I cast my vote for Edwin Evers of Talala, who just ended the BASS Elite Series with a sixth-place finish in the Angler of the Year standings.
It was Evers’ highest finish in the AOY race. There are several other anglers you can make a case for the best fisherman from Oklahoma: veteran Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, FLW pro Darrell Robertson of Jay, etc.
But Evers is currently the most consistent. Competing against the top anglers in the world on the Elite Series, Evers now has finished in the top 11 of the AOY standings three of the last four years. That’s why he gets my vote.
Shawnee angler finishes second
Kudos to Tyler Dennis of Shawnee, a member of the OKC Junior Bassmasters, who finished second in the ages 11-14 division Sunday in the Junior World Bassmaster Championship on New York’s Lake Onondaga.
Dennis caught five fish totaling 14 pounds, 8 ounces, including the big bass of the day that weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces.
The winner, Jordan McMorris of New Mexico, caught 15 pounds, 13 ounces. Dennis earned $1,000 for big bass and a $2,000 scholarship for finishing second in the tournament.
Colt McMahan of Tecumseh, another OKC Junior Bassmasters member, finished 13th in the ages 15 to 18 division of the Junior Bassmasters World Championship, catching a sack of 13 pounds, 9 ounces.
It’s almost been too hot to fish. Almost.
But while other fishing slows down in the heat of the summer, there is one fish that is easier to catch. Gar.
That’s right, gar. I know most people consider gar a trash fish but if you want to have some fun, go to Lake Wister next Saturday (Aug. 16) and enter the annual Gar Rodeo.
Six years ago this month I took over the outdoors beat for The Oklahoman and I was looking for something to write about. The Gar Rodeo was just around the corner so I drove to Lake Wister and learned how to catch gar on a rod and reel.
I can’t imagine what some people must have thought of the new outdoors writer when his first story was about gar fishing.
Fishing for them is easy. Basically, you use hookless spinnerbaits. The lures have spinner blades for a flash and long skirts of frayed nylon that get entangled in the gar’s teeth.
Reel slowly and when you get a bump, give the gar a few seconds to get those skirts around its teeth and then the fight is on. The hotter it gets, the better the gar fishing gets. At least that’s what they claimed at Lake Wister.
The Gar Rodeo usually has between 50 and 75 boats entered. They even hold a banquet at night. It’s an unique event and you can call the park office at Lake Wister for more information.
You can buy gar lures on the Internet and you can likely find some at the rodeo. Great fun to catch, but bring your tin snips if you want to clean one.
On another note, state wildlife officials say they made 8,000 pounds of caviar from the spring paddlefish runs on Grand Lake and sold the product for $1.5 million.
The money the state Wildlife Department earned in its first year in the caviar business payed for the initial start-up costs of the program ($602,000) and two additional paddlefish biologists. The state now plans to build a permanent fish cleaning and processing center at Twin Bridges State Park.
Anglers checked in 4,221 paddlefish this spring on Grand Lake. In return for cleaning the fish for free, state wildlife officials kept the eggs from female spoonbills and made caviar from it.
The biggest paddlefish checked in weighed 76-1/2 pounds. The average size was 32 pounds.
Most of the caviar will go to retailers in Japan and Europe, where wholesalers get a higher price, and be sold during the holiday seasons
Never know what you will catch
Dan Stites of Wellston dropped me a line and photo to let me know he took my advice in last Sunday’s column and took his granddaughter fishing for blue gill at a local farm pond.
“Put a No. 3 hook on a 10-pound test line attached to a Zebco 33, baited it with night crawlers and she had fun catching sunfish ’till this fish ended the outing,” Stites wrote.
The fish in the photo above is a 16-pound, 32-inch flathead catfish.
Waterfowlers who hunted at Liberty Lake near Guthrie will be looking for a new place for their blinds this season.
The Guthrie City Council voted unanimously last month to ban hunting at Liberty Lake after a park board member told the council that hunting was unsafe for a multi-use area. By that logic, you would have to ban duck hunting on every lake in the state.
I haven’t found anyone who can recall a hunting accident at Liberty Lake, but Guthrie City Clerk Wanda Calvert told me Wednesday that the primary reason for banning hunting and other recreational activities was to get the lake cleaned up.
Guthrie’s city manager told council members last month that the lake has been the site of teen-age partying and illegal activities and that city officials intend to reclaim the lake.
You can watch a video of the recent Guthrie city council meeting and the discussion about Liberty Lake at this link: http://www.cityofguthrie.com/Channel20/VOD_Council.htm
“The main reason for (banning duck hunting at Liberty Lake) is to get it cleaned up,” Calvert said. “We closed it for ATVs. ATVs can’t ride in there. We just got to get it cleaned up.”
Once the lake has been “reclaimed” by city officials, recreational uses such as waterfowl hunting may be reconsidered, Calvert said.
Until that happens, the loss of hunting opportunity at Liberty Lake is another blow against hunters in Oklahoma. The playing field continues to shrink.
Back from a family vacation in Colorado and after pouring through hundreds of emails I had received (I don’t check emails on vacation), I discovered that the outdoors page two weeks ago of my top 10 fishing songs struck a chord with some readers (pun intended).
A few people emailed with me with songs that I had missed. Larry N. Boyington, aka Larry Neal, former curator of the Wax Museum on the big 1520 KOMA, came up with this list:
1. The Fish–Bobby Rydell–1961 (it was a dance)
2. The Fish Ain’t Bitin’–Lamont Dozier–1974
3. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh–Thom Bell–1979
4. The Fish Walk–Johnny Carlo–1960 (it was a dance)
5. Fishin’ On The Mississippi–Bob Morris–1967
6. Three Little Fishes–Buzz Clifford–1961
7. Houdini–Walter Brennan–1962( a song about a catfish named Houdini that everyone was trying to catch)
“I don’t know how old you are Mr. Godfrey, but I think I am safe in saying that you have never heard of any of these,” Boyington wrote in the email.
You are correct, Mr. Boyington. I have never heard of any of them. But the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh sounds familiar.
Chuck Edwards, the radio voice of the past 31 years for Weatherford High School football and baseball and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, nominated an old song called “Catfish Bates.”
“Somewhere in my vast collection of 45 records, I have an old country fishing song called ‘Catfish Bates,”’Edwards wrote. “Don’t remember who recorded it and I have my records organized by author rather than title so can’t relate any of the lyrics to you, but I remember it being a good fishing song.”
Shane from Cushing suggested that Jimmy Houston’s theme song (“Just a chuckin and a windin, hoping I’m a findin’ an old Big mouth, waitin by a hollow log..”) should be at the top of my list.
A reader from Norman mentioned a song from the ’40s called “The Fishing Song” by The Five Scamps.
“Starts out Momma won’t let me go fishing with my boyfriend,” emailed M. Maddux of Norman. ” I remember this was a little risque for the disk jockeys in the ’40′s, as the end was daddy saying ‘momma and papa went fishing on Rio Grande , didn’t catch any fish but here I am.’”
And a colleague of mine at The Oklahoman, staff writer Robert Medley, emailed me a You Tube video of a song called “Catfish Boogie” performed by The Collins Kids of Oklahoma. It’s an old Tennessee Ernie Ford song.
“I think you missed one,” Robert said.
After watching the video and hearing the song for the first time, I think Robert is right. I would put this song at No. 10.
Check out the song and video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nmrX17TxnLI