Thought I would share some of the photos I have received from the muzzleloader, youth and archery deer seasons.
Mike McCoy of Moore e-mailed this photo of a 9-point that he harvested on the opening morning of muzzleloader season on the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area in Pushmataha County.
“Who says there’s no good public hunting anymore?,” McCoy said. “Me and my buddies headed to Honobia Creek WMA for our fourth season hunting there. Took this trophy buck opening morning of black powder season. He’s a 9-point typical weighing 122 lbs. This is the third trophy taken by our group in four years there. A nice 10-point and an 8-point were also taken on opening day by our party. The $40 land access permit was well worth it once again.”
Justin Mauldin of Tuttle killed this 8-point buck while hunting at the Oklahoma Sportsman’s Club lease at McGee Creek during the youth season.
He was guided by two local members of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff team, Brian Magee and Chris Walls. Justin and four other kids were chosen for the trip while attending the Cross Timbers Father and Son Archery Camp in August.
Cameron Pierce, 16, of Oklahoma City received an invitation from a close family friend, Chris Courtney, to participate in his first deer hunt during the 2009 blackpowder season.
After borrowing a muzzleloader and completing all the prep work, Cameron and his father, Rick Pierce, along with Chris, went out early on opening day.
“The morning was uneventful, but that afternoon was a different story,” Rick Pierce said. “While walking to the blind, Cameron and Chris spotted a nice muscular buck that had yet to spook. With Chris’s expert guidance, Cameron was able to line up and take a 65 yard shot that took the buck down where he stood.
“After all the necessary effort to recover and remove the buck, we found that he was 155 pounds field dressed with a nice symetrical set of antlers. After a quick trip to Terry’s Taxidermy, all the meat will be proccessed and the buck will be mounted as a momento of this incredible experience.”
Sydney Jensen, 12, of Tuttle harvested her first deer northwest of Woodward during muzzleloader season.
“She wanted her first deer to be a good buck. She got her wish,” said her father, Tim Jensen. ” She decided to pass on several smaller bucks, and even on two nice does (Saturday) evening. I had told her we would stay another 15 minutes and then go. Five minutes later he showed up. She made a pretty good shot too, right at 100 yards, and he dropped in his tracks.
Hayden Dickson, 16, of Bray shot this 8-pointer with his bow at 25 yards.
“It was his first buck ever to harvest it with a bow was quite impressive,” said his father, Darian Dickson. “He has taken several does and passed up smaller bucks in the past few seasons but had no problem making up his mind when this pretty boy walked out.”
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is asking everyone to watch for whooping cranes that will be migrating through the state for the next several weeks.
The migrating population, which is less than 270 birds, will pass through the central one-third of the state between now and the first week of November, according to Mark Howery, wildlife diversity biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“The population size is remarkable, especially considering there were no more than 15 whooping cranes left in 1941,” Howery said.
Twice a year, whooping cranes face a long and potentially hazardous migration. In the fall, they travel from nesting grounds in Alberta, Canada, to wintering grounds along the Texas coast at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
“If you see a whooping crane, let us know,” Howery said. “Reports help us better understand the migration needs and behavior patterns of these birds.”
You can report sightings to the agency’s Wildlife Diversity Program at (405) 522-3087. Reports should include the date, location, number of birds seen, and what they were doing (i.e. – flying, feeding, loafing). That information will be shared with a federal tracking program led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Whooping cranes may be seen during the day foraging in small groups of two to six birds in open, marshy habitats like wet, agricultural fields or river bottoms. At night, they gather in communal roosts on mudflats and often roost alongside sandhill cranes.
Perhaps the most reliable place in Oklahoma to see a whooping crane is at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, which is designated critical whooping crane habitat. One other area that is reliable to view the bird is Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area in Tillman County.
The e-mails are in from Sunday’s column on deer-vehicle collisions.
Gloria Ward of Talihina has had more than her share of deer accidents.
“My husband said I had to write to you about my deer experiences. I use the word experiences, because over the past 14 years I have hit four of them.
“I used to drive from Talihina to Hartshorne to work everyday for 12 years. My co-workers and students gave me the nickname of deer killer. They would ask every week if I had seen or hit any deer on my way to work. My friend bought me four deer chasers for the front of my car and a tag that said ‘Watch out, deer killer.’
“The closest deer I hit was only 2 miles from my house. I was driving out just outside of Talihina when I hit the deer and did about $1,200 in damage. My worse wreck was when I swerved to miss a huge deer at the top of the mountain at the Hartshorne to Wilburton turn off.
“When I went off the road, my steer broke and I lost total control of the car. I did a 180 spin on the top of the hill on a curve. I then went off the side of the road on two wheels. I missed the deer, but it cost me over $2,500 for the damage to my car.
“This does not cover the cost of the damage to my body from the wreck. I almost got a ticket for not having control of my car also. I had to talk the cop out of writing me a ticket. I felt good for not hitting the deer, but he said I should of hit it anyway.
“My other two wrecks were minor with only little damage to the bumper and window. I did not kill any of the deer I hit, except one. We did not get the meat for any of them, which I think is wrong since they did so much damage to my car and me.
“My husband keeps telling me to stop swerving and just hit the deer. It does less damage to the car and myself. I just want to stop hitting them.
“I hope you enjoy my stories, because now I think they are funny; but at the time they were scary.”
Former Hydbro police officer Sterling Moeller shared this story:
“A few years back, I was traveling a rural road in Caddo County. I saw the first doe cross the road and was watching her, completely forgetting that they usually aren’t alone. That’s when the other larger doe met the front of the S-10 pickup. About $1,200 later it was running as good as new.
“While I was police officer in Hydro, I got a call for a deer/vehicle accident on the south side of town. When I arrived, I didn’t notice any damage to the front of the truck. That’s when the driver told me that the deer hit them.
“She made a rather large dent on the passenger side of the truck with her head. After contacting the local game warden, he told me to go ahead and dispatch the deer myself.
“As far as your tips to help avoid hitting deer goes, I have another that I have found to be quite useful. During the night time driving, dim the interior dash lights to just where you still see the speedometer. This will reduce the glare on the inside of the windshield, making seeing outside the vehicle much easier.”
Jeanna Halsey of Guthrie also had a run-in with a doe:
“I live five miles west of Guthrie and my friends and I take turns driving to Kingfisher for water aerobics twice a week. It was my turn to drive and I had two other ladies with me in my 2008 Cadillac DTS. I was driving on SH 33 toward Kingfisher and was about a mile west of the Cashion road exit when a doe ran into the side of my car and knocked the driver’s side mirror completely off and dented the driver’s side of the car, including the window.
“My car had about 3,500 miles on it and it cost $1,875.68 to repair it. My friend, Jane Barriman, saw the deer coming. I didn’t. I pulled over and she called 911 and then was cut off after just a little conversation because that is a dead zone for cell phones. We came back to my house and called the sheriff’s office.
“They had heard part of the call before it was cut off and were looking for us. The game ranger was going to check on the deer that ended up on the side of the road. She came out near a creek with lots of trees on both sides. Needless to say, we drive slower in that area now and two of us now have deer whistles on our cars.”
John Coley banged into a doe in Oklahoma City:
“I was on the way to work about five years ago. It was about 6:40am on Morgan Road. near SW 29. It was late fall and still dark at that hour. The deer (it was a doe) leaped over the fence along side the road and right in front of my car.
“There was no time for braking or swerving. I could only hang on and brace for the impact. I was driving a ’89 Mercury Cougar so I was in a good size car but the hood folded up and the front end exploded from the car.
“The impact killed the deer and threw it several yards into the opposite ditch. I still had a couple of parking lights still working so I limped my car a few blocks to work. In the light of day I found pieces of deer hide imbedded in the front end of my wrecked car. With deer, sometimes there is no time to avoid them. They just appear in front of you.”
Phil Owens agrees. It’s best not to swerve to miss a deer:
“I saw your story and it brought back memories of my experience with a large mule deer doe seven miles east of Gunnison, Colo.
“It was about 10 at night and I was headed to Ridgeway to go elk hunting. She actually hit me as much as I hit her as she was running across the road.
“Your advice to not swerve is correct as I was going 70 and I swerved and had my truck up on two wheels for a short distance. I was very lucky that I did not roll my truck!! I had $3,800 in damage but was able to finish my hunt and fortunately harvested a bull and cow.”
And this from Maggie Green:
“I was not on a lonely road in the country nor on a major highway. I was on 122nd and Portland Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. one fall evening in 2002.
“Out of the corner of my eye I could see a deer approaching but there was no way to avoid it. I was headed east on 122nd and to steer to the left put me in oncoming traffic and to steer right put me closer to the deer and there were cars approaching from my rear as well.
“So I decided I would take on Bambi. She hit my car on the right passenger door near the the rear-view mirror. All I could see was this brown eye-ball on my front glass. Of course, I was fit to be tied, pulled to the side of the road and searched frantically for the carcass so at least I could have venison for dinner.
“She had bounced off and ran back where she came from, which was a small, wooded area near the intersection (this was before the new John Marshall was completed). I could see the deer hiding behind some trees. She was wounded but still mobile and able to run.
“I wanted to at least beat the thing down and take it home for supper. However, that was not to be as other motorists called the police. I called my brother-in-law, an avid hunter, to come help me at which point the policeman told me to just let it go, deer hunting season had not started yet, so I did.”
Rojas, Kisselburg earn an extra $10,000
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dean Rojas and Jayson Kisselburg, both of Lake Havasu, Ariz., picked up another $10,000 in the Fish and Chips tournament Sunday by being the highest finishing team in the poker and bass tournaments combined.
Riverwind Casino in Norman hosted the Fish and Chips – a bass tournament on Arbuckle Lake Friday and Saturday and then a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament on Sunday.
Rojas and Kisselburg won the fishing side of the tournament and $20,000 then scored high enough in the poker tournament – which was won by a non-pro angler, Roy Jones of Edmond – to secure the extra $10,000 purse for the highest point total in the two tournaments combined.
Arbuckle spanks the pros
Riverwind Casino officials say they are interested in holding the Fish and Chips again next year, but they might have trouble getting the pro bass fishermen to return to Arbuckle after two tough days of fishing there.
Before the tournament, several local fishermen were worried that the pros would catch and kill so many fish that it would ruin the bass fishing at the lake.
Instead, almost everyone struggled to catch fish Friday and Saturday at Arbuckle, prompting four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn to tell the crowd at Saturday’s weigh-in, “We didn’t hurt it.”
Speaking of Clunn, I learned Saturday that he has some Oklahoma roots.
He told the crowd at the weigh-in that his father was raised south of the Hartshorne-Haileyville area and much of his early fishing as a kid was done in the creeks of the Kiamichi Mountains.
Arbuckle “fixing to explode”
Even though they didn’t catch many fish, most of the pros said they just hit Arbuckle on the wrong weekend as recent rains raised and muddied the lake.
Most of the local fishermen say the winter time bass fishing on Arbuckle is better.
Elite Series pro Paul Elias said when the water gets colder, the Arbuckle bass will be in the flooded grass.
“That lake is fixing to explode,” he said.
Okie makes the Bassmaster Classic
Broken Arrow angler Scott Ashmore qualified for the Bassmaster Classic Saturday by finishing second in the Southern Open points standings.
The top three anglers in the points standing earn a berth to the 2010 Classic in February on Alabama’s Lay Lake.
It’s Ashmore’s first trip to the Bassmaster Classic. He entered Saturday’s final Southern Opens event on South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Lakes as a long shot to make it into the top three, but two key pros faltered, which opened the door for him.
The second-place finish also earns Ashmore a chance to fish on the Bassmaster Elite Series next year.
Ashmore joins fellow Oklahoma anglers Tommy Biffle (Wagoner), Jeff Kriet (Ardmore) and Terry Butcher (Talala) in the Bassmaster Classic field.
It’s still bear season
The black bear muzzleloader season remains open. One muzzleloader hunter in Le Flore County was successful over the weekend bringing the total number of bears that have been killed to 17.
The bear season will close Nov. 1 or when a total of 20 bears have been killed.
Le Flore, Latimer, McCurtain and Pushmataha are the only counties open for black bear hunting. This is the first year Oklahoma has opened a black bear hunting season. Only archery and muzzleloader hunting are allowed.
Of the 17 bears that have been taken by hunters, nine have been from Le Flore County, three each from McCurtain and Pushmataha counties and two from Latimer.
For those who are interested in attending the weigh-ins for the Fish and Chips bass tournament now underway on Arbuckle Lake, today’s (Friday) weigh-in begins at 6 p.m. on an outside stage at Riverwind Casino in Norman.
Saturday’s weigh-in after the second and final day of the tournament begins at 4 p.m. at Riverwind.
And if anyone wants to watch these guys play Texas Hold ‘Em, the poker side of the tournament begins Sunday at 11 a.m. in the casino.
The team that wins the bass fishing tournament wins $20,000; The team that wins the poker tournament earns another $20,000; And the highest finishing team combined gets $10,000.
The tournament, the first of its kind, has brought former Bassmaster Classic champions Rick Clunn, Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam to Oklahoma along with other pro anglers.
The deer gun youth season was a winner for the Deans of Guthrie.
Not only did Robert Dean II get to see his daughter harvest her first deer, he also was rewarded by taking a 13-point buck with his bow in Logan County.
During last weekend’s special youth gun season, all of the youth hunters had to be accompanied by an adult who couldn’t hunt with a gun, but could with a bow since archery season is open.
Not long after Hannah Dean, a fifth grader at Guthrie Upper Elementary, shot a little 5-pointer, a 13-point buck wandered by for her dad, who had taken his bow along just in case.
Also passing along a photo of his son’s first deer was Zane Finton of Stillwater. His son, Braden, shot a 9-point, 196-pound buck south of Tonkawa on Sunday during the youth gun season.
Deer muzzleloader season opens Saturday and there’s been lots of deer movement in the state already.
Duck, sandhill crane season to open
Other hunting season openers Saturday include the opener in duck hunting zone one (northwest and north-central Oklahoma). With all of the recent rain, the duck season forecast is looking better and better.
“Already a good number of early migrants have been moving through, and the continued cold weather up north should keep pushing birds on down to us,” said Josh Richardson, migratory bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Sandhill crane season also opens Saturday, west of I-35 only.
Bear season still open
It appears there will be a muzzleloader season for black bears in southeastern Oklahoma.
The number of black bears taken by Oklahoma bow hunters as of Monday morning (Oct. 19) was 16, leaving four more bears that can be killed before the season is closed. Only one bear was checked in over the weekend.
The hunting has gotten tougher as the acorns started falling and natural food became more abundant. Bears are no longer coming to bait as often as earlier in the season.
Baiting bears is allowed on private land in Oklahoma but not on public hunting areas.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation placed a limit of 20 bears that could be killed during the state’s first black bear hunting season, which opened Oct. 1.
If 20 haven’t been taken by Saturday (Oct. 24) – the opening day of deer muzzleloader season – than a bear muzzleloader season also will open and remain open until the limit of 20 is reached or when the nine-day deer and bear muzzleloader season ends on Nov. 1.
No, it’s duck season
Duck season already is open in the Panhandle and Saturday is the season opener in duck hunting zone one, which covers northwest Oklahoma and much of north-central Oklahoma.
The season opener for the rest of the state – duck hunting zone two – will be Nov. 7. The first half of the waterfowl season closes Nov. 29 in both zones one and two but reopens Dec. 12.
Duck season will remain open through Jan 17 in zone one and Jan. 31 in zone two. Duck hunting continues uninterrupted in the Panhandle counties through Jan. 6.
Changes to this year’s waterfowl season include expanded opportunities for pintails and canvasbacks as well as wood ducks.
This season, Oklahoma waterfowlers can hunt pintails and canvasbacks throughout the entire waterfowl season as well as take an additional wood duck (three instead of last season’s two) as part of their daily limit of six ducks.
Ribeyes in the sky
Sandhill crane season also opens Saturday west of Interstate 35. Dubbed the ribeye in the sky, the daily limit of sandhill cranes is three. The season goes through Jan. 24. Hunters must have a federal sandhill crane permit, which costs $3.
Muskogee angler takes sixth
Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee finished sixth in the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship on Lousiana’s Cypress Black Bayou Lake over the weekend.
Glasgow picked up a check for $3,250. The event was won by Judy Wong of Many, La. Pamela Martin-Wells of Bainbridge won the Angler of the Year title and locked up a spot in the Bassmaster Classic to fish against the men.
Glasgow was the 2007 Angler of the Year on the Women’s Bassmaster Tour but at that time BASS did not award the women’s AOY champion a spot in the Bassmaster Classic.
Power company joins National Wild Turkey Federation
American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) has agreed to become a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Energy for Wildlife program.
As part of the program, the groups will work cooperatively to identify, develop and implement programs to enhance the environment and habitat for a number of wildlife species on AEP-owned lands and transmission rights of way.
This is important for Oklahoma as AEP is the parent company of Public Service Co., of Oklahoma (PSO).
RV show opens at State Fair Park
The annual fall RV Show and Closeout Sale opens today (Thursday) at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City and runs through Sunday.
The show will be held in three buildings: Cox Pavilion, Centennial and the Travel and Transportation Building.
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Sanctioned by the Central Oklahoma RV Dealers Association, admission to the show is $8 for adults while ages 12 and younger receive free admission.
But tickets are half-price today (Thursday) and Friday.
Deer youth gun season opens Friday
The three-day youth deer gun season opens Friday statewide.
During youth deer gun season, hunters younger than 18 years of age can harvest one antlered and one antlerless deer through Sunday.
Deer taken by youth hunters during the youth deer gun season are included in the hunter’s combined season limit, but they do not count as part of the regular deer gun season limit.
All youth participating in the youth deer gun season are required to be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older.
The adult cannot gun hunt, but may archery hunt while accompanying the youth hunter.
Archery deer season is currently open and continues through Jan. 15.
Bear season remains open
Black bear season might stay open long enough for muzzleloader hunters after all.
Only one bear was taken by a bow hunter over the weekend, bringing the total to 15 for the season in the four southeastern Oklahoma counties open for black bear hunting – Pushmataha, Latimer, Le Flore, and McCurtain.
“We had six inches of range in some parts of the region (last week),” said Joe Hemphill, southeast region supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “It kept some of them (hunters) from getting to their hunting areas, I know that.”
Only 20 bears can be killed by hunters then the season ends. If 20 haven’t been killed by bow hunters by Oct. 24, then the black bear season will be open for muzzleloader hunting until the total of 20 bears is reached.
An earlier rut?
Bucks have been pretty shy in the first two weeks of archery season, but state wildlife officials are reporting more deer movement than usual at this time of the year.
“It seems like things are moving awful earlier,” Hemphill said. “The rut may start earlier than usual. We got lots of deer moving and lots of them are being hammered on the roads.”
Hunts for disabled and ill children
The three-day youth deer gun season opens Friday statewide.
The Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach Program, which sponsors hunts for disabled and chronically or terminally ill children (17 and younger) is holding some youth deer hunts in western Oklahoma Friday through Sunday.
For information, call Tim Slavin at (405) 826-7286 or visit www.oklahomaoutdooroutreach.org.
Bass records at Lake Texoma
There has been some good fall bass fishing at Lake Texoma, evident by two recent lake records.
Joe Copeland of Roff landed an 11.2-pound largemouth on Saturday in the Alberta Creek area on a soft plastic bait. The catch has been certified by the state Wildlife Department as a new lake record largemouth for Lake Texoma.
Also on Saturday, Josh Williams of Tuttle caught a 3.4 pound spotted bass on the Washita arm of Texoma that also is a new lake record.
Mountain climber to speak
Julia Niles, the first woman to complete a one-day solo grand traverse of the Tetons, will be speaking Wednesday night at Backwoods in Oklahoma City, located near NW 122 and May.
Niles is a professional climber skier and adventure travel guide who has just returned to mountain climbing after having a tumor removed from her lungs that hindered her ability to breathe.
Niles will share stories of her recent climbing and skiing trips in an inspirational multi-media presentation.
The presentation is free and open to public. It begins at 7 p.m.
If planning to attend, Backwoods is requesting an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 751-7376.
Some notes about things going on this weekend.
The Oklahoma City Gun Club is hosting the state cowboy action shoot.
The event continues today (Oct. 9) through Sunday and will decide this year’s state champions in cowboy action shooting.
If you are not familiar with cowboy action shooting, it’s a timed event where competitors shoot Old West guns at targets in a certain sequence. They are penalized for misses or shooting at the wrong targets.
Besides shooting Old West guns or replicas of the Old West guns, everyone dresses the part and takes on an alias.
Spectators are welcome. For more information or directions to the OKC Gun Club, visit www.okcgunclub.org.
Bear season is still open in southeastern Oklahoma and the number of bears taken by bow hunters is now up to 14, as of Friday morning (Oct. 9).
It doesn’t look we are going to make it a muzzleloader season for bears.
State wildlife officials are only allowing 20 bears to be killed by hunters than the season is closed. A muzzleloader season is scheduled to open Oct. 24. But at this rate, there is a very good chance bow hunters will have bagged 20 bears and the season will end before Oct. 24.
The fact that 14 have already been killed indicates there are more bears in southeastern Oklahoma than what state wildlife officials thought. Next year, they may increase the limit.
Other states that allow bear hunting allow a harvest of up to 20 percent of the population.
Alan Peoples, chief of the wildlife division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said bears are being checked in by hunters from areas of southeastern Oklahoma not known to have bears.
“We are getting bears from places where we didn’t have any data,” he said.
The state Wildlife Department is going to learn a lot about the bear population from this hunting season, he said.
I’ve been hearing some optimistic reports about quail this year. Sue Selman, who owns a big ranch in Harper County, thinks it’s going to be a pretty good year for quail hunting.
Peoples said reports from the field have been “mainly good and much better than last year as a rule.”
The state’s October roadside surveys will be conducted in two weeks.
“Most people I have talked to have been optimistic,” Peoples said.
On Saturday night, the High Plains Quail Forever Chapter is holding a fund raising banquet in Elk City at the Elks Inn.
For tickets, call Dale or Linda Garner at (806) 826-0761.
Another fundraiser is being held by the Indian Territory Quail Forever Chapter in Pryor.
The banquet will be at the Elks Club.
For ticket information, call Bob Free at (918) 638-3523 or Paul Ayotte at (918) 232-5148.
Lake Thunderbird stuff
Anglers who fish at Lake Thunderbird may want to attend a meeting Monday night at the Crows Secret Nature Center at Thunderbird State Park.
The topic of the meeting is the 5-year fisheries management plan for the lake.
State wildlife officials will discuss past survey data and future fish management strategies for Lake Thunderbird.
Other topics may include water usage, pollution, habitat needs, fish regulations and lake access.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. For more information, call Keith Thomas at 325-7288.