The bill that would legalize gun suppressors for hunting rifles is apparently dead.
Senate Bill 1257 has gone dormant in the Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee.
A gun suppressor is not a true silencer. The gun still makes noise when fired, but the sound is muffled.
Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City, said people who buy them from him are landowners who live near town, but want to shoot on their property so they use gun suppressors to avoid complaints from neighbors.
Republican Senator Steve Russell said that is the same reason he wanted to legalize them for hunting in Oklahoma.
“You have cases where people have owned land for generations and now there are populated areas springing up around them and they’re afraid to use their rifle because the county sheriff will be called on them,” he told The Oklahoman’s capitol reporter, Julie Bisbee.
A gun suppressor could be an advantage for a hog hunter who might get two or three feral pigs killed before they scattered at the sound of gunfire. And in Oklahoma, we need to kill as many wild hogs as possible becaue of the damage they cause.
The only other advantage I see is that a gun suppressor might help save a hunter’s hearing, but ear plugs also work. The down side of the bill is that game wardens are against it, contending it would help poachers avoid apprehension.
Even if the law was passed by the state, a gun suppressor requires a federal permit, which Hall said is a burdensome process. The argument is that anyone who poaches would not bother to go through the process to obtain a suppressor.
“The criminals will continue to be criminals,” Russell said. “The guy who poaches is going to break the law anyway.”
But being able to hear gunshots does help game wardens.
“The sound of gunshots can be useful in catching people who are hunting illegally,” said Tony Clark, a game warden in Creek County and the president of the Oklahoma Game Wardens Association.
Clark said wardens can follow the sound of gun shots at night to catch hunters who are spotlighting, shining the headlights of cars into the eyes of deer to stop them from moving.
“It’s not a huge tool, but it does put us in the area where there may be some illegal activity,” Clark said.
Being able to hear a shot from a mile away is an important investigatory tool, another game warden told me. “Using a suppressor would make it much easier for someone to violate the law,” he said. With the opposition from game wardens, the bill didn’t have much chance of passing.
Trout season officially ends Sunday at Dolese Park, although it really doesn’t.
Anglers can keep fishing for trout as long as fish keep biting. Trout have been caught at the pond well into March in the past.
After Sunday, the daily catch limit for trout will remain at six per day, but anglers will be allowed to use up to three rods per person.
During the season, only one fishing rod per person was allowed.
The last stocking of rainbow trout in the pond near NW 50 and Meridian took place Feb. 18.
“In past seasons, 82 percent or more of the trout were caught with over 18,000 angler hours annually fished,” said Bob Martin, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department.
“With winter temperatures becoming a little more moderate, the trout should be very active.”
Dolese Youth Park Pond and the City’s annual trout season are part of the “Close to Home” Fishing Program sponsored by the the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department. Local sponsor BancFirst provided funding for the trout.
City fishing permits are $15 for an annual permit or $3 for a daily permit. A state fishing license is also required. Children younger than 16 are not required to have a city permit or state license. A trout stamp is not required to fish for trout in Dolese Youth Park Pond. For more information, call 755-4014 or 325-7288.
Jeff Kriet was not beating himself up Monday about what might have been.
The Ardmore angler finished second in the Bassmaster Classic despite having a slim lead going into Sunday’s final round.
But that lead was only two ounces ahead of Kevin VanDam, the Tiger Woods of professional bass fishing minus the marital infidelity.
If bass fishing were just luck as some who don’t know anything about the sport suggest, then Kevin VanDam would have to be the luckiest guy on the planet.
He’s now won three Bassmaster Classics crowns, 17 career tournament wins and has been the Angler of Year on the Bassmaster Tour five times. Nobody is that lucky.
“If I am going to lose, I would just as soon lose to him,” Kriet said. “I got beat by the best fisherman in the world.”
Kriet believes he fished about as “perfectly” as he could have in the tournament, sticking to the same 100-yard stretch of grass in Beeswax Creek all three days with a lipless crankbait.
“I believe I caught dang near every bass there was there,” he said.
Kriet, 40, didn’t lose a fish except for a big one he snagged in the back on Friday. In the end, however, that fish wouldn’t have mattered.
The water rising Sunday on Alabama’s Lay Lake helped VanDam and hurt Kriet.
“He (VanDam) caught two or three that he snagged,” Kriet said. “He was pretty fortunate to put those fish in the boat.
“When the water got high, he was just able to catch them better. There was nothing I could have done.”
While Kriet is not second-guessing himself, he admits he is “fed up” at losing again to VanDam, who is one of his best friends on the tour.
Kriet also led VanDam by seven ounces in the 2007 Sooner Run at Grand Lake heading into the final day of fishing. Like Sunday, VanDam overtook Kriet on the final day and won the Sooner Run. Kriet finished second.
This time, however, finishing runner-up to VanDam cost Kriet almost $500,000 and the title of world champion.
VanDam earned $500,000 with the victory. Kriet received $45,000 for second.
“He’s gotten into my pocketbook pretty hard,” Kriet said.
“I know he’s the bet fisherman out there. I don’t why he is because he doesn’t want it any more than I do or work at it any more than I do.
“The fact that he has had more success than me, it eats at me.”
Kriet has become one of the most consistent anglers on the Bassmaster Tour. He’s qualified for six Bassmaster Classics, but still lacks that signature win on the tour.
He is frustrated with finishing with second, a position he’s been in four times now. But he’s confident his day will come.
“I will win the Classic,” Kriet said. “That’s just something I’ve told myself I would do since I was 10-years-old. I don’t know when but I will win it.”
Beginning today, people may carry firearms into national parks and refuges in states where right to carry laws exist.
The federal legislation to allow this was authored by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who said “If a law-abiding citizen has the right to carry a firearm in their state, it makes no sense to treat them like a criminal if they pass through a national park while in possession of a firearm.”
You can read more on this issue at www.newsok.com/new-law-on-firearms-to-take-effect-in-oklahoma-parks/article/3441105?custom_click=pod_headline_politics)
Makes sense to me. Chances are I would never need a gun in a national park but I would feel safer in wilderness areas, especially after seeing these photos of mountain lions that are showing up on trail cameras in Oklahoma.
The debate on this issue reminds me of a trip I took a few years ago to the Red Slough in southeastern Oklahoma, a wildlife management area of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
If you don’t know where the Red Slough is, it’s about as far southeast as you can go in Oklahoma and still be in Oklahoma.
It’s earned a reputation for bird watching and duck hunting. It’s so far southeast that even alligators live on the Red Slough.
A guy from the Wildlife Department offered to meet me in Idabel and give me a ride and a tour of the Red Slough.
That’s a neck of the woods where you do not want to be lost. You might stumble into somewhere where you are unwanted.
As we were getting closer to the Red Slough and he turned onto a remote county road, my tour guide told me, “You are in the boonies now.”
“Well, I hope you are packing,” I replied.
“You bet,” he answered. “Everybody else is.”
Which brings me to my point. The only people who obey gun laws are law-abiding citizens. The outlaws are carrying their guns already.
Anglers in the Oklahoma City area have been without a tackle show for two years now, but if you are having withdrawals you can race up the turnpike to Claremore this weekend.
The Green Country Tackle Show at the Will Rogers Down Cherokee Event Center is underway through Sunday (Feb. 21. It’s the top tackle show in the Tulsa area.
Among the anglers appearing in the show are Chuck Jusice, Lake Eufaula crappie guide Todd Huckabee and Danny King, co-founder of Danny King’s Catfish Punch Bait.
2008 world champion duck caller Ryan Nolan from Roland also will be putting on seminars.
Find out more at this link: www.gctackleshow.org/
History tells us that Oklahoma anglers will be catching big bass in the near future.
The months of February and March have long been the best big bass time in the state.
Of the top 20 largemouth bass caught in this state, as recorded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the top eight were all taken in February and March, specifically on or after Feb. 27.
Allen Gifford of Davis caught his 14 pound, 8 ounce lunker from Arbuckle Lake two years ago on Feb. 27.
Gifford’s fish is third on the list, just three ounces shy of William Cross’ state record 14-11 from Broken Bow Lake on March 14, 1999.
Oklahoma’s southern lakes typically turn on first, because they get warmer earlier then the rest of the state.
At this time of year, largemouth bass are coming out of winter and moving into the pre-spawn stage where they aggressively start feeding.
Largemouth bass typically spawn in Oklahoma in April. That means February and March are the months they are most active and heaviest because the females are fat with eggs.
Two things primarily spur their feeding frenzy: day length and water temperature.
As the water temperature rises in lakes, so does the metabolism of largemouth bass, said Gene Gilliland, fisheries biologist for the state Wildlife Department.
Basically, bass need more fuel to run their engines because they are burning through calories. The females also need more calories for egg production so they aggressively start feeding.
Fifteen of the state’s top 20 largemouth bass were caught in February and March. Twelve were in the month of March alone (five in the first half of the month and seven in the second half.)
If you throw April in the mix than February, March and April account for 17 fish on the state’s top 20 largemouth bass list.
Water temperatures are generally cooler than normal at this time of year so the big bites may come later this year.
But one’s thing for certain. The lunkers will be biting soon.
The Bowhunting Council of Oklahoma will hold its annual convention and banquet Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Clarion Hotel, located at I-40 and S. Meridian in Oklahoma City.
Seminars begin at 8 a.m. Bow tuning, quality deer management and wildlife habitat are the topics.
Guest speaker for the banquet is Bill Starry of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.
An official Pope and Young scorer will be on hand to score antlers. The day’s activities also will include vendors and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Admission to the banquet is $25.
For more information, call Jeff Steele at (405) 640-7470.
A free trout fishing clinic has been rescheduled for Feb. 18 at the Putnam City High School gymnasium.
Originally, the class was scheduled Jan. 28 but had to be postponed because of a snow storm.
The clinic is for those who would like to learn to fish for trout at the Dolese Youth Park Pond near NW 50 and Meridian in Oklahoma City.
The clinic will be from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the gym, located at 5300 NW 50th, across from Dolese Youth Park Pond.
Local fishing experts and educators from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department will conduct the clinic.
Participants do not need to bring equipment. Pre-registration is required.
Call 755-4014 to register.
They say the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life is the day he buys a boat and the day he gets rid of it.
I think that must be true. My older brothers have owned several boats over the years.
They always called each one the same thing: “More Trouble Than It’s Worth.”
Well, that name didn’t make the list of top 10 boat names for 2009.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) annually compiles a list of the top 10 most popular boat names in the United States.
One name stands out for 2009: “Bail Out.”
It clearly speaks volumes about what’s on boater’s minds, said BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman.
My cynical nature tells me that “Bail Out” made the list because a bunch of Wall Street folks bought yachts with stimulus money and are laughing all the way to the bank.
Anyway, here is the top 10 list for 2009 from BoatU.S.:
1. Second Wind
2. Seas the Day
3. Lazy Daze
4. Jolly Roger
5. Bail Out
6. On the Rocks
8. Serenity Now
10. Comfortably Numb
I can’t believe “Kiss My Bass” didn’t make the list.
The National Wild Turkey Federation presented a check for $169,985 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at Monday’s meeting of the state wildlife commission.
The money will be used mostly for improving turkey habitat and turkey hunting in the state.
Gary Purdy of Enid, the regional director for the National Wild Turkey Federation, reported that by the end of 2010, the conservation organization will have contributed more than $1 million in Oklahoma since 1985 for improving wildlife habitat, outreach and education programs.
Frankly, I usually don’t report such stories. They and the obligatory “check holding” photos that go with them are boring and mundane.
And there are so many groups that give money to the Wildlife Department it rarely becomes newsworthy for newspapers with tight news holes.
Trout Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited. Safari Club. Quail Forever. NatureWorks. I could go on and on.
It seems like at almost every state wildlife commission meeting there is a conservation organization giving a few thousand dollars to the Wildlife Department.
But over the years, a few thousand dollars turns into hundreds of thousands. And in the case of the National Wild Turkey Federation, it’s about to top $1 million.
It is newsworthy. These groups do important work that often go unnoticed and unrecognized.
So here is a pat on the back to all that do it right. Without wildlife conservation groups, sportsmen in Oklahoma would not be enjoying the outdoor opportunities that undoubtedly many of us take for granted.
Like the enhancements to the state’s most popular trout fishing stream, the Lower Mountain Fork River. Trout Unlimited chapters and the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation had a lot to do with making that happen.
Like the recent improvements made on the Waurika Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl hunting. Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Wildlife Department on that project and on many others.
The return and proliferation of turkeys all across the state. The Oklahoma chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation has played critical roles in ensuring there are wild turkeys now in all 77 counties.
“Without the help of the many generous conservation organizations around the state we would not have the first-class hunting and fishing we have in Oklahoma,” said Nels Rodefeld of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“Their financial support, their sweat equity and their partnerships are a big part of what make this state such a great place to live and play.”
Many of these conservation organizations are holding annual fund raising banquets in the coming weeks.
They support hunting, fishing and wildlife in Oklahoma. So get out and support them.