Competitive deer hunting?
Sounds like a crazy idea but Greg Koch of Broken Arrow, founder of the American Whitetail Authority, has a concept to make deer hunting much like competitive bass fishing.
His plan, which he calls the Whitetail Pro Series, is to find 40 of the best whitetail deer hunters and put them in four regional tournaments around the country.
The regionals would be held on hunting ranches or property that can accommodate 10 hunters each. Hunters would get to scout the land for two days then hunt for three days.
No deer would be killed. Each hunter would use a rifle that would fire blanks but be equipped with a special scope that would capture a digital image of the deer along with recording shot placement and distance.
The scope records a “virtual kill” that could be scored.
Judges would then determine the winner based on such things as antler size, maturity of the deer, shot placement, etc.
“As soon as you pull the trigger, it takes an image of what it is seeing through the scope,” said Brian Lynn, communications director for the American Whitetail Authority.
A championship tournament would be held in the fall, likely on a hunting ranch that Koch manages near Antlers, Lynn said.
Koch is on a tour of Bass Pro Shops around the country to promote the newly formed organization and the Whitetail Pro Series. He will visiting two dozen stores between now and the end of July.
On Tuesday, Koch will be in Bricktown at Bass Pro Shops to spread the word about the American Whitetail Authority and interview hunters who might be interested in competing. There is no entry fee. An undetermined cash prize will be awarded the winner.
Koch is expected to be at the Bricktown store from noon until 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
For more information, visit www.awapro.com. The Web site is still in production but hunters can sign up online now if they want to compete.
Eddie Camara of Shawnee keeps winning fishing tournaments on the Paralyzed Veterans of America Bass Tour.
Camara, who is afflicted with muscular dystrophy, won his second PVA event of the year last weekend, capturing the individual open competition in the Land of Lincoln tournament on Rend Lake in Mount Vernon, Ill.
Camara, who was the PVA champion in 2005, has won two of three PVA events this season, capturing the team competition with his South Carolina partner on the tour’s first stop in March on Clarks Hill Lake, Ga.
The PVA tour is for anglers with disabilities. Camara was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 1991 and helps raise money for research.
In fact, he won a bass boat at the Land of Lincoln tournament but wants to raffle it to raise money for his church and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
On June 12, Camara plans to fish in the annual “Big Catch” tournament on Lake Thunderbird to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“I want to raise more money for the MDA than any one individual has ever raised,” said Camara, who was honored by the MDA in 2007 with the “Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award” because of the example he sets for others with disabilities.
Camara has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, a progressive neuromuscular disease that causes weakness and wasting, starting in the muscles of the shoulder and pelvic areas.
Friends lift him in and out of his bass boat, and he uses a special seat on rollers that moves back and forth on a metal bar to help him maneuver from bow to stern.
Three events are left on the PVA Bass Tour this season, including the season ending tournament in Oklahoma.
Camara, a member of the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters Club, said he likely will skip the PVA tournament on the Potomac River, but will fish in Texas and in the tourney in September on Fort Gibson Lake, one of his favorite fishing holes.
“I don’t know how many tournaments I’ve won on Fort Gibson, so I am looking forward to that one,” he said.
Several wildlife bills have passed both the House and Senate and are awaiting Gov. Brad Henry’s signature.
The following legislation was consolidated into HB 2963 which passed the House 78-10 and the Senate 40-5.
If signed by the governor, the following would become law:
A layaway system for buying lifetime hunting and fishing licenses: Lifetime licenses sold to persons under the age of 18 could be paid for through installments over a three-year period, in a manner to be determined by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The license will not be issued until full payment is completed.
Eliminating the trout license: The money lost from eliminating the trout license will be offset by increasing the price of non-resident fishing licenses.
One deer license per season for non-resident hunters: Instead of having to buy several deer licenses during a season, non-resident hunters would buy one $279 deer license for that specific season (archery, muzzleloader or gun).
One more day of fishing: The five-day non-resident fishing license would be extended to a six-day license.
Pick your year: Hunters could choose to buy a hunting license that runs from the calendar year, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, or the fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.
Some hunting seasons overlap, so buying an annual hunting license that would run from July to June will keep hunters from having to remember to renew during the season.
A break for military personnel: Anyone on active duty in the United States Armed Forces could buy a resident hunting or fishing license in Oklahoma.
Senior citizens get more benefits: All the benefits that regular lifetime fishing and hunting license holders have would be extended to senior citizen lifetime licenses. For example, senior citizen license holders now would receive all of the deer licenses as part of their lifetime license, just like regular lifetime license holders.
Trapping now included: Lifetime license holders also would be exempt from having to buy the trapping license. All trapping licenses would be extended to the end of February.
The 18th annual Roman Nose Mountain Bike Festival, originally scheduled for May 16, is now set for Sunday (May 23.)
Rain forced postponement of last weekend’s event but hopefully the course will be dry enough by Sunday.
The mountain bike race is held on the trails of Roman Nose State Park, 7 miles north of Watonga.
The Roman Nose event is the third stop on the Oklahoma Tour de Dirt Mountain Bike series and usually attracts more than 100 racers from several states.
Bikers will rider a 7-mile trail around Lake Watonga and then up through the canyons to Inspiration Point.
From there, the single-track course takes racers through scenic canyons and around rock bluffs, an area the Cheyenne Indians called home in the 1800s.
“The trail at Roman Nose State Park is one of the more challenging trails in Oklahoma and a favorite of mountain bikers,” said Steve Neuman, co-owner of Wheeler Dealer Bicycle Shop in Oklahoma City, a sponsor of the race.
For more information on the event, visit www.wheelerdealerbicycles.com or www.tourdedirt.org.
I met some former high school classmates on Lake Eufaula last week.
It was a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. His wife invited me and another buddy and our families to the lake to surprise him.
We used to camp together once a year on Lake Eufaula before our lives became too busy with careers and families.
In our bachelor days, we would fish for crappie and chase sand bass across the lake. We had intentions last week to relive the good ole’ days.
Instead, the crazy Oklahoma weather interrupted the plans for these great fishermen.
Fortunately, the house that my buddy’s wife had rented on Lake Eufaula had a covered and lighted dock behind it.
So we bought a bucket of minnows and let my friend’s three small children fish around the dock.
My daughters were too busy with school to make the trip. Now I wish they had.
I’ve never seen three kids have more fun. None had much experience fishing before, but they slayed the crappie and wanted to wet a hook every minute of the trip.
After two nights of fishing, they had a basketful of crappie and bucketful of memories.
Watching them reminded me that you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to make kids happy.
I think parents put too much pressure on themselves to please their children, myself included.
All they really need are fishing poles, bobbers, a bait bucket of minnows and a crappie hole.
Who needs Disneyland?
Wister, El Reno lakes dueling for flathead records
The state record flathead caught last week from El Reno Lake is not the first time the lake has produced a state record cat.
In 2004, Ron Cantrell landed the state record flathead on a rod and reel at El Reno with a 72-pound, 8-ounce catfish.
That record stood for five years until it was beaten last year by Howe’s Tommy Couch, who landed a 76-pound flathead from the Poteau River below the Lake Wister Dam.
On Tuesday (May 11), Richard Williams of El Reno topped Couch’s record with another monster cat from El Reno Lake. The new rod and reel record for flathead catfish is now 78 pounds, 8 ounces.
The biggest flathead ever caught in Oklahoma weighed 106 pounds. That fish was hooked on a trotline in 1977 at Lake Wister.
A new catfish bait?
Cantrell and Couch were fishing for catfish when they broke the state record. Williams was bass fishing with a crankbait when he landed his flathead.
Catfishermen don’t fish with artificial lures. Their choice of bait is cut or live shad, stinkbait, worms, chicken livers, etc.
Flatheads, like other catfish, are not sight feeders. Their eyes are small and their vision is limited.
A catfish’s whiskers, or barbels, are their primary sensory organ, said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The barbels can sense chemical changes in the water that tells them food is nearby, he said.
However, Williams is not the first bass angler to catch a flathead on an artificial lure.
Flatheads are more aggressive than their cousins, channel cats and blue cats, and will strike at an artificial lure if it’s nearby, although they won’t chase it as a general rule.
Boxrucker said Williams’ flathead probably was alerted to the crankbait by its vibrations.
“If a flathead is going to take a crankbait, it’s got to sense those vibrations or something and strike at it,” he said. “And I’m sure it’s (crankbait) got to be close by. But they do strike at lures. They are aggressive and defend their territory.”
Walleye Rodeo winners
The annual Walleye Rodeo at Canton Lake was held over the weekend.
Danny Nealis of Crescent landed the largest walleye of the tournament with a 7.97-pound fish, earning him the top prize of $1,000.
Larry Hromas of Waukomis checked in the most pounds of walleye, 53.71 pounds.
A total of 646 anglers competed in the event. A total of 276 walleye were checked in for a combined weight of 779 pounds.
“Big Catch” tournament now June 12
The “Big Catch” fishing tournament on Lake Thunderbird to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been rescheduled for June 12.
The event was to be held on Saturday (May 15), but had to be postponed because of the storm damage on the lake.
The Little River Marina was destroyed by a tornado last week.
Lake Overholser record
A new lake record for striped bass hybrids has been established at Lake Overholser in Oklahoma City.
Michael Babin landed a 10.3-pound hybrid on the southwest side of the lake last month.
“The wind must have been blowing harder this day than any day this year,” Babin said. “I was fishing with a surf rod and 1-ounce weight to get the bait (medium-sized minnow) out as far as I could.
“When the hybrid took the bait it just ran with it, standing the big surf rod’s butt up in the air. The fight was unbelievable.”