The famous duck decoy makers in Henryetta are now producing turkey decoys.
With turkey season opening April 6 and the spring youth season Saturday and Sunday, G&H Decoys’ first turkey decoys just became available today (March 31) at its factory in Henryetta.
“We’ve been working on it for two years,” said G&H owner Dick Gazalski, commonly known as “Duck G.” in the waterfowling community.
G&H Decoys in Henryetta is one of the major manufacturers of waterfowl decoys in the world. G&H is a pioneer in the industry.
The business started in 1934 by Dick’s father, John Gazalski, who was an avid goose hunter.
John Gazalski envisioned a goose decoy that would stack like pie plates on top of each other for easy carrying.
He crafted a lightweight, stackable shell decoy from a paper product and began hunting with it. It was much more lifelike and easier to carry than the crudely carved wood decoys some hunters were using at the time.
Other hunters saw Gazalski’s decoy and wanted one like it so he started making more in the workshop of his home.
Word spread about the decoy, which became known as “The Henryettan,” and letters would arrive to Gazalski’s home addressed to the “Henryettan Decoy Manufacturer.”
Dick Gazalski took over the business in 1966. Other decoys are less expensive, but Gazalski contends the quality of G&H products cannot be matched.
Now, G&H is producing turkey decoys and Gazalski thinks they are unique. The motion decoys come in a set of three: two hens and a jake.
“It’s unique,” Gazalski said. “They’re easy to put up and tear down. They come in a real nice carrying gag to carry on your bag or over your shoulder.”
Rio Grande and Eastern turkey decoys are available. The decoys should soon be available for purchase online, Gazalski said.
The biggest gun show in the world is Saturday and Sunday in Tulsa as it is time once again for the annual Wanenmacher Arms Show.
The gun show has 4,000 tables and six miles of exhibitors.
Collectors and gun enthusiasts from across the world have traveled to Tulsa to attend the show.
The show typically will have gun exhibitors from Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Belgium and Holland in addition to the United States.
The gun show has been a staple in Tulsa for more than 50 years.
Joe Wanenmacher is the man responsible for bringing 11 acres of guns to the Tulsa fairgrounds twice a year. He holds a spring and fall show each year.
More than four decades ago, Wanenmacher was a petroleum consultant in Tulsa. His hobby was, and still is, guns.
As a young man, Wanenmacher was a hunter, target shooter and member of the Indian Territory Gun Collectors Association, which since 1955 had sponsored a gun show as a club project.
After being elected secretary-treasurer of the club, the duty to organize the gun show fell on Wanenmacher.
The first show had just 19 tables, but Wanenmacher traveled the world, recruiting gun exhibitors to Tulsa, increasing the number of tables to 400 in just a few years.
He was spending so much time working to improve the gun show, it kept him away from his real job.
So Wanenmacher bought the show, paying the club a fee each year for sponsoring it.
Over the years, Wanemacher kept working to build the show, traveling and recruiting more exhibitors and it kept growing.
Almost every kind of gun can be found at the Wanenmacher show, from modern to antique.
Show hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for ages 11 and younger.
The show is held at the QuickTrip Center on the Tulsa fairgrounds.
Come see me at H&H
On Friday, I will be conducting a live chat online about anything outdoors on NewsOk.com from the H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City. The chat begins at 11:30 a.m. so log on with any questions or comments.
After the chat, I will be at H&H from from noon to 1 p.m. if anyone wants to stop by with any fishing or hunting stories.
Jeff Smith of Edmond landed a hybrid bass Saturday morning at Arcadia Lake that weighed nearly 13 pounds.
It is probably the biggest hybrid caught at the Edmond lake.
“Last fall, we had several exceptional fish (hybrids) caught out there,” said Leon Mixer, maintenance supervisor at Arcadia Lake. “Most were from 6 to 10 pounds.”
Arcadia has been stocked with hybrids, hatchery-raised crosses between striped bass and white bass, off and on for the last several years, Mixer said.
Hybrids feed in schools and often travel long distances following shad, their main staple. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks hybrids in more than a dozen Oklahoma lakes, including Arcadia, Foss, Sooner, Altus-Lugert, Canton, Fort Cobb, Overholser and Kaw, just to name a few.
However, Waurika Lake has the greatest reputation in the state for outstanding hybrid fishing.
Hybrids can be distinguished from white bass as hybrids have two tongue patches. White bass have one.
Striped bass have two tongue patches but usually have dark, unbroken lines on each side. Hybrids have some broken lines on each side.
Smith caught his hybrid on an H&H spinnerbait in orange, yellow and brown on the east side of the lake, south of the dam.
The digital scale on the boat had a dead battery so Smith borrowed someone’s manual scale at the boat ramp which showed the fish weighing between 12½- and 13 pounds.
Since Smith released the fish and didn’t get it weighed on certified scales, it won’t officially be considered a lake record by the Wildlife Department. The City of Edmond also keeps its own lake records for Arcadia.
Arcadia often gets overlooked by anglers but it has some pretty good crappie, black bass and apparently, hybrid fishing.
Crappie fishing is very popular around the enclosed heated fishing dock at Spring Creek Park off 15th Street in Edmond .
Another fishing dock was recently built on Arcadia at Arrowhead Point, which is in the far southeast corner of Spring Creek Park.
The new dock is not heated but state wildlife officials put some manmade structures and sunk about 40 cedar trees around it for fishing habitat.
Mixer said before the current cold snap there were signs that the crappie were about to spawn. The fish were fluctuating between shallow and deeper water, moving in and out with a few 1½ to 2 pound slabs being caught.
“Crappie are the state’s most finicky fish,” Mixer said. “If you are not there at their time, you are at their mercy.”
Mixer said the black bass fishing has been slow of late at Arcadia, but the lake has produced some 8 and 9 pounders this month.
With a few warm days and sunshine, the crappie fishing should bust loose at Arcadia and other lakes across the state.
Another Oklahoma pro has won a major bass tournament.
This time it was Jason Christie of Park Hill, who caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to win his first title on the FLW Tour and $125,000.
Christie captured the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell, S.C., with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 70-11.
“This goes to the people who support me,” an emotional Christie said Sunday. “They’re sitting there watching me right now – my parents, kids, wife and uncles.”
The final day of competition started slowly for Christie. He made a run down the same area in Beaver Creek he had fished the previous days of competition and didn’t have a bite at almost 10 a.m.
Christie stuck with his game plan, however, and relocated to another spot in the same creek.
“I had one stretch that I could catch them in, but I went through the entire stretch and never got a bite,” Christie said. “I moved across to a little half-moon – a little notch in the bank that has a deep cut that runs into it. That’s where I caught my fish.”
Christie said he caught most of his keeper fish in Beaver Creek with four coming during the second day from Shoal Creek.
Christie said he caught one fish by flipping a YUM soft plastic bait the second day of competition, and said 75 percent of the rest came on a BOOYAH spinnerbait and the others on a YUM F2 Mighty Bug.
“The spinnerbait has taken a lot of trial and error with me,” Christie said. “The BOOYAH ½-ounce spinnerbait has a single willow blade on it and the wire is light, so when you throw it, it has the same vibration as a (BOOYAH) Boogie Bait. It has a thumping vibration. And the fish – pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn fish – they like that vibration.”
Christie opened the tournament on Thursday with five bass weighing 22-4. On Friday he added another five bass weighing 20-4. He then caught five bass weighing 13-6 Saturday to make the crucial top-10 cut in first place.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to win a tournament after four days,” Christie said. “And it’s not done very often out of one area. After the second day I had come in with two big bags and I still had to catch them two more days to win. I know if I had gone scrambling good things wouldn’t have happened.”
Christie’s final day catch gave him the win by a 10-pound margin over National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 60-11 and earned $35,000.
Edwin Evers of Talala earned the most recent win on the B.A.S.S. Elite Series Tour, giving Oklahoma pros the last two victories on the two major professional bass tournament trails.
Here are the winners of Wednesday’s Archery in the Schools state tournament held at State Fair Park.
Elementary Girls: 1, Ambria Norman, Chickasha; 2, Brittany Alexander, Chickasha; 3, Kassidy Perkins, Zaneis Elementary in Wilson; 4, Codi Tolliver, Zaneis; 5, Payton Glenn, Wayland Bonds Elementary in Oklahoma City.
Elementary Boys: 1, Jimmy Parham, Chickasha; 2, Jacob Latendresse, Coweta-Mission; 3, Justin Veach, Chickasha; 4, Jonathan Harris, Trinity Christian Academy in Tulsa; 5, Travis Wade, Zaneis;
Middle School Girls: 1, Hunter Tolliver, Zaneis; 2, Lacy Rutledge, Zaneis; 3, Lynsie Cantwell, Zaneis; 4, Cheyenne Keith, Greenville Middle School in Marietta; 5, Bailey Tolliver, Zaneis.
Middle School Boys: 1, Wyatt Morgan, Sequoyah-Claremore; 2, Kolt Perkins, Zaneis; 3, Brooks Bush, Chickasha; 4, Lane Kennedy, Coweta; 5, Jacob Wade, Zaneis.
High School Girls: 1, Shelby Douglas, Chickasha; 2, Danielle Dooty, Chickasha; 3, Evan Bush, Chickasha; 4, Jessica Nadal, Seqouyah-Claremore; 5, Kayla Replogle, Coweta.
High School Boys: 1, Colton Woolbright, Wister; 2, Caleb Riley, Ringling; 3, Brydon Edmonds, Chickasha; 4, Cody Bridges, Keys; 5, Cole Thompson, Keys.
Overall Top Female Shooter: Hunter Tolliver, Zaneis.
Overall Top Male Shooter: Colton Woolbright, Wister.
Elementary Schools: 1, Chickasha; 2, Wayland Bonds, Oklahoma City; 3, Zaneis, Wilson.
Middle Schools: 1, Zaneis, Wilson; 2, Chickasha; 3, Greenville, Marietta.
High Schools: 1, Chickasha. 2, Coweta. 2, Keys in Park Hill
The top five shooters in each division qualify to the National Archery in the Schools tournament May 13-14 in Louisville, Ky.
In the past eight years, archery has been introduced in 250 Oklahoma schools and approximately 7,000 students – elementary, middle and high schools – and taught in physical education classes through the program administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
What started with just eight pilot schools, the popularity of “Archery in the Schools” has grown to the point where five regional tournaments were held for the first time this year to serve as qualifiers for the state tournament.
There are now 7,000 students across Oklahoma competing in Olympic-style archery.
Every public or private school I have ever interviewed about the archery program has raved about it. And they all say about the same things about it.
It gets kids involved in a sport who are not the most athletically gifted. You don’t have to be the quickest or the biggest to compete and everyone gets to participate.
For many students, it’s the best thing they like about physical education classes.
It improves their confidence and self-esteem as it designed for success. Kids are more motivated in the classroom because they are motivated by archery.
Several teachers said they noticed improvement in grades and less absences because kids liked and wanted to compete in the archery tournaments.
The Wildlife Department provides training and certifies school instructors to teach archery and helps pay for equipment.
Groups like the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club-International and the National Wild Turkey Federation also have donated money for the cause.
Schools have to pay half of the costs . Some do so through the general fund but others have fund raisers, such as bake sales, car washes, etc., to help pay for equipment.
Other schools are lucky enough to get corporate sponsors to pay their share.
Archery in the Schools has been one the more successful programs the Wildlife Department has ever introduced.
As one p.e. teacher told me, anything that develops self-esteem in kids, gets them to come to school and do their classwork, is a good thing.
Targeting the backwaters of the St. Johns River system, and finding an 8-3 “mule” on the last day led Edwin Evers of Talala to the win Sunday in the Power-Pole Citrus Slam with 77 pounds, 1 ounce, shutting out three-day leader Alton Jones and hard-charging Terry Scroggins.
Trailing Jones by about 2 1/2 pounds before Sunday’s finale, Evers sealed his sixth Bassmaster win by overtaking Jones and besting him by more than 3 pounds. Jones ended in third place with 73-12, leaving second place to Scroggins, who had 74-3.
Evers had one word to describe how he felt about the Bassmaster Elite Series win, worth $100,000, and a 2012 Bassmaster Classic qualification. It was his second Elite title, the first taken on Lake Erie in 2007.
“Awesome, awesome, awesome,” he said. “I thought I’d lost this tournament numerous times every day. Getting the Classic berth is huge, an important step that takes a lot of pressure off.”
Sight-fishing the flats of a St. Johns lake he shared with many other Elite pros the first day, Evers started out in 20th place. He made a crucial decision to leave the community hole and find more private water.
He climbed into fourth on the second day, improving once again on the third day when he took the runner-up spot behind Jones. His catches were fairly consistent – 16-8, 22-5 and 19-4 the first three days – but it was his haul of 19 pounds on Sunday that helped him to the win.
Not to mention an 8-13, his big fish of the day and the fish that helped him climb into the winner’s seat.
“It was a fish that I’d found the second day, really shallow,” Evers said. “I went there the third day, and Scroggins was there. I turned around and left. I went there second thing this morning, and the northeast wind held the water up, and I ended up catching the male. It was actually the second time I’d caught him – I lost it and he bit again. She bit five or 10 minutes later.
“She was a mule,” he said.
Evers said he hit many spots over the four days, including one area where he had to saw off overhanging willow branches to be able to put his lures in front of spawning bass.
Sunday afternoon’s 15- to 17-mph winds hurt some of the final 12, but helped Evers. His water was stained, hard to reach and in areas that had not been pounded by the field.
“I had areas that were protected,” he said. “I just had to get them to bite and get them in the boat. When the tide was low, the fish got freaky. I lost some big ones today, at least a 10-pounder and another at the end of the day – but it doesn’t matter now.”
He credited a new formula Yum bait, the F2. He used several styles, including Wooly Bug, Money Craw and a Craw Papi.
Fishing is heating up across Oklahoma.
Chuck Justice, who guides on McGee Creek, landed this 11-pound, 4-ounce largemouth Wednesday on the Atoka County reservoir.
Justice said the bass fishing has really improved the last two days as water temperatures have risen.
The crappie and sand bass are also about to spawn. On Thursday, Lake Eufaula crappie guide Leland Shanks was catching crappie in 5-and 6-feet of water and he predicts the fish will be on the banks sometime next week.
Eufaula gets most of the attention when it comes to crappie in Oklahoma, and rightfully so, but Hugo Lake actually produces bigger fish.
Sand bass are also about ready to take off on their spawning runs. Reports from Sardis Lake have males already up in the creeks but no females yet.
Lake Texoma’s tributaries have little water so it make take some warm rains to get the runs started, but there is rain in the forecast next week.
Expect sand bass to start running anytime, especially after a couple of warm days or a rain.
In the meantime, target sand bass on lake points near the creeks where they make spawning runs. They should be congregating there now, getting ready to shoot up the streams to spawn.
Here is a glance at some outdoors-related legislation still active and bills that have died.
Bills still alive include:
HB 1249 - Requires a hunting dog owner to get permission from a landowner before retrieving a lost dog. Bill passed the state House of Representatives 80-11 and is now assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
HB 1314 – Repeals the requirement that hunters must first get permission from the state wildlife director before hunting a white or pie-bald deer. Bill passed the House 96-0 and is now assigned to the Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee.
HB 1338 – Lowers the age someone can get an apprentice hunting license from 10 to 8. Lowers the age of the hunter that must be accompany the apprentice from 21 to 18. Lowers the age that hunter education certification is no longer required from 35 to 30. Bill passed the House 97-0 and now assigned to Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee.
HB 1347 – Specifies that anyone not appearing for fish or game citations shall have their hunting and fishing privileges suspended until they do so. Bill passed the House 97-0 and now assigned to Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee.
Legislation that has gone dormant and is essentially dead include:
HB 1063 – Would have exempted all lifetime hunting and fishing license owners from having to buy any additional permits or licenses.
HB 1257 – Would have changed the fishing regulation to allow more than one blue catfish 30 inches or longer be kept per day by anglers.
SB 129 – Would have allowed gun suppressors to be used by hunters. Language allowing hunters to use suppressors was removed and language allowing the open carry of firearms was inserted.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has opened its paddlefish processing station at Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake.
State wildlife officials will clean an angler’s paddlefish, or spoonbills, for free in exchange for the eggs from the female fish, which the state makes into caviar and sells to a wholesaler.
It is the fourth year for the program. Spoonbill caviar is considered by many second only to the real thing, caviar made from beluga sturgeon.
The biggest market for the Oklahoma made caviar is in Europe and Japan. The Wildlife Department has received as high as $185 a pound to as low as $115 a pound in the last three years.
The peak of the paddlefish spawning runs – when they shoot up the rivers to drop their eggs – is usually in late March and early April. Paddlefish do not eat bait and are caught by snagging.