Oklahoma Wildlife Dept news Archives - Texoma Connect

Oklahoma Wildlife Youth Camp

Oklahoma Wildlife Youth Camp

Kids who are interested in wildlife & love the outdoors should apply for the annual Oklahoma Wildlife Youth Camp. The five day camp is jam-packed with activities ranging from ropes course challenge to shotgun shooting.

Are you interested in a career as a game warden or perhaps a fisheries or wildlife biologist? The Oklahoma Wildlife Department Youth Camp is an excellent opportunity for youth to explore possible future careers in wildlife management. In order to give participants a better understanding of wildlife and fisheries management and law enforcement, the entire camp is conducted by game wardens, wildlife and fisheries professionals and dedicated hunters and anglers.

When is it?

June 21-26, 2020 at OU Biological Station, Lake Texoma, OK

Who should attend?

Next year’s camp will be competitively open to all Oklahoma youth 14 to 16 years old. All applying youth must have been enrolled in school the previous year and have an interest in wildlife law enforcement or management.

What will you learn?

Fishing, self defense, wildlife law enforcement, archery, wildlife identification, rifle/shotgun shooting, ropes course, wildlife management, waterfowl/deer/turkey hunting and enforcement.

How to Apply?

■ Be 14-16 years of age (applicants must turn 14 prior to June 21, 2020).
■ Write an essay (about 75 words) describing why they wish to attend the camp, why they should be selected and what they expect to learn.
■ Provide one letter of recommendation (by someone other than a family member).
■ Provide a photograph of a recent outdoor-related event of activity.
■ Be ready to have a fun week!

Application

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Lake Texoma Offers Great Spring Fishing

Texoma offers great spring fishing

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Spring fishing is heating up and many anglers are checking their tackle and planning their next Oklahoma fishing adventure. One popular destination, south central Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma, offers so many fishing and recreation opportunities it has been nicknamed the “playground of the southwest” and “striped bass capital of the world.”

“Lake Texoma has a phenomenal fishery; this is a great lake for striped and smallmouth bass, and it’s produced some record catfish,” said Billy Bob Walker, Oklahoma Game Warden for Marshall County. “Beyond fishing, this is just a really pretty area that offers a lot of boating and outdoor recreation opportunities.”

The lake spans the Oklahoma-Texas border with at least two-thirds of the reservoir located in Oklahoma. Management of the fishery is shared between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and TexasParks and Wildlife Department.

“A resident fishing license is all you need if you plan to just fish the Oklahoma side of the lake. The $12 Lake Texoma license can be added if you want to fish both sides of the lake, above the dam,” Walker said. The Lake Texoma license allows anglers to fish the entire lake without having to purchase a resident or nonresident license. A valid resident or non resident license is needed to fish below the dam.

“One really cool new thing is that you can buy and carry these licenses on your phone with our new license app.”  
 
Licenses can be purchased through a license dealer, or by creating an account at wildlifedepartment.com. All sportsmen – especially lifetime license holders and returning customers – are urged to sign in to update their information and complete their account setup. The accompanying free mobile app from the Wildlife Department is available for both Apple or Android devices.

“The Wildlife Department works hard to make sure there are high quality fisheries across our state. Texoma is a just one example of that successful work here in southern Oklahoma.”

Lake Texoma Regulation Reminders 
Consult the Oklahoma Fishing Guide for other statewide and Texoma-specific regulations.
  • Measure fish as several length restrictions are in place for Lake Texoma. Among other length limits, all crappie have a 10-inch minimum length limit, no more than two striped bass may be 20-inches or longer, and no more than one blue catfish may be 30-inches or longer.
  • The statewide daily limit of five striped bass applies to the Red River below the dam. Within the first 1,000 feet of water below the dam anglers must attach their name and license number to their stringer, and may use only two rods.
  • Angling for alligator gar is suspended on Lake Texoma from May 1 – 31, between the Highway 377 “Willis” bridge upstream to the I-35 bridge. Otherwise the statewide daily limit is one alligator gar. Harvest must be reported to the Wildlife Department at 405-325-7288. This May 1 – 31 closure also includes the Haggerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
  • To help keep the invasive bighead and silver carp out of Lake Texoma and other Oklahoma lakes, shad collected as bait from the lower Red River below Lake Texoma may not be used in other waterbodies. Stop the spread of other aquatic nuisance species by properly cleaning, draining and drying your boat and other watercraft.

 

Striped Bass Capital of the World Highlights

  • The 88,000-acre lake (12th largest in the nation) was created I 1944 by impounding the Red River.  This popular recreation area hosts more than 6 million visitors annually.
  • Striped bass were first stocked in Lake Texoma by the Wildlife Department in 1965. This popular fishery has developed into one of the most recreationally and economically important fisheries in the state.
  • Lake Texoma is one of only a handful of reservoirs in the United States that has a naturally reproducing striped bass population.  Other lakes must routinely restock their fishery.
  • The $12 Lake Texoma fishing license was created in 1979 to allow anglers to fish the entire lake without purchasing both the Texas and Oklahoma fishing licenses.

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Avoid Interfering With Young Wildlife

Fawn

by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

The best thing you can do for young wildlife is to keep young wildlife wild.

Springtime is when people in the Lake Texoma area begin to see a variety of newborn and young animals. Newborn rabbits, squirrels, deer and birds easily appeal to most people’s sense of care and compassion. People often think these baby animals are “so cute” and imagine that they must be lost or abandoned.

Usually that is not the case.

“Chances are an adult animal is nearby and is simply waiting on you to move away so they can take care of their young,” said Mark Howery, natural resource biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

In most cases, people should not interfere with young wildlife.

In Oklahoma, most fawns are born in May and June. And that’s when people begin seeing the young animals.

Fawn
Fawns are periodically left alone, which is normal behavior for the doe. People who come across young wildlife are urged to leave the animals alone. (Matt Johnston/RPS 2016)

Game Warden Brayden Hicks, based in Caddo County, said he has taken several calls from the public asking him to rescue a fawn found near a home. “I tell them don’t touch the fawn, and don’t try to feed it. Normally the momma is around, and she’s left her fawn on purpose so she can go feed.”

The doe leaves the fawn because it must maintain good nutrition to produce milk. Also, the doe will often leave a fawn in a safe place, such as near a house or where people can easily see them, because those are places where predators might be less likely to visit.

Also, the doe will stay away from its fawn so the doe’s scent will not attract predators. But the doe will normally return several times during the day to nurse its fawn.

Howery said springtime storms can easily blow young birds and squirrels out of their nests. Even though they may appear to be alone and distressed or in need of help, a mature animal will often find and care for them.

It can actually be more stressful on young wildlife when people try to help. People who take in wildlife and attempt to raise and release those animals are actually doing them no favors. The animals will lose their instinctual fear of people and begin to bond with and depend on people to survive. If returned to nature later, these animals will have no idea how to feed or what dangers to avoid. And the young animal could even die from the stress of being handled.

“It’s admirable when well-meaning Lake Texoma sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts want to help, but sometimes the best help we can offer young wildlife is to leave them alone and let nature run its course,” Howery said.

In rare cases, an animal might actually need help, such as when it is injured or seriously ill. That is when the public might choose to call a wildlife rehabilitator. A list of rehabilitators by county is at www.wildlifedepartment.com/law/rehabilitator-list.

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