Avoid Interfering With Young Wildlife

Avoid Interfering With Young Wildlife

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.

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.

Apply Now for the 20th Annual Wildlife Youth Camp

Apply Now for the 20th Annual Wildlife Youth Camp

A week full of fun outdoor activities, conservation education and team building is in store for up to 35 lucky teens selected to attend the 20th annual Wildlife Youth Camp. Applications are now being accepted for this summer’s once-in-a-lifetime event.

“Campers will get a better understanding of wildlife and fisheries management and conservation law enforcement, while at the same time learning some fun outdoor activities,” said Game Warden Capt. Wade Farrar, youth camp coordinator. “If you are interested in hunting, fishing or a career with the Wildlife Department, then this camp is for you.”

The camp will be June 24-29 at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station at Lake Texoma. Game wardens, wildlife and fisheries professionals, and dedicated hunters and anglers will be conducting the camp and supervising activities.

Activities will include archery, wildlife identification, rifle/shotgun shooting, fishing, ropes course, self-defense, wildlife law enforcement scenarios, wildlife and fisheries management, education, and deer/turkey/waterfowl law enforcement techniques.

Thanks to the support of generous sponsors including the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, it’s all free for the campers.

Applicants must be Oklahoma residents who will be 14 to 16 years old as of June 24, 2018. Prospective campers must fill out an application and write a 75-word essay describing why they want to attend the camp, why they should be selected, and what they expect to learn. Also, they must furnish a letter of recommendation from someone other than a family member, and a recent photograph showing the applicant participating in an outdoor-related event or activity.

The application is online at https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/youthcamp.htm. The page also includes additional information about the camp and photos from previous years. Applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. April 13, 2018.

Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp Design Competition Underway

Artists wishing to participate in this year’s Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design competition have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2017, to submit their artwork. The Northern Shoveler is this year’s selected subject for the prestigious contest that has been conducted annually since 1980 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Northern Shoveler

The winning artwork will serve as the design for the 2018-19 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp, which can be purchased by waterfowl hunters in the state and stamp collectors nationwide. The winning artist will receive a $1,200 purchase award courtesy of NatureWorks, a Tulsa-based conservation organization.

The state waterfowl hunting license is required to be carried by anyone hunting waterfowl in Oklahoma, unless exempt. The license costs $10 and will go on sale June 1, 2017, online at wildlifedepartment.com, in person at the Department’s temporary headquarters, or from hundreds of hunting license vendors across the state.

Any waterfowl hunting license buyer may request a physical stamp in person at the Wildlife Department’s temporary headquarters, 2145 N.E. 36th St. in Oklahoma City. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations, so revenue from waterfowl license/stamp sales is an important source of funding for in-the-field habitat work to benefit waterfowl and other wetlands wildlife. Since Oklahoma’s waterfowl stamp program began, about 12,000 acres of habitat has been purchased and many thousands of acres of habitat has been enhanced, restored and maintained for the benefit of waterfowl.


Green Winged Teal
This artwork of a green-winged teal by Mark S. Anderson of Sioux Falls, S.D., will appear on the 2017-18 Oklahoma Waterfowl stamp.

The 2017-18 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp will feature a green-winged teal in artwork created by Mark S. Anderson of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Contest entries must be original two-dimensional artworks rendered on a flat surface (not canvas) in acrylic, oil, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, tempera or any other similar media. The artwork must be oriented horizontally and sized 6.5 inches high by 9 inches wide. Each artwork must be matted with white matboard with an outside measurement of 9 inches high by 12 inches wide. Artwork cannot be framed or under glass but can be protected by a removable covering such as acetate.

Voting by the public will take place online and count as part of the scoring. Department judges will then consider each artwork in terms of anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for printing. Any background habitat depicted must be typical of an Oklahoma locale.

Entries are limited to one artwork per artist, and a $20 nonrefundable entry fee is required. Mailed entries should be sent to Duck Stamp Competition Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Ground deliveries should be made to 2100 N.E. 37th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111.

While the Wildlife Department no longer produces prints of the winning artwork, a few limited-edition prints from previous years are still available for sale. To order, go to wildlifedepartment.com. Complete contest rules are online at wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/species/waterfowl/duck-stamp-program/rules. For more contest information, call (405) 521-4632. have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1, 2017, to submit their artwork.