Oklahoma hunters will be able to use noise suppressors on their rifles this season when hunting on private land.
Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed into law Senate Bill 1743 that allows hunters to use noise suppressors, or silencers, when hunting on their own land or with permission of the landowner.
The law becomes effective Nov. 1.
State lawmakers earlier in the week passed an amended version of the original bill which carries harsher punishment for hunters using a suppressor while committing a game violation.
Anyone convicted of a wildlife offense while using a noise suppressor could face an additional fine of $500 to $1,000 over the normal amount for that game violation.
The Oklahoma State Game Wardens Association had opposed the legislation.
Fallin on Friday also signed legislation increasing the penalties for paddlefish poaching.
The crime remains a misdemeanor, but fines will now range from $5,000 to $25,000 for anyone caught in illegal possession of paddlefish eggs or other paddlefish products with a market value of more than $5,000.
Paddlefish eggs are used as a substitute to sturgeon caviar and often sold illegally.
Free fishing next weekend
Oklahoma’s annual free fishing days will be June 2 and 3.
Anglers will not need state fishing licenses on those days, although some city licenses might still be required.
Oklahoma City, however, is offering free fishing June 2 and 3 on its municipal waters.
A city fishing permit will not be needed those days to fish at Hefner, Overholser and Draper lakes or in the city parks.
Oklahoma City’s “Close to Home” designated fishing waters are Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15; Zoo Lake, 2101 NE 50; the Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian;
Edwards Park Pond, 1515 N Bryant; Kids Lake, 3200 W Wilshire Blvd.; the Oklahoma River, wetland basins between NE 10th and NW 10th street bridges;
South Lakes Regional Park (east pond only), 4302 SW 119; and the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, NW 50 and Stinchcomb Road.
Free youth fishing classes
The Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department is offering free fishing classes this summer for ages 5 to 15.
The first class will be June 9 at Edwards Park Lake, 1515 N Bryant. Other classes are scheduled at Edwards Park Lake on July 7 and Aug. 4.
Classes at Metro Tech Springlake, NE 36 at Springlake Drive, are scheduled June 16, July 7 and Aug. 4.
The Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian, will be the site for a free fishing class on June 23.
Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15, will be the site of classes on July 21 and Aug. 18.
Fishing poles, tackle and bait are provided in the classes. The classes will cover knot tying, casting, fishing regulations, fish identification, fishing ethics and angler etiquette.