Noodlers will be able to go after channel catfish and blue catfish next year along with flatheads.
Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that makes it legal for noodlers, or hand fishermen, to keep blue cats and channel cats in addition to flathead catfish. The law takes effect Nov. 1.
Whether noodlers actively will search for blue cats, however, is another story.
Blue cats are known for having a sharper bite than flatheads, and many noodlers who have snatched them in past have expressed regret.
“Compared to a dog, a blue cat is a pit bull and a flathead is a poodle,” said Skipper Bivens, who is from Temple and is the star of the Hillybilly Handfishing television show.
Most noodlers are able to snatch catfish during spawning season when the males are guarding the nests. But there is a difference in the bite of a blue cat and a flathead.
“If they catch a blue cat, they will pay for it,” said Robert Fleenor, head of the law enforcement division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
WHAT'S THE ODDS TO WIN A HUNT?
Sportsmen have through May 15 to apply for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's controlled hunts.
Hunters must apply online at http://wildlifedepartment.com. Elk, deer, antelope and turkey hunts are offered.
Based on 2011 data, the overall odds of getting drawn for the coveted hunts are as follows:
Antelope hunt in the Panhandle — 1 in 27
Elk hunt in Wichita Mountains, Cookson or Pushmataha Wildlife Management Areas — 1 in 342
Spring turkey hunt statewide — 1 in 71
Deer hunt statewide — 1 in 15
Deer hunt for persons with disabilities — 1 in 2
Youth deer hunts — 1 in 4
TURKEY SEASON TO OPEN IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma's spring turkey season is open already in most of the state, but Monday is the season opener in eight southeastern Oklahoma counties.
Turkey season opened April 6 in the rest of the state. Turkey ends statewide on May 6.
The hunting season is shorter in southeastern Oklahoma where the Eastern species of wild turkeys have experienced a decline in population in recent years.
GOLFING TOURNAMENT TO BENEFIT BOBWHITES
The Central Oklahoma 89er Chapter of Quail Forever is holding its third annual Bobwhite Scramble golf tournament May 4 at the Coffee Creek Golf Course in Edmond.
Entry fees are $100 per player or $400 per team, which includes green fees, cart rental and tickets to the awards dinner following the tournament.
Participants can sign up at http://bobwhitescramble.com. Proceeds benefit the Quail Forever chapter.
For more information, call Treka Wenner at 255-8021.