Turkey season opens Monday in southeast Oklahoma
Turkey hunters in eight southeastern Oklahoma counties will finally get their chance in the woods Monday when spring turkey season opens in Atoka, Coal, Pittsburg, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pushmataha and Choctaw counties.
The start of spring turkey season — which opened April 6 in the rest of the state — was delayed until April 23 this year in southeastern Oklahoma in an attempt to rebuild the dwindling turkey populations.
State wildlife officials say the population of the Eastern subspecies of turkeys, which inhabit the forests of southeastern Oklahoma, has almost been cut in half in recent years.
The decline is primarily due to inclement weather at the worst time of the year: drought and flooding during spring nesting seasons.
By closing the first half of turkey season in southeastern Oklahoma, the hope is that nesting will be undisturbed and the turkey population will rebound.
Spring turkey season ends statewide on May 6.
Sign up for summer camp
Students can now sign up for the 56th Annual Oklahoma Youth Forestry and Wildlife Camp.
Online applications for campers ages 13 to 15 are eligible. Students will learn about forestry, wildlife and natural resources in the weeklong camp June 4-9 in Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow.
The camp is open to boys and girls from across the state.
“Only 50 spots are available, so we urge interested campers to sign up now,” said Camp Director Caleb Fields. “While learning about forestry and wildlife, campers will enjoy fly fishing, archery, skeet shooting and fun field trips.”
The camp is coordinated by Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.
A camper fee of $175 covers all costs including lodging, meals, transportation at camp, field trips, and workshops.
Partial scholarships are available on a limited basis.
Applications will be accepted until May 18 and are available at www.forestry.ok.gov or by calling (405) 522-6158.
Woodward among best outdoor towns
The May issue of Outdoor Life contains the magazine's choices for the 35 best towns in America for sportsmen.
This year, the magazine dumped its socio-economic data which it had used in previous rankings and “focused on what matters most: hunting and fishing.”
One Oklahoma town made the list. Woodward was ranked No. 32.
“Kansas' big-buck cup runneth over the border into Woodward, in northwestern Oklahoma, where a number of 150- to 200-class bucks are tagged every fall,” the magazine states.
Salt Plains Crystal and Birding Festival next weekend
The annual Crystal and Birding Festival at the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet will be Friday through April 29.
The festival will include a variety of outdoor and wildlife-related activities including the opportunity to dig selenite crystals on the salt flats and bird watching.
Other activities include rod and reel casting contests for kids, archery, horseback riding, Dutch oven cooking demonstrations and stargazing. The three-day festival includes events at the Salt Plains State Park and the Byron Fish Hatchery.
For more information, call the state park office at (580) 626-4731 or the refuge at (580) 626-4794.
Campground hosts needed
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur is looking for volunteers to be campground hosts during the summer.
Positions are available at the Cold Spring and Buckhorn campgrounds. An RV site with full hook ups will be provided.
For more information, call Douglas Lowthian at (580) 622-7232 or email Douglas_ Lowthian@nps.gov.