Whatzup Outdoors (183)
From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Blue River: October 31. Elevation normal, water 60 and clear. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, flukes and jigs around brush structure and points. Channel catfish good on chicken liver, dough bait and stinkbait along channels and deeper pools behind breaks in the current. Stocked approximately 4,800 rainbow trout on October 31. Report submitted by Matt Gamble, biologist at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.
Broken Bow: October 29. Elevation below normal, water clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on bill baits, crankbaits and plastic baits around brush structure, points and standing timber. Blue, channel and flathead catfish fair on cut bait, live bait and shad in the main lake and around points. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Eufaula: October 29. Elevation normal, water murky. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on plastic baits, small lures and spinnerbaits around points, along shorelines, standing timber and weed beds. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure, in coves, docks and the main lake. Striped bass good on live bait, live shad, shad and topwater lures below the dam. Report submitted by Cannon Harrison, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.
Hugo: October 29. Elevation below normal, water 71 and stained. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, lipless baits and spinnerbaits around brush structure, points and rocks. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait and shad below the dam, along creek channels and river channel. Crappie slow on hair jigs, jigs and minnows around brush structure, in the main lake and standing timber. Report submitted by Jim Gillham, game warden stationed in Choctaw County.
Konawa: October 30. Elevation normal, water 70 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on Alabama rigs, crankbaits, jigs, plastic baits and spinnerbaits in the discharge, main lake, around points and river channel. Striped bass hybrids and white bass fair on Alabama rigs, crankbaits and live bait in coves, inlet, main lake and river channel. Channel catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait and shad in coves, the inlet and riprap. Report submitted by Garret Harley, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
Lower Mountain Fork: October 29. Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on minnows, small lures and worms along creek channels and the spillway. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Lower Mountain Fork: October 31. Stocked approximately 1,600 rainbow trout on October 25. Report submitted by April Drake, secretary at the southeast region office.
McGee Creek: October 29. Elevation 1 below normal, water 75 and clear. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, lipless baits and tube jigs around brush structure, points and standing timber. Flathead and channel catfish fair on goldfish and sunfish along creek channels and river channel. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs in coves, creek channels and standing timber. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Atoka County.
Pine Creek: October 29. Elevation below normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, plastic baits and tube jigs along creek channels. Crappie good on chicken liver, cut bait and stinkbait in the main lake and river channel. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Robber’s Cave: October 31. Stocked approximately 400 rainbow trout on October 25. Report submitted by April Drake, secretary at the southeast region office.
Robert S. Kerr: October 29. Elevation normal, water stained. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits along creek channels, rocks and standing timber. Crappie excellent on minnows at 15 ft. around brush structure and standing timber. Blue catfish fair on juglines baited with shad along flats and in the main lake. Report submitted by J.D. Stauffer, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
Sardis: October 28. Elevation below normal, water 68. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on buzz baits, grubs, plastic baits and spinnerbaits around brush structure, points, riprap, rocks, shorelines, standing timber and weed beds. Blue, channel and flathead catfish fair on cut bait, shad and sunfish along flats, in the main lake and shorelines. Crappie fair on hair jigs, minnows and tube jigs around brush structure, points and standing timber. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Pushmataha County.
Texoma: October 31. Elevation normal, water murky. Striped bass good on flukes, shad and topwater lures below the dam, along flats and points. Blue and channel catfish good on cut bait, punch bait and shad below the dam, in the main lake, around points, riprap and river mouth. Crappie good on minnows and jigs around brush structure, docks and standing timber. Report submitted by Cody Jones, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
Wister: October 29. Elevation above normal, water 70 and stained. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits around brush structure, the main lake and river channel. Blue catfish good on cut bait in the main lake. Crappie fair on minnows and tube jigs around brush structure and in the main lake. Report submitted by James Williams, game warden stationed in LeFlore County.
Want to win a hunting trip for a pronghorn or a ram? Or how about a scholarship to the American Wilderness Leadership School in Wyoming? These are some of the prizes available to Oklahoma students ages 11-17 and to Oklahoma educators in two different creative writing contests sponsored by Oklahoma Station Chapter-Safari Club International and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Entries are due by Nov. 13, so the time to start writing is now!
2017 STUDENT CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION
This contest is divided into two categories: ages 11-14 and ages 15-17. Each category will have a boy and a girl winner. Students must be enrolled in school or homeschooled, and must have completed the Oklahoma Hunter Education course by Nov. 13.
An essay or short story may be submitted. The writer may choose either of two themes: “Hunting: Sharing the Heritage” or “Archery: What I Like About Archery in the Schools and Bowhunting.” Each entry must be submitted with an entry form.
In the ages 11-14 category, one boy and one girl will get a hunting trip at the Chain Ranch and receive a scholarship to the Outdoor Texas Camp for hunting during summer 2018. Oklahoma Station Chapter-Safari Club International will reimburse the winners travel expenses up to a maximum of $500 per winner.
In the ages 15-17 category, one boy and one girl will go on a guided antelope hunt in the Texas Panhandle in the 2018 hunting season. Oklahoma Station-Safari Club International will reimburse travel expenses up to a maximum of $500 per winner. This trip is subject to change based on Texas hunting rules.
The four statewide winners and their legal guardians will be invited to Oklahoma City to attend an awards ceremony in March 2018. In addition, the top 25 essay entrants will receive a one-year youth membership to Safari Club International. The four state winners’ entries will be printed in the Oklahoma Station Chapter-Safari Club International newsletter “Safari Trails” in December. Printing makes the essays eligible for consideration in the Outdoor Writers Association of America Youth Writing Contest. Essays may also be printed in Outdoor Oklahoma, the official magazine of the Wildlife Department.
For full rules and entry form, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/youth-opp/creative-writing-competition.
2017 CONSERVATION SCHOLARSHIP FOR EDUCATORS
Two educators will be awarded a scholarship to an eight-day conservation education school at Safari Club International’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) at Granite Ranch near Jackson, Wyo. The AWLS program covers many aspects of conservation education; for more information go to www.safariclubfoundation.org/education/american-wilderness-school.
Lodging, meals and training materials will be provided by Oklahoma Station Chapter-Safari Club International. Transportation to Wyoming will be covered by the Oklahoma Wildlife Department.
Educators must fill out an entry form and write an essay of 500-1,000 words on “Why Wildlife Conservation is Important.” Other judged criteria include training received in conservation education or environmental education programs, current programs the educator is conducting in the school and community, and past programs. Teachers of state winners in the youth essay contest will receive priority consideration.
For full rules and entry form, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/conservation-education-scholarship
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with its 350 employees is responsible for managing Oklahoma's fish and wildlife resources and habitat. WHAT WE BELIEVE: The state's fish and wildlife belong to all Oklahomans and should be managed so their populations will be sustained forever. HOW WE ARE FUNDED: ODWC does not receive general state tax appropriations. License sales and federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program grant revenues are the main funding sources. Every license dollar spent by sportsmen and women in Oklahoma issued to fund ODWC's user pay/public benefit conservation efforts.
WILBURTON, OK – Get your running shoes laced up and get ready for Eastern Oklahoma State College’s second annual Mountaineer 5K.
Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 a.m., the family-friendly event is part of Eastern’s weeklong Homecoming festivities and is being hosted by the Eastern Alumni Association. Runners and walkers of all ages are encouraged to participate.
Pre-registration is open now through Oct. 30 at a cost of $30 and includes a commemorative T-shirt. On-site registration will be available at a cost of $35 with shirts available on a first come, first served basis. All proceeds from the race will be benefit the Eastern Alumni Scholarship fund.
This year’s run is registered with the Choctaw Nation’s Promoting Active Communities Everywhere (PACE) program. The initiative promotes the importance of regular physical activity through running or walking and is free and open to the public. Applicants need only to reside in the Choctaw Nation service area to be eligible. Members of the program are sponsored for a designated number of PACE-approved walks/runs throughout the year. PACE registrations are also due by Oct. 30.
Participants will meet on the west side of the former Corner Café located at the intersection of Main St. and Central Ave. The course was measured by Ken Hardwick and has been certified by USA Track and Field (USATF). It follows the shortest possible route over the roadway starting south from the intersection of Pacific Ave. and Central Ave., east along Ash Ave., north on SE 6th St., east on Rock Island Ave., curves southeast, west, then straight south along Pleasant Hill Rd. to the gate before the bridge, and back to the starting point.
Elite Race Company will provide accurate run-times by using the IPICO chip timing system. The system uses small tracking chips which are placed in a disposable bib ring. Medallions will be awarded to the top three finishers in multiple age categories and the first overall male and female participant will receive a plaque.
Visit eosc.edu/homecoming to download a registration form and for more details about Eastern’s 2017 Homecoming week. For more information on the Choctaw Nation’s PACE program, including an application form and race registration form, visit cnhsa.com
A service of the Oklahoma Wildlife Dept
Arbuckle: October 21. Elevation normal, water 73 and stained. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, Fat Albert grub with lead head, jigs and plastic baits around brush structure, the main lake, points and rocks. Crappie slow on minnows, jigs, small lures and spoons around brush structure, creek channels, docks and main lake. White bass fair on slabs and spoons at 27-45 ft. in mid-lake near drop-offs. Report submitted by Jack Melton.
Broken Bow: October 22. Elevation below normal, water clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits and plastic baits around brush structure, points and standing timber. Blue, channel and flathead catfish fair on cut bait and sunfish along channels, the main lake and points. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Eufaula: October 22. Elevation normal, water murky. Blue and channel catfish excellent on chicken liver, live shad and shad in coves and sandbars. Crappie good on minnows around docks. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on plastic baits, spinnerbaits and Carolina rigs in coves, shallows, along shorelines and weed beds. Report submitted by Cannon Harrison, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.
Hugo: October 22. Elevation rising, water murky. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures along creek channels, shorelines and standing timber. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait, dough bait, grasshoppers, shad and worms below the dam, along flats and river channel. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure, standing timber and in the main lake. Report submitted by Jim Gillham, game warden stationed in Choctaw County.
Konawa: October 23. Elevation normal, water 72 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on Alabama rigs, crankbaits, jigs and plastic baits in the main lake, around points and weed beds. Striped bass hybrids and white bass good on Alabama rigs, crankbaits, live shad and spoons in coves, inlet and main lake. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver, cut bait, shad and stinkbait in coves, creek channels, inlet and riprap. Report submitted by Garret Harley, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
Lower Mountain Fork: October 22. Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on PowerBait and worms along shallows. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
McGee Creek: October 22. Elevation normal, water 77 and clear. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits and plastic baits along creek channels, points and standing timber. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Atoka County.
Pine Creek: October 22. Elevation below normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, plastic baits and worms around brush structure and points. Crappie fair on minnows around brush structure. Channel catfish excellent on cut bait in the main lake. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Robert S. Kerr: October 22. Elevation normal, water stained. Crappie slow on minnows along the river channel and standing timber. Largemouth bass good on jigs and spinnerbaits along creek channels and weed beds. Blue catfish slow on punch bait and shad along flats and sandbars. Report submitted by J.D. Stauffer, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
Texoma: October 24. Elevation above normal, water murky. Striped bass good on flukes, hair jigs, shad and topwater lures below the dam, along flats, the main lake and points. Blue and channel catfish good on cut bait, dough bait, punch bait, shad and worms in the main lake, around points, riprap and river mouth. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure, docks, the main lake and standing timber. Report submitted by Cody Jones, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
Wister: October 22. Elevation dropping, water 75 and stained. Largemouth bass fair on bill baits, jigs, plastic baits and spinnerbaits around brush structure, the main lake and river channel. Blue and channel catfish good on cut bait in the main lake. Crappie slow on minnows and tube jigs around brush structure, the main lake and river channel. Report submitted by James Williams, game warden stationed in LeFlore County.
A service of the Oklahoma Wildlife Department
Call it the thrill of the chill. The weather for this weekend’s Deer Muzzleloader Season opener looks like it's going to cooperate with thousands of hunters who will venture into Oklahoma’s fields and forests aiming to harvest a deer — or perhaps three.
"There is some buzz among the hunters, and there’s good reason," said Dallas Barber, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "With a big cold front expected, the deer should be up and on their feet."
Forecasters say a cold front will roll through the state midday Friday, dropping afternoon temperatures into the 50s from the 70s. Saturday morning’s low temperature will be around 34 degrees, which likely will have the whitetails wandering.
"This is looking to be some of the best weather we’ve had, as far as muzzleloader season, in the past couple of years," Barber said. Cooler conditions prompt deer to move more throughout the day, giving hunters better chances to see and harvest an animal. The chill will also cut down on those pesky bugs and make being outdoors more appealing to many hunters.
Deer Muzzleloader Season will last for nine days, closing a half-hour after sunset Nov. 5.
Sometimes called "primitive firearms," the modern muzzleloaders of today are far from primitive. But there are still plenty of outdoorsmen who enjoy the satisfaction of using a traditional flintlock loaded with black powder and a lead ball.
According to the most recent Big Game Report, available in the September/October issue of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine, an estimated 75,766 hunters took part in the 2016 Deer Muzzleloader Season, reporting a total harvest of 13,998 deer. For all deer seasons combined in 2016, a total harvest of 99,023 deer was reported.
Muzzleloader hunters can take one antlered and two antlerless deer during the season, as long as one of the antlerless deer is taken from Zone 2, 7 or 8. Consult the 2017-18 Oklahoma Hunting & Fishing Regulations Guide to see a map of Antlerless Deer Zones.
Barber said deer hunters would do well to continue focusing attention around food sources this coming weekend. Some light calling or grunting and a sporadic antler rattle might help as deer are showing some pre-rut activity.
Some other hunting seasons that are open during all or a portion of Deer Muzzleloader Season are Bear Muzzleloader Season, Oct. 28-Nov. 5; Elk Muzzleloader Season, Oct. 28-Nov. 5; Fall Turkey Archery Season, Oct. 1-Jan. 15; Fall Turkey Gun Season, Nov. 4-17; Squirrel Season, May 15-Jan. 31; and Rabbit Season, Oct. 1-March 15.
All hunters are reminded that they must wear the minimum required amount of hunter orange clothing during any open big game firearms season. Those and all other regulations such as license requirements, hunting hours, bag limits, field tagging and online E-Check rules are detailed in the "Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide" found at www.wildlifedepartment.com, in the free "OK Fish and Wildlife" mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print at license dealers statewide.
Press release from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Thanks to a little kindness and understanding from a softball coach, Oklahoma now has a new record typical elk in its Cy Curtis Awards Program. And the record-holder is just 15 years old.
Olivia Parry of Camargo was just 14 and on her first elk hunt when she bagged the bull elk on private land in Dewey County on Oct. 16, 2016. After the mandatory drying period, the 5-by-5 rack was scored at 377 6/8, shattering the existing Cy Curtis record by 39 2/8.
Olivia and her father, Scott Parry, who is the Northwest Region Wildlife Supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, began the hunt the previous evening. Olivia said that is when she first saw the big elk that would become the focus of the hunt, but shooting hours closed soon after.
The next morning, father and daughter were in the field again, and it was a dusky morning, Olivia recalled. As the morning brightened, she began using binoculars to scan her surroundings.
“And we were just sitting there waiting around, and he popped out on our hillside.” Nothing to do but wait, she thought.
“I thought he was a really nice elk,” she said. But the animal was at least 300 yards away, too far to get a good shot. “I wanted to shoot, but I didn’t want to mess it up, scare him off.”
By this time, the morning had slipped into afternoon, without any chance to take a shot. So Olivia and her dad decided to take a break, allowing Olivia to attend softball practice in Laverne with her team. But the elk hunt was still on her mind.
“I asked the coach if I could leave a little early,” Olivia said. The coach agreed, and Olivia arrived back in the field about 5 p.m. And it wasn’t long before the big bull ambled into the open, and the Vici High School freshman lifted her .270-caliber rifle and squeezed the trigger.
“I started crying because I thought I’d missed him,” she recalled. But her shot hadn’t missed. As they looked over the trophy, Parry told his daughter it could well be a state (Cy Curtis) record. But Olivia said she could not comprehend what that meant at the time.
Later, when they delivered the bull elk to be processed, the processor remarked how big the rack was, and that it might be a new record. That’s when the magnitude struck her.
“It was then I was thinking, ‘This could really be it.’ I was so excited. I thought that was crazy that I could have the state record!”
The score qualifies Olivia’s elk as a Boone and Crockett Club All-Time Record and will forever be listed in Records of North American Big Game produced by that organization.
Even though she is a seasoned veteran of deer hunting – she bagged her first doe at age 11 – Olivia has now decided she enjoys elk hunting most of all. Still, she is fond of deer, turkey and dove hunting, too.
As for her Oklahoma Cy Curtis record elk, the mount is hanging in the barn. “He won’t fit in the house,” Olivia said. But that’s OK for now, she said, “as long as he stays clean.”
By Leilana McKindra - Communications Specialist, Agricultural Communications Services, Oklahoma State University
STILLWATER, Okla. – With Oklahoma wheat producers heading into another growing season, the bottom line will be top of mind, as always, and for many, that means focusing squarely on yield, yield, yield.
However, doing what it takes to boost the bushels also can lead to other important things, like increasing the protein content of a crop.
In fact, the protein content of the Oklahoma wheat crop is garnering increased attention these days after two straight years of registering less than ideal levels.
“Low protein wheat can create pricing and marketing challenges for everyone in the supply chain,” said Brian Arnall, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension precision nutrient management specialist. “Perhaps even more concerning is that low protein is an indicator that nitrogen was limiting during grain fill and therefore, a field’s maximum yield potential wasn’t achieved.”
The happy news for proactive producers is this is a fixable concern.
Variety selection, growing environment and fertility all play major roles in driving up the protein content in a wheat crop.
While some varieties, on average, offer higher protein, the differences among varieties can be overshadowed by the environmental conditions at different locations, said David Marburger, OSU Cooperative Extension small grains specialist.
Ideally, during grain fill, optimal conditions would include cooler temperatures and ample available moisture, which could positively affect yield but negatively impact protein levels in the crop.
“We’ve seen that over the past couple years. We fertilized with our normal nitrogen rate to achieve our yield goal, and this usually provides an adequate protein content as well. But we’ve had better yields partly due to the better growing conditions, and therefore lower protein content,” Marburger said. “We can get the opposite, as well, especially with drought or other stresses, where there are less kernels and/or the kernels become small and shriveled. Now you have that same amount of nitrogen, but over less grain to put it in. So, you might actually have a higher protein content.”
That leaves fertility, or more specifically nitrogen, as the X factor.
Protein is a function of nitrogen concentration, Arnall said, and if the nitrogen concentration in grain is low, so is protein.
“If the nitrogen well is running dry at the end of the season, protein will be low,” he said. “We typically see low values if nitrogen rates were below crop need. Or, perhaps the nitrogen applied was lost through leaching or other mechanism, which is more likely to happen when all of the nitrogen is applied pre-plant.”
Bottom line? Managing nitrogen and maximizing yield come down to ensuring nitrogen is available to the plant at important growth periods.
“It’s always best to apply nitrogen when the plant needs it, which is right after tillering for grain-only. In dual purpose, we have a high need in the fall and again at tillering,” Arnall said.
Producers do not need to guess about the nitrogen levels in their fields either.
N-Rich strips, used in conjunction with GreenSeeker TM hand-held sensor technology, and a sensor-based nitrogen rate calculator, are key tools producers can use to guide them on nitrogen application.
Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the overall quality of the Oklahoma wheat crop, Marburger said.
“If we all work on improving protein and quality, in general, we’re going to raise the overall quality of the Oklahoma wheat crop and we’re going to have end-users who want to buy this grain first before any other,” he said.
For more information on nutrient management, download free of charge OSU Current Report CR-2277, “Applying Nitrogen Rich Strips,” and OSU Fact Sheet PSS-2258, “Evolution of Reference Strips in Oklahoma” at factsheets.okstate.edu
Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154
Oklahoma’s archery hunters have had the chance to hunt deer since Oct. 1. But the first chance to harvest a deer with firearms belongs to the state’s youth hunters on Oct. 20-22.
The Youth Deer Gun Season is open to hunters age 17 and younger who are accompanied in the field by an adult at least 18 years old who is hunter education certified or exempt. The adult may archery hunt while accompanying the youth, but the adult may not hunt with a firearm.
“As wildlife managers, we try to give the most opportunity possible, and the youth season focuses on just that,” said Dallas Barber, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We get the chance to introduce new young hunters to something that we as biologists and managers are passionate about.”
The three-day Youth Deer Gun Season allows participants to take either a buck and a doe, or two does. A deer license is required for each deer hunted.
Barber said this earlier season gets youngsters in the woods during a time when the weather is usually warmer than during traditional Deer Gun Season, which often creates a better hunting experience for them.
“This is one of my favorite times of the year,” he said. “If we can turn one of our youth hunters into a lifelong outdoorsman or woman, then the youth season is more than worth it.”
Bucks should still be following a pattern if weather conditions remain stable. “However, if we get a nice cold front coming through, we could see more deer movement,” Barber said.
As a bonus, youth deer hunters may also harvest a turkey in counties that have a fall gun turkey season, provided the hunter has the appropriate turkey license.
For complete information on Youth Deer Gun Season regulations and license requirements, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide found online at wildlifedepartment.com, in the free OK Hunting and Fishing mobile app for Apple or Android users, or in print anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
By Sean Hubbard, Communications Specialist - OSU Agricultural Communications Services
STILLWATER, Okla. – The internet supplies endless amounts of cute kitty videos. A kitten batting around a ball of yarn, a cat chasing a feather duster and fat, grumpy cats lying on their backs have generated many smiles from people throughout the world.
Those same animals, however, are decimating native wildlife populations. Free-ranging domestic cats, from feral cats to outdoor house cats, are linked to 63 wildlife extinctions spanning the globe, as they feast on birds, lizards, amphibians and small mammals.
Researchers from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resources Ecology and Management and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center recently came together to study how cats are impacting mainland wildlife populations.
Study authors Scott Loss, NREM assistant professor, and Pete Marra, director of SMBC, are studying the impact of cats on wildlife to support science-based conservation and cat population management. Their research findings, published in the latest issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, help fill in some gaps previously undiscovered through single studies.
“Our review shows overwhelming evidence that, beyond causing island extinctions, where there were no native predators, and massive numbers of mainland wildlife deaths, cats can exert multiple types of harmful impacts on mainland wildlife species that are reflected at the population level,” Loss said.
Based on their literature review, the researchers summarize two main direct effects and two main indirect effects of cats on wildlife populations. The first direct effect, predation, by which cats directly kill and remove individuals from the population, has some obvious evidence.
At least 14 observational studies show that cat predation is a substantial source of mortality at the population level for mainland wildlife. In addition, an experimental study in Australia compared two separate populations of small, native rodents for a two-year period. One population was fenced off, not allowing any feline predators. The other was open and fair game.
“This experimental study provides the most convincing evidence yet that cats can cause population declines for mainland wildlife,” Loss said. “In areas where cats could not access, the population persisted the whole two years of the study. For the areas where cats could access, the populations declined to extinction in both cases.”
The second main direct effect of cats on mainland wildlife populations flies a little more under the radar.
Toxoplasmosis, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. It is the motivation behind recommending pregnant women should not clean out litter boxes or garden, because it can be transmitted from infected cat feces, and can be deadly to humans and also to wildlife.
Direct mortality from Toxoplasma infection has led to population declines in some cases, especially for marsupials, marine mammals, such as sea otters, and tropical primates.
“Indirect effects of Toxoplasma infection are even more surprising. For example, past research in California showed that infected sea otters were more likely to be attacked by sharks,” Loss said. “This suggests the pathogen alters otter behavior in a way that makes them more vulnerable to predation, leading to additional mortality that could affect their population.”
Finally, cats also can inflict population impacts indirectly through fear. Just the presence of a predator alters prey species’ behavior, movements or reproduction in ways that affect wildlife populations. Notably, one population modeling study showed that fear-induced reduction of bird reproductive output is capable of significantly reducing bird populations, even with low levels of direct predation.
“Based on our comprehensive review of research from around the world, there is now overwhelming evidence that cats impact populations of mainland wildlife in several ways,” Marra said. “If we hope to protect native species globally, it is essential that we start implementing more effective management of cats, including keeping owned cats on a leash or indoors and removing unowned cats from outdoor environments.”
Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.
The Carl Albert State College Annual Vike@Nite 5k is scheduled for Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6 p.m. In addition, there will be a kids race at 5:30 p.m. on the same evening.
According to Hali Repass, the run is designed to provide a fun, affordable event for the campus and the community, with all proceeds benefiting the CASC Alumni Association for the purpose of future scholarships.
Registration for the 5k will be on site at the CASC Poteau campus from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is $20 per participant. Repass explained that finisher’s medals will be awarded, but no age division awards or record keeping will take place. There will be gun timing only and participants are responsible for noting their own time as they cross the finish line.
Registration for the kids race is currently open on runsignup.com, and on site registration will also be open for the kids event from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Community State Bank will be grilling hot dogs post event, and Oldcastle will be providing the aid station at the halfway point in the event.