Agriculture Outdoors Fall 2022
Agricultural Insights Area Lakes & River Maps Hunting & Fishing Regulations
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Game warden offers tips for hunters, fishers By BRIAN D. KING
Hunters around the county are gearing up for deer season, which runs from Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan 15, 2023, and Cody Youngblood, a game warden at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, has offered suggestions to those seeking to bag a big one this year. Elk season is also coming up, but Youngblood said deer season in Cherokee County is much more popular because elk season is limited to private properties. Those interested in hunting elk must get permission from the
property owner. Tahlequah falls within the ODWC’s Northeast Region, which will distribute up to 20 tags for elk this season. Youngblood said most of the time, tags go unused. “Usually, we don’t meet our quota. There are just a few spots that have elk, and landowners have to give them permission for those who hunt them. Being private properties, it is kind of limited,” Youngblood said. “In Braggs, they kill a few. In Cookson, they’ll kill a few. Around Nature Conservancy – J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve – they’ll kill a few.” The region has no quota for deer.
Deer season starts Oct. 1 and goes to Jan. 15. Cody Youngblood, a game warden at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, recommends that locals review regulations. 4 • Fall 2022, Agriculture & Outdoors
Hunters need to obtain a license and a tag, which can be purchased at the ODWC website, Walmart, or Atwoods. Popular public hunting sites in the Northeast region include Barren Fork WMA, Camp Gruber, Cherokee GMA, Cherokee PHA, Cookson WMA, Deep Fork WMA, Fort Gibson PHA, and Lower Illinois River PFHA. Fishing season is open year-round. Youngblood said new regulations for largemouth and smallmouth bass will take effect in September. With a statewide limit of six fish per day, only one may exceed 16 inches in length. Exceptions will be made for fishing competitions. Other popular fish include crappie, rainbow and brown trout, saugeye and walleye, white and striped bass, and blue and channel catfish. Other fish are nongame. Anglers must fish with a license and must obtain permission to fish on private land. To find out about best fishing
spots, Youngblood recommends checking out different Facebook groups, such as Tenkiller Fishing Report. “People can get to see what fish are biting on,” he said. The ODWC will host a hunter education class before deer season starts. “We go over regulations and hunter safety. You can attend it online. We offer it in person before deer season starts in September,” said Youngblood. The class will take place in Tahlequah at the Cornerstone Fellowship Church on Sept. 17 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. “It’s a good idea for people to come out and learn about the new regulations before going out,” said Youngblood. “It never hurts to refresh on the regulations.” For more information, visit the ODWC website. For licenses, hunters should visit the ODWC website at https://www.wildlifedepartment. com.
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TFM brings local products from farm to table By MADELINE ANELE
In an ever-increasing automated and mass production-reliant society, many Americans are refocusing on efforts to support and sustain local production as a means of reviving community and rerouting wealth and health to their areas. Local farmers’ markets are seeing a reawakening in the demand for local goods to reach local hands. The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market is an example of the community coming together to support farmers, artists, and entrepreneurs as they seek to contribute their unique goods, which bring a multitude of benefits to the area and the locals themselves. The president of TFM, Marla Saeger, helps organize events annually. “We are open ‘til the end of October,” said Saeger. “We will be doing mini-markets at the elementary schools from Aug. 23 to Sept. 6.” The mini-markets allow elementary students from the Tahlequah Public School District to experience a piece of local agriculture. Many different vendors from the area get a chance to show the community their goods through the market alone. M3 Bee Farm, operated by Micahael Landry, is contributing greatly to the local agricultural industry by managing over 100 hives of needed bees. “The Farmers’ Market is a great place to find locally grown fruits and vegetables along with handcrafted products,” said Landry. “This supports local vendors and their passions. It also builds community relations.” Landry’s products themselves are wider-ranging than simply honey. “The honey and wax products come from our hives. I have been a beekeeper 6 • Fall 2022, Agriculture & Outdoors
for 10 years and have a passion to support the dwindling bee population,” said Landry. “Currently I instruct two different beekeepers’ classes. One at Northeastern Beekeepers Association and two at ICTC in Tahlequah and Muskogee. I always enjoy talking about bees.” Other passions are apparent at the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market, as well as the quality and level of care that local entrepreneurs and craftspeople put into their products. Nancy James owns and operates Clear Creek Wellness, and 2022 has been the first year she began participating in the market. “It is important to support the local farmers and you know where your food
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comes from and you get better quality,” said James. “I sell aromatherapy lye soaps, essential oil mixtures, handmade bead bracelets, and house plants. My soaps are all very good for the skin and leave no chemical residue.” Another vendor, Tabatha Hibbs, is business owner of Wise Cat Apothecary. Hibbs had been a customer of the market for years, and even served on the board of directors for a time. Participating as a vendor was a natural next step. “When I decided to make my herbal products for the larger community, the market seemed like a logical place to build a client base,” said Hibbs. “My products are made in small batches here in Tahlequah; the ingredients are organic and locally sourced.”
Honey sticks are a popular product sold by M3 Bee Farms.
Michael Landry explains the M3 Bee Farm products to customers. Agriculture & Outdoors, Fall 2022 • 7
GRDA, other organizations help keep water bodies key to area enterprise, tourism By MADELINE ANELE
Tahlequah is known for many different features, and among them are the numerous bodies of water dotting Green Country. Often locals are unaware of the many operations by organizations that contribute to the maintenance, beautification, and regulation of such critical natural features as local lakes and rivers. The Grand River Dam Authority, is responsible for many operations in the Ta h l e q u a h area, including those on the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller. The GRDA is not a local organization, but rather a long-standing statewide initiative. Laura Townsend is a manager of marketing for the GRDA. “We have a 24-county service area,” said Townsend. The GRDA has been in operation since its inception through the Oklahoma Legislature in April 1935 as a means of controlling hydroelectric operations, as well as flood control for much of Oklahoma’s Green Country. The rivers and lakes that make Tahlequah such a popular tourist destination are responsible generating revenue to the 8 • Fall 2022, Agriculture & Outdoors
local economy. Because of this, GRDA is also associated with monitoring entities such as the float companies and other recreationally-based businesses along the Illinois River. The GRDA works with local governmental bodies as well as Tahlequah to benefit communities and make plans for disaster aversions related to bodies of water. George Kellner, a local farmer and former agriculture educator of 13 years, believes this area has unique benefits because of the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller. “It’s truly unusual to live in a place where we have the benefits of both a lake and a river nearby. Water has always played a huge part in the success of agriculture, from the earliest irrigation systems of thousands of years ago, to the way we manipulate water today,” said Kellner. Kellner isn’t the only agriculture professional who recognizes the importance of water. Carl Wallace is agriculture educator at Tahlequah High School. “The lake and river both provide opportunities for nutrients for plants to grow. Local nurseries pump water to plants and especially in the Fort Gibson bottoms, there are opportunities to use the water
A view of Lake Tenkiller from the dam managed by GRDA. for irrigation,” said Wallace. “The natural result is an avenue to mitigate flooding.” The local water sources provide not only fun and the revenue tourism brings to the area, but also offer many needed resources for agricultural benefit.“I start off a few months before the season scouting for good possible morning and evening feed areas along with secludedplaces that have enough water for ducks and geese to land,” he said. “I get out all my decoys and guns and start cleaning, making sure my gear is ready to work when I need it the most. I also prepare my layout blinds, my boat and boat engine.” He adds, “Don’t forget to stock up on some steel shot ammunition before
the season.” A hunting friend since college days, Danny Thies of Sapulpa, noted that teal “can be easy to decoy with the right setup and location.” “They do not usually require large spreads to be successful,” he explains. “Bagging a bluewing teal can be a trophy all its own. This is what the early season is designed for. The bonus of a honker is also an added pursuit so always include one or two goose decoys. This will make your spread more attractive to waterfowl.” Although I’m not much of a waterfowler anymore, fall is my favorite time of year. Agriculture & Outdoors, Fall 2022 • 9
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Hunting seasons detailed By BRIAN D. KING
Hunting season is quickly approaching, and the Northeast Region of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will welcome all enthusiasts. Deer hunting season runs from Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan. 15, 2023. Archers must obtain a hunting license and a deer archery license for each deer hunted. Youth gun is open for youth 16-17. Youth younger than 16 are exempt from a license. Deer muzzleloader hunters must obtain a hunting license and a deer muzzleloader license for antlered or antlerless deer for each deer hunted. Gun hunters need a hunting license and a deer gun license for antlered or antlerless deer for each animal. Holiday antlerless licenses will also be issued for those with a license. Elk season runs the same dates as deer season, and hunters will need a hunting license and an elk license for each elk hunted, in addition to written landowner permission. Antelope archery season runs from Oct. 1-14, and hunters will need a hunting and an antelope license, as well as written landowner permission. Gun hunting is Sept. 1-4 for either gender, 5-14 for doe only, and Nov. 26, 2022, to Jan. 15, 2023, for doe only. Bear archers will need a hunting license and bear license, which must be purchased prior to the start of archery season. Muzzleloaders need a hunting license and bear license, which must be purchased prior to muzzleloader season. An unfilled bear archery license will also be valid for muzzleloaders. Archery season is Oct. 1-16 and muzzleloader season is Oct. 22-30. Squirrel, rabbit, or prairie dog hunters require a hunting license. 14 • Fall 2022, Agriculture & Outdoors
Hogs are considered pests and hunting licenses are not required to hunt them, except on public lands; however, those who pursue feral swine during big game
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gun or muzzleloader seasons must have appropriate licensing. Quail and pheasant hunters require a hunting license only. Archers pursuing turkeys will require a hunting license and a fall turkey license, as well as fall gun hunters. In the spring, hunting licenses and spring turkey licenses will be required for each bird hunted, except for youth. Fall archery season is Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan. 15, 2023. Gun season is Oct. 29 to Nov. 18. Spring season is April 16 to May 16, 2023. Dove, rail, gallinule, woodcock, and common snipe hunters need a hunting license and a Harvest Information Program permit. Dove season is Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 and Dec. 1-29. Woodcock season is Oct. 30 to Dec. 13. Rail season is Sept. 1 to Nov. 9. Snipe season is Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan 15, 2023. Gallinule season is Sept. 1 to Nov. 9. Teal, resident Canada goose, and waterfowl hunters will need a hunting license and HIP permit, as well as a state waterfowl stamp and federal migratory bird stamp. Duck, mergansers, and coot season is Nov. 12-27 and Dec. 3, 2022, to Jan 29, 2023. Youth, veteran, and active military waterfowl days are Nov. 5 and Feb. 4, 2023. Teal season is Sept. 10-25, Canada goose season is Sept. 10-19, white-fronted goose season is Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 3, 2022, to Feb. 5, 2023, and sandhill crane season is Oct. 22, 2022, to Jan. 22, 2023, west of I-35 only.
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Winding through the corner of Northeast Oklahoma, the Illinois River and its tributaries are among our state’s most valuable natural resources. Their scenic beauty, positive economic impact and historical significance are widely recognized across the region and embraced by all those who live, work and play along the river’s edge. The Grand River Dam Authority understands this and that is why our Scenic River Operations Team is at work, every day, to protect, enhance and preserve these waters. Not only is that our mission, but also our passion. After all, we live, work and play here too. For more information about the Illinois River and other waters of GRDA, visit us at www.grda.com.
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