Ok­la­homa’s bat girl named wildlife bi­ol­o­gist of the year

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - ED GODFREY’S OUTDOORS -

Me­lynda Hick­man, a wildlife bi­ol­o­gist with the Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion, has been named the 2018 Wildlife Bi­ol­o­gist of the Year by the South­east­ern As­so­ci­a­tion of Fish and Wildlife Agen­cies.

Hick­man, who has worked for the Wildlife Depart­ment for 28 years, leads sev­eral con­ser­va­tion ef­forts and pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams for the agency, in­clud­ing or­ga­niz­ing the pop­u­lar Sel­man

Bat Watches near Free­dom each sum­mer.

“In a pro­fes­sion that’s of­ten fo­cused on the hookand-bul­let crowd, Me­lynda has a unique abil­ity to en­er­gize folks about bats, blue­birds, but­ter­flies and the im­por­tance of con­serv­ing ecosys­tems as a whole,” said J.D. Strong, di­rec­tor of the Wildlife Depart­ment.

Hick­man was a driv­ing force in de­vel­op­ing a state-of-the-art mul­ti­pur­pose ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity at Hack­berry Flat Wildlife Man­age­ment Area in south­west­ern Ok­la­homa. She or­ga­nizes sea­sonal events at Hack­berry Flat, in­clud­ing bird watches and a monarch but­ter­fly watch and tag­ging pro­gram.

Each year, SEAFWA presents Bi­ol­o­gist of the Year Awards to two ca­reer bi­ol­o­gists of state wildlife agen­cies, one each in wildlife and fish­eries, who in the opin­ion of the SEAFWA Awards Com­mit­tee have made out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to fish and wildlife con­ser­va­tion.

The Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion is among the fish and wildlife agen­cies of 15 south­east­ern states and two U.S. ter­ri­to­ries, Puerto Rico and the Vir­gin Is­lands, that make up SEAFWA’s mem­ber­ship.

Win­ter trout ar­eas now open across Ok­la­homa

An­glers can now catch trout at the six win­ter ar­eas man­aged by the Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion.

The Wildlife Depart­ment stocks rain­bow trout in the win­ter months at Blue River, Rob­bers Cave, Perry CCC/ Lake Perry Park, Medicine Creek at Medicine Park, Lake Watonga and Lake Carl Etling.

The catch and re­lease area on Blue River will re­ceive its first ad­di­tion of trout on Thurs­day. The win­ter trout ar­eas nor­mally will have hatch­ery-raised trout added about ev­ery two weeks through March.

The trout sea­son will open at the Dolese Youth Park Pond in Ok­la­homa City on Dec. 1. It will re­main open through Feb. 28.

Ok­la­homa’s bear hunt­ing sea­son sets record

Ok­la­homa’s black bear hunt­ing sea­son has been record-break­ing.

As of Wed­nes­day, 81 black bears had been taken by hunters in the four south­east­ern Ok­la­homa coun­ties where bear hunt­ing is al­lowed: Le Flore, McCur­tain, Push­mataha and La­timer.

Seventy-five bears were killed by bow hunters and six had been taken dur­ing the muz­zleloader sea­son which ends Nov. 4.

The pre­vi­ous record was 66 bears taken by hunters in 2012.

“We def­i­nitely seem to have a lot more bears,” said Joe Hem­phill, south­east re­gion wildlife su­per­vi­sor for the Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion. “We had a rough year this sum­mer chas­ing bear com­plaints all over.”

Hem­phill said two bears weigh­ing more than 500 pounds and one more than 600 pounds were taken by hunters.

State wildlife of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing ex­pand­ing bear hunt­ing to neigh­bor­ing coun­ties as a re­sult of the pop­u­la­tion growth.

Duck sea­son now open across Ok­la­homa

Duck hunt­ing is now un­der­way in the en­tire state with the open­ing of Zone 2 (cen­tral and east­ern Ok­la­homa) on Satur­day.

The first half of the sea­son will re­main open in Zones 1 and 2 through Nov. 25 be­fore clos­ing. The sea­son will re­open on Dec. 8.

Duck sea­son in the Pan­han­dle coun­ties runs un­in­ter­rupted through Jan. 9.

BY ODWC] [PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Me­lynda Hick­man, a wildlife di­ver­sity bi­ol­o­gist for the Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion, was named 2018 Bi­ol­o­gist of the Year by the South­east­ern As­so­ci­a­tion of Fish and Wildlife Agen­cies.

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