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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Junior Livestock nominations near 600

  • Civic and Cultural Authority eyes bids
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  • Nominations for the 2014 Pottawatomie County Junior Livestock Show were held last week.
     
    Suzanne Gilbert, co-chairman of the Agri-Business Youth Development Committee, says nominations totaled nearly 600.
     
    She reports that 95 head of cattle were nominated. There 90 goats and 90 sheep also nominated.
     
    Hog nominations totaled around 300, she added.
     
    There were 25 volunteers helping with nomination day last week at the Expo Center.
     
    The Junior Livestock Show will be held March 4-7 at the Expo Center.
     
    The annual Pig Roast and Trophy action will be held at the Expo Center, too, on Monday, Feb. 3.
    •••
    When Shawnee’s Civic and Cultural Development Authority meets on Thursday, the board is scheduled to discuss and consider possible action on the remodeling of the four comfort stations at the Expo Center.
     
    Authority members are expected to discuss and take possible action also on several other bid items. The Authority will hear an update on the IFYR and also review and possibly discuss correspondence by board member Casey Bell.
     
    The meeting, open to the public, begins at 12:30 p.m. in the conference center at the Expo.
    •••
    Deer hunters have another opportunity to tote a firearm to the woods during the 10-day holiday antlerless deer gun season Dec. 20-29.
    The holiday hunt will be open across most of the state, excluding the western reaches of the Panhandle and in far southeast Oklahoma. Additionally, deer taken by a hunter during the holiday antlerless deer gun season are not included in the hunter's combined season limit.
    Last year about 35,000 hunters participated in the holiday deer season, taking 4,385 deer.
    "It's the last opportunity to use a firearm to fill your freezer with tasty venison," said Erik Bartholomew, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "School's out, so it's a great chance to get your kids out in the woods again."
    Bartholomew said the approach to hunting during the holiday season should simply be hunting near large food sources or travel corridors between bedding and feeding areas.
    High doe harvests help accomplish several important management benefits such as reducing localized overpopulations, improving buck:doe ratios for a more healthy herd, reducing competition for forage to promote greater antler growth in bucks, reducing the potential for deer/vehicle collisions, and lessening the extent of potential crop depredation.
    According to Bartholomew, overall deer harvest is down somewhat this year. He and fellow biologists had predicted as much, pointing to the wide availability of natural food sources that became available with the return of rainfall to much of the state. Those rejuvenated food sources would keep deer from having to travel as far to meet their daily food requirements, reducing their visibility to hunters. Coupled with the increased food availability, the rains promoted dense vegetation regrowth that would make deer more difficult for hunters to see.
    Page 2 of 3 - Additionally, inclement winter weather and icy road conditions throughout the deer gun season - including blizzard-like conditions and ice during the first weekend, heavy fog during the second weekend and bitter cold and poor road conditions during the last weekend - likely discouraged some hunters from traveling and limited some hunters' success.
    Bartholomew encourages hunters to help make up for the lower harvest by taking advantage of the holiday antlerless deer gun season. Archery hunters also can hunt through Jan. 15, but will need to renew annual hunting and deer licenses if they plan to hunt Jan. 1-15.
    Hunters participating in the holiday antlerless deer season must comply with the hunter orange requirements for the regular deer gun season. Archery hunters and those hunting most other species in open holiday antlerless zones must wear either a hunter orange hat or upper garment while hunting. Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide season dates. For a map of Oklahoma's antlerless deer hunt zones and to see which counties will be open for the holiday antlerless deer gun season, consult page 20 of the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide," as well as the "Public Hunting Lands" section starting on page 39 of the guide for seasons on specific public areas.
    To learn more about this year's holiday antlerless deer season, consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.
    •••
    Oklahoma roadways are expected to be busy during the upcoming Christmas and New Years holiday. Troopers are urging drivers to take extra precautions to keep themselves and their passengers safe.
     
    It's very easy to become distracted while driving. Motorists are reminded to devote full time and attention to the operation of their vehicles. Travelers are encouraged to practice defensive driving, and reminded that it is illegal to drink and drive. If you plan to bring in the New Year with alcohol, make arrangements for a designated driver, call a cab or just stay home. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a "ZERO TOLERANCE" policy on drinking and driving.
     
    Colonel Ricky Adams, Chief of Patrol said, "We are passionate and committed to the safety of Oklahomans and those traveling our roadways. We want to wish all a joyous and safe holiday as we do our part to make this a safe traveling holiday season." The Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will be out in full force across the state cracking down on drunk drivers, aggressive speed, child restraints and seat belt enforcement.
     
    "We want the public to be safe when operating a motor vehicle as we continue to cut down on the number of fatality accidents we have each year", stated Adams. As of December 13th, 2013 there have been 621 traffic deaths compared to 708 deaths for the year in 2012.
    Page 3 of 3 - •••
    If you have ideas or something of interest for this column, please call me at 214-3922 or email me at michael.mccormick@news-star.com. Please include your name and a phone number for contact purposes.
     
     
     
     
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