Rack Madness results in state record elk
The third annual “March Rack Madness” held Tuesday in Oklahoma City by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation produced a new state record nontypical elk.
Hunter Tyson Heibert of Seiling killed an elk that measured 346 ⅞ inches on a 9-by-9-rack. Heibert took the elk with his compound bow On Oct. 3, 2017 in Dewey County near Camargo on his family’s land.
The antlers were scored by a panel of state wildlife officials. Heibert said he in the process of changing hunting spots and walking across a wheat field when the elk “came out of the trees like a tank.”
“Somehow, luckily, he ran right in front of me,” Heibert said. “I just drew my bow and let her fly… I had no idea what I had when I shot him.”
The old nontypical elk record was 325 ⁶⁄₈. It was killed in 2005. Antlers on deer and elk are considered nontypical when they have abnormal points. Typical antlers are points in the typical locations and are symmetrical.
Bassmaster Classic begins Friday
The annual Bassmaster Classic, long considered the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing, will take place beginning Friday in Knoxville, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River, but it may be the last great Classic.
The vast majority of the top professional anglers on the B.A.S.S. Elite Series have committed to Major League Fishing, which is headquartered in Tulsa. If the National Football League were to lose most of its stars to a rival league, would people still watch?
Now there are three professional bass fishing tours battling for the same viewers and advertising. MLF was co-founded by pro anglers Boyd Duckett, a former Bassmaster Classic champion, and Gary Klein, who has fished in more than 30 of them.
Fifty percent of the MLF organization is angler-owned and includes anglers Edwin Evers of Talala and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, part of an original group of 24 founding members.
In 2019, the MLF will have the top market for televised bass fishing with programs airing on Outdoor Channel, CBS, CBS Sports Network and Discovery Channel. Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, also is a supporter of the new tour.
This year’s Bassmaster Classic will likely be the last for many pro anglers, including four-time winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoon, Michigan, and Evers, the last Bassmaster Classic champion from Oklahoma.
Evers, Jason Christie of Park Hill and James Elam of Tulsa have all switched to Major League Fishing for the 2019 season but qualified to this year’s Bassmaster Classic after fishing the B.A.S.S. Elite Series.
This is the 49th Bassmaster Classic and could be the most awkward in history with most of the competitors already having left B.A.S.S. for Major League Fishing. B.A.S.S. will continue with its Elite Series in 2019 but with a new group of anglers that are not household names in pro fishing.
Paddlefish season begins
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Paddlefish Research Center near Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma is now open.
This will be the 12th year of existence for the center, manned by Wildlife Department employees who filet the paddlefish brought to them by anglers in exchange for the eggs from female paddlefish.
Those eggs are then used to make caviar that is sold by the Wildlife Department each year to a wholesaler. Oklahoma’s spoonbill caviar has been sold around the world. The center will be open through April during the annual spawning runs of paddlefish up the tributaries of Grand Lake.