Public can vote until Sept. 8 for their favorite butterfly license plate
Voting is open through Sept. 8 on a new Monarch butterfly specialty license plate.
The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma, which also sells the popular bison specialty license plate, has introduced six designs for the Monarch butterfly plate.
In Oklahoma, The Nature Conservancy has more than 5,000 members who spend their money and time to protect almost 100,000 acres, working to restore and keep the land in its natural state.
The Nature Conservancy manages 13 preserves in the state, most notably the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska and the J.T. Nickle Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve in the Ozark mountains along the Illinois River near Tahlequah.
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 170 in May authorizing the creation of the monarch-theme license plate. The winning design will be announced Sept. 12 and if approved by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, will be available for pre-sale in 180 days.
At least 100 plates must be sold before the plate will go into production. A portion of the proceeds from the plate will benefit the Nature Conservancy’s efforts in Oklahoma to increase pollinator habitat throughout the state.
You can vote at nature.org/okmonarchs. As of Friday, more than 7,000 votes had been cast, said Katie Hawk, marketing director for the Nature Conservancy. The specialty license plate will cost $38 in addition to the normal vehicle registration fee for the first year then $36.50 in subsequent years.
The Nature Conservancy began selling the bison license plate in 2016 and since then has sold more than 3,000 plates, raising more than $120,000 for conservation causes.
Funds from bison license plate sales were used to conduct critical stewardship and management activities at the Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve and went towards building a new barn at Oka’ Yanahli Preserve that was destroyed by a tornado in 2016, Hawk said.
Reservations accepted Monday for bugling elk tours
Reservations for bugling elk bus tours on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oklahoma will be accepted beginning Monday at 9 a.m. by calling the refuge's visitors center at 580-429-2197.
Anyone interested should call as soon as possible Monday because the bus tours fill up quickly. Bus tours are scheduled on various dates in September and October and are sponsored by the Friends of the Wichitas.
The bus tours take participants in the refuge’s Special Use Area, normally off-limits to the public, during the height of the elk mating season. Bull elks compete for females to form their harems and produce a high-pitched whistling sound, or bugle, to advertise their dominance to other bulls and attract cows.
The typical bugle of the bull elk is a surprising, distinctive sound that begins deep and resonant, and becomes a high pitched squeal before ending in a succession of grunts.
Even if you don’t get a seat on the bus, you can take a drive through the refuge on SH 49 in September and October and it is very likely you will hear elk bugling. If you are lucky, you might even see them bugling.
The best times to hear them are early in the morning and early in the evening, but during the peak of the rut you might hear them at any time.
Fly fishing class offered in Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department is offering a fly fishing class from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 14 at the H.B. Parsons Fish Hatchery, 10940 N Meridian Ave.
Students will learn about types of fly rods and lines, what flies or popping bugs to use, get hands-on experience in knot tying and casting fly rods, and learn about local fly fishing opportunities. Volunteer instructors from the 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Oklahoma City will lead the class.
All equipment is provided with a cost of $20 per student. The class size is limited to 20 students.
To register, go to okc.gov/parksignup and search "Event ID 20400." For more information, call 405-297-1426.
Duck blind drawings set Sept. 14 for Draper, Stinchcomb
The annual drawings for duck blinds at Lake Stanley Draper and Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Lake Stanley Draper Marina, 8301 SE 104 St. (east side of SE 104th and W Lake Draper Drive).
All participants must have a current annual Oklahoma City hunting permit before the drawing begins. Annual permits are $12.50 and can be bought from authorized vendors or at Draper Marina before the drawing.
Blind site locations and hunting regulations will be posted at the drawing site. Ducks and geese must be hunted from designated blind sites. Bank hunting and hunting from watercraft are prohibited. Any watercraft used to get to and from blind locations must have an Oklahoma City boating permit.
Oklahoma City code prohibits hunting, shooting, trapping, capturing or killing permitted ducks and geese with anything but a shotgun (no larger than 10-gauge) using nontoxic shells (no larger than BB-sized shot).
All blind site drawing participants must be at least 18 years old.
For more information, call Oklahoma City Parks at 405-297-3882 or call Draper Marina at 405-799-0870.