McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 5, 2013

Outdoors

John Yates
Special to the News-Capital

McALESTER — A new year in the outdoors is underway, but we carry over one of the issues from the old year to the new-year-dry conditions.

The last day of 2012 saw just over three-quarters of an inch of rainfall officially registered for McAlester.

That still left us down from a normal December by a little over an inch, and down more than four inches of rainfall for the entire year.

For quite a while, I’ve been watching the lake level readings for Lake Eufaula drop in hundredths of a foot.

While many comfortably round off numbers, my first inclination as a mathematically inclined (I actually like to use the phrase mathematically-reclined) is to cite the exact decimals.

Which the raw data from the US Army Corps of Engineers, as of 2 a.m. Saturday, showed Eufaula 5.01 feet below normal elevation, the raw data also showed the conservation pool was 67.64 percent full.

That lack of water abundance is also reflected in the waterfowl report for the lake, which is considered in the northeast region for waterfowl conditions report from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

“Water level is 5-feet below normal.

Habitat conditions are poor at the current lake level.

Very little farming in the area. Duck numbers are fair to poor; spotty.

Goose numbers are low, with local resident birds present.

Hunter activity is low and success is unknown.

A few possible flights of migrants observed over the weekend.

Native vegetation and Japanese millet from the millet program are excellent and plentiful, but not inundated at current lake level.

At present the lake continues to fall slowly with no inflows.”

Only four areas in this week’s waterfowl report were considered southeastern Oklahoma locations, The Sequoyah National area didn’t have a report in this week’s release, but none of the reports for the four areas that were listed for this part of the state, Hugo, Red Slough, Texoma and Wister read well, either.

We are down to less than 10 days until the January 15 conclusion of archery deer season.

As of about 4:10 Saturday morning, the online check-in registration numbers for deer from all seasons on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlif website was 62,783 deer.

There had also been 564 elk checked in for the state registered on the system, as well as 191 turkey for eastern Oklahoma.

During the recent ice and snowy weather, I didn’t receive any reports of rabbit hunting, though a friend on Facebook commented on the possibility.

The one that roams near my home apparently stayed in city limits and away from hunters, as it went scampering when I stopped in at home for a while very early Saturday morning.

Until next weekend, happy outdoors!

John Yates is the news director at McAlester Radio. Contact him at valstarr_hawkwind@yahoo.com.