A Serious Legislation Conversation

Show Notes

There are several important and pressing issues concerning hunting and wildlife in Oklahoma right now, and on this episode of the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, we try to lay out exactly what those concerns are. Michael Arnette is one of many who has reached out to John in the last few weeks, and he does a great job of laying out some of the proposed legislation and how it might affect the sportsmen and women of Oklahoma and beyond. If you have been on social media at all recently, you have probably seen articles about airbows, velvet seasons, trail camera bans, and much much more.

Michael and John do their best to weed through some of the proposed bills, and what it could mean for both hunters and wildlife. The guys talk about how other states have handled some of these topics, and how it has affected them. Some of what is said in this episode is certainly opinion, but much of it is factual and taken directly from bills that are currently in circulation in the state legislature. It is growing more important every day for people to get involved with what happens in politics, no matter what side of the isle you fall on. If the people who love to hunt and fish don't stand up for their rights, there are not many others to do it for them!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey guys and gals, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, brought to you by Arrowhead Land Company. Here you'll be educated, entertained, and equipped to get more out of your outdoor experience. So hold on tight because here we go.

What is going on? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. We have a really good episode for y'all this week. In fact, I think this episode is so good that I have almost zero of an intro this week because I just wanna jump into it. And we have a very nice long interview that I want to get to.

So I have some quick announcements just update you guys. First this coming weekend, I have a couple guys from the Sportsman's Empire coming down. We have Nick from the Hunt War podcast, and we have Andrew from the oh [00:01:00] two Podcast. Those guys are headed down this way. Actually, I think they're already on their way.

They're leaving some nasty snowstorms behind. They're coming down to our nice I was about to say sunny. It's been sunny, but I think this weekend it's gonna be terrible, nasty, rainy, but hopefully. Between all that, we're gonna have some time to find some hogs. These guys I know they've never killed one.

I doubt they've even seen a wild hog. Nick is from Michigan and Andrew's from Ohio, so they just don't have that problem up there. So anyway, excited to have those guys down. Show them the ropes. Hopefully we have some success. Then the only other quick thing is basically as soon as those guys leave, I'm going to be headed to Nebraska to try to bow hunt some Miriam turkeys at my sister and her husband and their family's place.

Yeah keep your fingers crossed for me. I've never hunted Miriam's. I haven't done much Turkey hunting with my bow. Actually one of the first turkeys I ever called in, I shot with my Bo but since then I've just switched over to the shotgun. But just the timing with work and everything I'm going in during their archery [00:02:00] season.

So that's why I'm gonna be bow hunting. So keep your fingers crossed. I'm taking my daughter with me, actually. And yeah, pray for the road trip. I think it's like a eight or nine hour drive, something like that. And then pray that my sister is gracious and willing and loving enough to keep my little baby girl for a few hours along with her own baby son who's just three months younger than my.

So that I can do a little hunting. So anyway like I said, I don't wanna drag this intro out too long. We're talking to Michael Arnett and Michael's one of many people who reached out to me a about a lot of the legislation that's that I covered about two weeks ago. But when I recorded that episode, a lot of that stuff had really just come out.

I think the day before is when some of it was announced. So I was heated, I was passionate about it, but I didn't have a ton of facts yet. I just didn't have enough time to do research. But Michael has really done his research and one of the reasons I wanted to have him on also is that Michael was raised in Oklahoma, but he actually, a couple years ago moved to Kansas.

And [00:03:00] so some of the stuff we talk about and cover what actually hurt him as a non-resident. And so if someone's still willing to suggest that type of stuff, I think it's worth listening to. Another reason is because he lives in Kansas. We covered the Kansas Trail Camera Band which he's very knowledgeable on again.

Hunts a lot of Kansas public land. And so just another kind of thing. And I, like I said, it's good to get everybody's perspective on all this stuff. So we cover the trail camera band, we cover the air bows, we cover the proposed velvet season. Just all the crazy stuff that's been going on in the state right now.

And I think I actually have another episode we're gonna do on this. Again, just from a kind of another perspective. And I just, again, like I said last time, I just feel like this stuff is really important and I feel like I haven't done a good enough job of using this platform to talk about important topics like this.

So yeah, we're gonna have this episode probably one more on it. And then, if something else happens, we might do another one. But for now, probably gonna do these two more and call it good for a little while, get back to our normal[00:04:00] educational entertainment type stuff. So anyway, that's what we got planned.

Like I said, it's a nice long one. We're gonna hear a quick word from our partners and we'll get into the interview right after this. There is truly no place like the great outdoors in Oklahoma. When you're out in the wild, you want your wireless devices to work unlike other carriers. Bravado Wireless believes that coverage in rural areas is important so that you stay connected with competitively priced plans and coverage where you need it.

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If this sounds good to you, go to private water fishing.com and sign up for a membership. We had the guys from Arrowhead Land Company on a while back, and if you listen to that episode, it was pretty obvious. The guys are big time hunters, so if you're looking to buy or sell a piece of hunting property, Why not call someone who truly understands what they're looking at?

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Check them out@deerlab.com and don't forget to use Code Oklahoma Outdoors for 20% off. Hey everybody, welcome to today's show, and today we're talking to Michael Arnett. How you doing, Michael? Doing good. Good. That's good to hear. I I'm gonna warn you and our listeners, I pretty much ran in the door after a long afternoon of work.

For some reason my computer was shut down. I'm not sure why. And so if I seem a little frazzled or, it's like I can't talk today, that's what's going on. So I just wanted to give everybody a little heads up. But anyway, Michael, how you doing today? Yeah, how's your day been? Oh, not too [00:07:00] bad.

Busy like yours? Yeah, I was scrambling myself. Got my notes together here, awesome. Yep. Man, we have a lot to cover today. But before we really jump into it, why don't you just tell everybody a little bit about yourself? I'm born and raised Oklahoman was born in Tulsa. My parents lived.

My parents are originally from Southern California and we lived there for about five years and then moved back. So from about eight or nine on, I grew up in Oklahoma and I've always just loved wildlife and hunting and fishing even. And, so just another guy who loves to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors.

Man, you are you're one of many people who's reached out to me in the last few weeks. I've already talked about it a little bit on previous podcast about just all the stuff that's going on in Oklahoma right now. Legislation, things stuff in the wildlife [00:08:00] department. Stuff.

Yeah, just all over the gambit. And it's funny, it seems like all this just came about all at one time. So anyway, so we're gonna be covering a lot of that stuff today and it sounds like you are very well prepared. And I'm looking forward to getting your take on all this.

And man, do you want me to pick a topic? You wanna start us off? Okay. Let's see. So we're talking politics, so the opinions I voice are, may or may not be the opinions of the podcast but we're just gonna talk about wildlife policy, and I hope to share my, my if you have something that you wanna butt in with, feel free to, but I guess we, so we got the trail camera ban in Kansas on public land.

I could touch on that. We've got. Two different airgun bills or air bow bills, depending on how you want to call them in the Oklahoma House and Senate. And then we've got a burgeoning [00:09:00] development of Oklahoma resident and non-resident hunting policy. And then we can always talk about stick bows if you want it as well, but mostly I wanted to touch on anything that would be helpful to you.

Yeah, what do you wanna start out with? Yeah, man I always love talking stick bows, but that might not be the pressing matter in this instance. And so if we have to, we can bring you back another day. So I think let's start on some of this other stuff first. Okay. Man you started with the Kansas Trail Camera Band.

That's something that a lot of people are pretty fired up about. So let's start there. Yeah, so I represent the, I'm okay with IT crowd. I, I've used, started getting a job and having some free cash started using them. And I think that trail cameras served a real purpose in quality deer management, and they still do.

Where it allowed hunters for the first time and [00:10:00] John, how old are you? I am 33 years old. You're almost exactly the same age. Yeah. So you remember like all of a sudden, holy cow. You could see what was actually there at a certain level, right? Uhhuh? Yep. Whoa. There's a giant bucket I didn't know about, Uhhuh.

And they played a big role in all the things we know about Whitetails in particular. And I think the reality is that the camera that we grew up with is not the camera of today, and we have to these technologies, they just pop up and at some point we have to deal with them. Our parents and grandparents had to deal with their own. Now, our great grandparents had to deal with the fact that they had extricated, most of the wildlife from North America our our great grandparents had to deal with, and grandparents had to deal with things like fly in rules when it comes to Alaska, where you can't fly in an area and hunt at the same day because it's a disadvantage to the wildlife. You're able to,[00:11:00] fly over a bunch of big horn sheep and you can land and get right over there and shoot one, so these laws that are centered around sportsmanship I'm not saying cellular cameras are wrong or right, but boy, they're brand new technology.

We don't really know what to do with them yet. I think and then you have to understand that Kansas is most of the public access, which is where this ban is. This does not affect private land of any type. Most of the public access in Kansas is what we call wee ha. It's walk-in property, so it's leased by the state and it's private land.

And so you have, these private landowners, most of 'em, farmers and ranchers, who are walking about on their property getting pictures sent to somebody in Alabama, and then you have all the traffic associated with them. And then you had a you had a hunter conflict also.

I personally have had, and I didn't really put two and two together, so I [00:12:00] just, I hunt and. I mostly hunt public land, and so I just deal with what I deal with and, move on. I try not to bother much with it, but I think I personally had someone maybe harass me at least once. Maybe it was a coincidence, but, seemed like every time I walked by a cellular camera this last year, I got harassed, I don't know why.

I think part of the issue was when you write laws, you have to be able to enforce 'em. And if you make regular cameras still legal, but then cellular camera's not, then how do you know the difference at anyway? Yeah. And while you're on that real quick, I, cuz I was listening to, I think it was this week's meat eater episode, and I just bring this up because Meat Eater's, probably the biggest outdoor podcast in the country.

And I believe if I heard it they were saying that it was only still cameras that they were banning and not, oh, here's cameras, but it is a full, it's a full out, it's everything. Everything banned. Yeah. And [00:13:00] so here's the other thing that a lot of people don't know. There was already a law written in the books or Kansas that was written I think 15 or 20 years ago.

And without realizing it, it was against drones. It's, it was for drones basically is how the law was written. All of a sudden we got these cellular cameras and if you read the law, and I read it last year cuz there were some questions that popped up on some forums and Facebook groups and I was like, Wow, that basically banned cellular cameras.

But it was so vague because it wasn't written particularly for cellular cameras that, a lot of people didn't know what it meant. But so part of this is just enforcing a law that was already on the books to prevent I think mostly to prevent issues with walk-in properties. Because when we started that program in Kansas, and I wasn't here for that, but as I learned more about the history of it, there was great care and [00:14:00] precaution taken to make sure that there was careful and conservative use of the public aspect of the Walka properties so that people could still do their ranching and farming activities and that kind of thing.

Yeah. And I've obviously seen this. I've read on it a little bit. To be completely honest, I'm not sure where I stand on it. For me, I don't think I would ever run a cell camera on public land just because I'd be afraid it would get stolen. I did, I had two cameras out this year on Oklahoma public Land.

But I also feel that I'm in a little bit different boat. Like I, I have a good private land hunt to play or right place to hunt. Sorry. For me, going on public and I'm sure there's a lot of hardcore public guys who hate people like me. For me, it's more about the adventure. It's, Hey, what could I find?

It's about the challenge. I don't have complete control over this property. And in running my two cameras, I ended up, I only hunted that spot maybe [00:15:00] three times. And I think all three of those times were actually before I put the cameras out. Because once I charge started checking the cameras, it's oh, I have better deer to hunt over here on my private, so why would I spend time, here on the public?

But if I did not have my nice piece of private land and I was completely reliant on that public you can bet that I would have cameras all over that place trying to find a better buck and trying to figure out where other people were hunting. So I understand both sides of it. And I do too.

I'm kinda like you, I fall. I don't know, but Yeah. Yeah. But I am glad that we're talking about this because, as I'm sitting here right now there's a part of me that is oh, that's not my problem. That's Kansas' problem. But that's also why we're bringing this up right now because.

Kansas is, it's a neighbor of us, and I've said it before, it is, I've said it before Kansas is not a state that I would've seen doing something like this, and so who knows what's, who's next? So I do think it's important that we talk about this. Yeah. [00:16:00] Yeah.

I think the walk-in private land lease program had a lot to do with that landowner that's, I almost guarantee that's what it was. And it may have been some complaints from hunters as well, but I, I guarantee you was some farmer that owns a piece of property and was like, wait a minute, there's this drone sitting on this fence post that just took a picture of me and sent it to who.

Yeah. So it, I feel like maybe it was, too much of a blanket decision, but yeah. But also Kansas is, and we'll get into this, Kansas is a conservative management state. Like some others like Iowa. And so we ha I say we I, I consider myself an Oklahoman, but cans have a history of just taking the more conservative route when it comes to how do we manage our wildlife.

Yeah. And so I think that, that shows in this case. And I had not thought about the aspect that you brought up about harassment or somebody, gets a picture of somebody [00:17:00] headed into their spot and so they go out there and mess with them. I did not think about that.

That's which, that's gotta be more of a local thing. It's still not great, but, if some guy is sitting in Alabama, like you mentioned, and gets a picture, it's not like they're gonna run over there and try to run you out. No. No, sorry. And I didn't mean to pick on Alabama. No, I in mind.

Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, but yeah that's a really good point about the, I never, yeah, I never thought about it from that aspect. I guess we should just talk about some differences between Oklahoma, Kansas and some other states. If you care too, absolutely. Go for it. So just to, for those, my, my friends in Oklahoma I wanted to point out some differences between the two states and this is where I want to get into kind of a just maybe a brief education of the history of Oklahoma decisions and some Kansas decisions.

So we can compare as Oklahomans, what we want in our state. Because I feel like Oklahoma is [00:18:00] about to already is. Starting to deal with something that is completely foreign to most Oklahomans and was foreign to me until I moved to Kansas. Really? And hunted other states. And that comes to non-resident industry, having a major role in not only policies, but how good or bad the hunting is and how affordable access is and how crowded the public lands are.

And it's something that other states have been dealing with for a while. But Oklahoma, it's a very new thing for us. So how many tags do you think Kansas gives out if you had to. Because we have a limited draw here For total or non For non-residents? For non-residents. For non, yeah.

I should know that. I've never hunted there. I have a point. Just so I've been I've been trying to, good. I'm gonna guess somewhere. 15,000 total guess. Yeah, [00:19:00] that's a good guess. It's actually 22,000, which is a lot. Yeah. So those tags are managed and those are almost all archery tags. This is another difference between Oklahoma and Kansas.

Oklahoma mostly gives out archery tags to the non-residents. Very few rifle, and I believe even fewer muzzle loader. But 22,000 are in the draw. Iowa gives out 6,000. Give you an idea. Nebraska gives out 16. And Nebraska for a long time had over-the-counter tags. And they capped it last year at 16,000.

They also, they're capping their Turkey tags this year because they've had exponential growth of nonresident Turkey hunters there. Kansas, Nebraska, some other states that have dealt with a lot of non-resident popularity. Let's give you an idea of how new of a thing this is In Oklahoma, [00:20:00] in 2003, we sold less than a thousand non-resident tags, or maybe it was 2002.

One of those two years. That's 20 years ago, less than a thousand, mostly because we just had a bunch of for keys here. If you hunted around that time, Uhhuh. But to give you an idea, it's gone up. Quite a bit. It was going up at a pretty consistent rate, but the last three years it's been some exponential growth.

We sold 12,700 tags in 2021. In 2022, we sold 16,730 tags. These are just non-resident tags. This is archery, gun, muzz loader, combined, mixed. We don't know what the values of those are. So this could be, I would imagine it's probably 50% rifle. And the rest is probably muzz loader and archery.

Somewhere in there. And as Oklahoma has, some, it has good opportunity for everyone. I feel like it's [00:21:00] got good opportunity for muzzle loader hunters really excellent opportunity for gun hunters. Also very good opportunity for bow hunters. And so that's a good thing, but it's also gonna affect us more because another difference between us and Kansas is that not only does Kansas severely limit the non-resident rifle tags and muzzle loader tags, but they also have a later rifle season.

That's normally the last few days of November and it's only, I think 10 or 11 days long. And then they have a muzzle loader that's in September. Which is it's a good time to hunt, but it's, it not during the rut. Yeah. Yeah. So ano another few numbers from Oklahoma. So we sold almost 17,000 tags last year.

I think we're gonna hit 20,000 this year. You listened to the Joe Rogan podcast?[00:22:00] I have not, no. Did you hear about Luke Holmes talking about Oklahoma? No, I didn't that Oh. So I think we're gonna hit 20,000. I think it's gonna start to exponentially increase, because another thing that's affecting it is other states like Nebraska cutting their tags. Kansas, a lot of people not drawing. So that's impacted Oklahoma. But another interest string figure here, Oklahoma has 250,000, or they have sold 250,000 lifetime licenses now that's since 1969. So some of these people may have passed on. That's, that's a lot.

If you consider the fact that if you combine all of our big game licenses, that the figure is close to that 250,000 that's a lot of people. The wildlife department they estimate that over 50% of people in Oklahoma have a lifetime license. Wow. And so one of the, one of the [00:23:00] bills that, that has the air bows in it also affects and makes it easier and cheaper for Oklahomans to buy a lifetime license.

And that, that's a concern for me as a lifetime license holder myself. Are we writing checks that kids can't sign? Yeah. I think we need to watch out for that. And my goodness, I'm now a non-resident. Technically, but I'm considered a resident because of that lifetime license.

I think I figured up what it saved me since I got it in 2006 and it's in the thousands. Yeah. And that's money that didn't go towards conservation and wildlife. So that, that's something we need to consider. For me as a non-resident, I feel like I should be contributing dollars.

Yeah. I really enjoy that. I have resident status so I can go home and hunt with my family, but, I feel [00:24:00] like I should be contributing. And I've heard a lot of people have the audacity to complain that they have to, for instance, purchase, a bear tag. Yeah. Because it wasn't included in the contract.

They like, like what kind of a mindset is that? Yeah. And don't take it personal, but just think about that mindset and where it's gonna get us. So another thing about Oklahoma that's very unique and something we've done in my opinion really well about is we've historically had pretty radical public land expansion program. So in the 1980s we were somewhere around 1% of a lands. Right now we stand more in the 3% category and that has largely been due to the expansion program that has been funded by the lifetime license program and probably other funds.

And it has purchased thousands of acres of wildlife management areas over the last 30 or 40 years. And [00:25:00] so that's something we've done right. And that's something that recently has been under attack in legislation under, by the name of Casey Murdoch. Multiple times has tried to stifle shut down the, that program and even sell off, or make the department or the state able to sell off the department lands.

And yeah, remember that name? Casey Murdoch. He's gonna come up again. Okay. But so we've done some things really well. But we're like the, in my, to give a metaphor, we're like the planes, Indians, when the cattle the cattle trains came through and the covered wagon trains came through and, we kinda watched, development come up and down I 35 and east and west on I 40, People going to Colorado to hunt elk and people, the big names going to Texas and Kansas for their videoed hunts and because we [00:26:00] just had a bunch of, for keys at the time that nobody was interested in. Yeah. We, we just I think this has been a surprise to us and a lot of the issues that I'm gonna illustrate that have happened in Kansas one of the main things we can do to improve that, I believe is to really consider limiting non-resident opportunity.

And probably also raising the cost a little bit. Yeah. We have an incredible value to non-residents as it is. So we also Oklahoma borders, some pretty large metropolitan areas that have high volumes of sportsmen and women, Dallas in particular, Dallas and Fort Worth.

And there just is no end to the number of people who want to hunt and don't have a place to in that area. The number of people is, I just don't, I feel like there's no end and it's growing [00:27:00] every day, I think. And I think the numbers show it. And it's not just, it's not just that area, it's other areas.

A lot of people, like I mentioned, are having more limited opportunity in other states. But I know you in your podcast that you had a couple weeks ago, I listened to it. And it was really good. And I think one of the things you mentioned is or may or maybe was it you that mentioned limiting non-residents to a one buck?

That's one of the most popular messages I get anytime you bring this stuff up. I had JD Strong on last year the state, our state's wildlife commissioner and, I brought it up to him and he basically said it's as of right now, not something they even really consider.

Just because the deer herd, the population, which is, that's encouraging also. Obviously oh yeah. But yeah, that's one of the most common messages I get is we need to [00:28:00] limit non-residents to one buck tag. I've even heard some people say we need to limit them to one weapon.

Which. I don't necessarily like that. If you limit 'em to one buck tag, that's one thing, but for me the way Oklahoma has their structure set up for every weapon you have to buy a whole nother out-of-state license. You don't just buy one tag and it's good for all three.

So for me, if you're gonna limit 'em to one tag, why not let them spend more money? It, that's just my money in Oklahoma's pocket, so I definitely don't go that far. At least while you can. Yeah. So I definitely don't go that far. Part of me does say, Oklahoma has you get a ton of tags in Oklahoma 60 year basically if you're an archery hunter, plus, if you're in a.

A holiday antler list, you can get two more tags. And and I've had people come on the podcast and that's one of their other big complaints is even residents, just not shooting enough doze, especially Western Oklahoma. Yeah. And so that's definitely, go ahead, sorry. Oh, I was just gonna say that's, I understand where people are [00:29:00] coming from a deer quality thing as, if you limit to one buck you're pickier.

You get the older age class. But on the other side if our wildlife, if the numbers are telling us that we have a population problem then to me taking deer off the landscape, could be a good thing. Now if somebody's taking two bucks and zero dose, that could be a different problem.

But I guess part of it, I guess what I'm getting at is it's a lot, there's a lot more to it than just saying, you get one buck tag. Another distinct difference between Oklahoma and Kansas is that Kansas limits the non-resident tags by unit. For instance in the far, far southwestern unit of Kansas, I believe it's unit two they give out, let's see here.

Where'd it go? Where'd it go? Okay. They give out 258 non-resident tags. Those are almost all archery again. In the far [00:30:00] southeast, they give out 3,300 in that unit. You see the stark difference between the two units and Oklahoma is just as diverse as Kansas is. And so we've tried to do a good job of making sure that we.

Treat those different distinct regions of Oklahoma differently. But we haven't done that with non-residents. And so I definitely feel like non-residents, they will move around just like everybody else. But they are flocking to certain areas more than others. And that's, that, falls at the whim of the latest YouTube video or the latest Joe Rogan podcast or, and so I, I think that's something really to consider as Oklahomans is we're gonna keep coming back to it.

I think we need a limit on resident tags, and I think we need to do it now before we hit 30,000 then decide to Yeah. Because when we do that, Oklahoma's gonna be over the hill, way down the hill about to plunge into the, catastrophic,[00:31:00] terrible hunting situation. And we're gonna want to fix it at that level, which is what happened in Nebraska.

Yeah. Nebraska's just been, and they don't have as many deer as us. They've been very liberal with their non-resident tags and it's just, it's been a nightmare if you talk to anybody in Nebraska. Yeah. And then they decided, it got so bad and so many people complained we're gonna cap 'em, but they capped them at what they sold last year.

And the same thing happened in Colorado with over-the-counter elk tags. It's gotten so bad in Colorado that I personally, I've gone every, I went every year or for several years. And 2019 was the last year I bought over the counter because for me personally, I just saw that it was not biologically feasible.

It wasn't good for the elk. And it was at a, it was at that catastrophic turning point. And now you're seeing Colorado. Last two years, they've lived it some, and this year I think they're really cranking down. Yeah. But [00:32:00] it's almost, I'm not gonna say it's too late, but I feel like as Oklahomans, we should try to get ahead of the ball.

Not behind it. Yeah. Yeah. It's funny you I have not heard the Luke Combs interview. I, I guess I need listen to it, but it's I was I'm a part of the Sportsman's Empire this podcast is, and a guy by the name of Dan Johnson, he started it in Iowa, and I'm under that umbrella.

And I was listening to his podcast last week, and he was talking about me. I know, but he had Tony Peterson on very well known in the hunting. And they kept talking about Oklahoma and Dan kinda laughed. He's yeah, I got a buddy in Oklahoma, and every time I talk about Oklahoma, he texts me and says it's to shush.

And I know he was talking about me because I, before I started my podcast, I was on his podcast and he started it off by saying cats out of the bag. Y'all are no longer a sleeper state. I actually had not heard this. He told me, and he's quoted a few times since that, a few years ago, Oklahoma killed more 200 inch deer than any other [00:33:00] state in the country.

I don't know if that's true or not. That's what he said. And he, he says that all the time. And of course I listened to the podcast and I texted him, I said, Hey, you and Tony need to shut up. But you're right. I, yes the word is getting out there. You're seeing more TV shows come to Oklahoma.

And yeah, I when you told me 16,000 tag non-resident tags last year, I almost expected that to be higher. But I think you are right. You know it. And I hate it because man like I'm just now getting into being a traveling hunter. This year I hope to draw Iowa this year.

I'm planning to go to Nebraska this year cause my sister moved there. I thought about putting in for Kansas in case I don't draw Iowa, but unfortunately their draws are backwards. Kansas is before Iowa. Yeah. So I was like, man, if I don't draw Iowa, maybe I'll go to some other state. So I'm just getting into this whole traveling hunting thing.

So the thought of all these states starting to limit out-of-state. It's, it's, I almost feel like I missed it. Like I missed Yeah. I feel oh man, 10 years ago was the golden [00:34:00] age. You, everybody always says that about the pa. It was always better 10 years ago than it is today, and I don't necessarily think that's true.

I think the quality of deer we're hunting now compared to 10 years ago is night and day different in a good way. So yeah it pains me to think about shutting it down, but it, yeah, it is something that that we have to think about. Yeah. To give you an idea, non-resident dollars in 2022 or 5.1 million residents were four point, actually, this is 2020, this is, hang on, I didn't write it down.

This is somewhat, sometime between 2020 and 2022. 5.1 million was nonresident, and 4.3 million was resident. So you see there, and I think 20 I'm pretty sure 2020 is when the pendulum actually swung. That non-residents now pay more than residents. And I got a question for you.

Yeah. And go ahead. Oh, if you need to finish [00:35:00] a thought, go ahead. No. I'm a d okay. I started a thought and then, yeah. I'm on the topic, but shifting gears just a little bit there's talk of a proposed velvet season as soon as next year. Yeah. Which again I don't know how to feel about it yet.

When I first heard about it, super excited. The thought of being able to chase a deer and velvet sounds awesome. But when I dug a little deeper into it I'm not sure I like the way they're going about it. As a draw system for both residents and non-residents. I guess I get the thought behind it, but for me, as a, if you're a resident and it's going to count towards your two buck limit anyway, I don't really understand the point of a draw for residents.

I do understand it for non-residents but on the non-resident side, like basically the biggest reason they gave to have a velvet season was for the non-resident dollars. Then you, the money that it would talk, because I think there's only four or five states right now in the [00:36:00] country that have a velvet season.

But if you're preaching that the main reason you want to do this is to make money off non-residents, but you're not allowing it on public land and you're limiting re non-residents to only 10% of the tags, I feel like you're almost shooting yourself on the foot a little bit. Not necessarily that I disagree with it, but like I said, if you're saying that's your main reason I don't know if I agree with limiting it so much, right? Yeah. I I like some aspects of it. I haven't gotten a chance to talk to the senator that introduced it. Stevens, I believe. Senator Stevens, Sam Stevens. I've tried to get ahold of him, but he must be a busy man. I'm with you. If we've, if we sold 16 times the amount of tags last year that we sold 20 years ago to non-residents, why do we need more of them for one thing?

Why is that in the bill? Yeah. But maybe that's just [00:37:00] semantics because I think when you read the bill I do think it provides some good things. One, it provide. A draw system for non-residents for the first time. So it will put into place that mechanism and revenue stream because you put in for these non-resident tags, you know that it's a revenue stream for the people of the state.

Because you have all these fees and some of them go towards, management of that policy. But a lot of it just goes right to the coffers. For instance if you put in for Colorado this year, you had to purchase the small game license. That has unintended consequences, if you do it that way.

But it allows us to get that process started because should we need to limit non-resident opportunity, we don't have, we don't have that system in place. So I think that's a good thing. I like that it's bow hunting only. But I'm a bow hunter, so that's [00:38:00] probably biased uhhuh. I just think bow hunting's a more, it's a more conservative method.

It's conservative. Yeah. And you're gonna have another buck season. It should be conservative. I think we're gonna have a real problem with baiting in that season. I think it's something that really hasn't been discussed. That's true. It'd be a whole lot easier to tag a mature buck before he, has his testosterone raised and he is still a slave to his stomach.

So in my opinion, that should be a no beating. And if we just have got to sit over corn, we can always try later. Yeah. But I think that's the way it should be, but I don't think it will. Another thing is I think the bill might have been proposed through some outfitters. And that's something that we need to be careful of in Oklahoma.

We don't need outfitters and outfitter organizations to have any kind of foothold in our policies, particularly in the legislature. And I think you can follow other states to figure out how [00:39:00] bad that is for non-residents to have commercialization and corporatism running wildlife policy in that manner.

Yeah. But that, that scares me a little bit but as far as a velvet season, that's a draw that's archery only. I think it's a really neat idea. Yeah. Another thing is maybe, another thing that Kansas kind of does and some other states do and this could be resident or non-resident, is Kansas makes you decide.

If you're gonna hunt with archery equipment for either species, mule, deer, and whitetail, or if you're gonna hunt with any of the weapons you want to for whitetail only. And that's something Oklahoma doesn't do. And we have so fuel mule deer, and we have even fewer than we had five or 10 years ago.

I think that's something that we should consider for the mule deer. If not, also provide some picking and choosing between [00:40:00] seasons, even among residents. I'm glad you brought up mule deer. I haven't talked a ton of mule deer on, I'm complete opposite side of the. I would love to shoot a mule deer. Every year I make some rough plans and of course they never work out cause it's just so far away. For me, it's a long way. But I've talked to people who have, hunted and taken mule deer and stuff.

One thing I would love to see for mule deer only would be an antler point restriction of some kind. Because I've talked to people who go hunt, the very few public places you can go hunt 'em up in the panhandle and everybody says the thing, same thing, everybody shoots the first buck.

They see. Because they want to shoot a mule deer buck, and so I remember one guy I talked to, one guy who had he had drawn one of the draw tags for mule deer on, I believe it was Beaver or the McFarland unit of Beaver or something. And he called the game agency ahead of time was talking to him, and I think I wanna say they, I wanna say they knew of eight, three year old bucks on the 22,000 acre, I think it's 22,000 acres [00:41:00] they knew of eight, three year old bucks.

And basically, whether it's through the season or through the draw hunts, pretty much every year all those bucks get killed. And then, the next year you have five to 10 more three year olds and they all get killed. And again, it's because everybody goes out there, they see a mule deer buck, they've never killed a near muld deer buck.

So their standards are way lower. So I think it would help them mule it just a ton. It's not, yeah, it's not just that. It's that mule deer are a very different species with completely different defense mechanisms than whitetail. I've hunted 'em quite a bit unsuccessfully for the most part.

I, I should stick those, I gotta get within 25 yards Uhhuh. But they're a really easy animal to get within. Within a hundred, I don't, they're real easy. And within 50 or 60, they're still quite easy. And so yeah, you just can't treat whitetail and mule deer the same way, or you're gonna eliminate your mule.

Deer and Kansas dealt with that. They did that for a [00:42:00] long time. And they didn't eliminate 'em soon enough and they didn't limit them enough, fast enough. And our wheel deer population in Kansas has plummeted. And that's with, give you an idea, Kansas has probably. Probably eight or 10 times the number of mul deer that Oklahoma does.

Based off numbers that, that I've compared, I, I could be a little off on that, but we have a lot more mul deer in Kansas, but we only give out 145 non-resident tags, no, excuse me, only 145 tags for a mule deer stamp altogether. So that includes residents and non-residents. And we have mule deer all the way from the Oklahoma panhandle all the way up to Nebraska.

And even that hasn't really been enough. And there's other, not just hunting pressure, there's other issues that mul deer are facing. I think that they are more susceptible to a lot of diseases, particularly chronic wasting disease. And they compete with whitetail and they don't [00:43:00] compete very well.

Yeah, meal deer is a complicated issue and. Yeah, we better do something quicker. We might not have any more mule deer. If there were 20 mule deer three or four years ago and there's eight now, what's to say? There's gonna be three in a couple years and somebody's gonna shoot the last one.

Yep. There are hunters that would go to a place and see one mule your buck on a vast acreage, and spend two weeks looking for another deer and then shoot that one buck. We, and we've seen this happen with turkeys, another species that they do fine until they get down to a lower population and boy they can crash.

I think.

Yeah, I think we need some help in Oklahoma. I quoted him earlier, so I'll quote 'em again. One thing that Steve Renell talks about a lot is the old buffalo hunters. And at one point there was [00:44:00] so many buffalo that it just didn't occur to them that they wouldn't be there anymore.

And even as they were killing the last ones, they still just hung around, just expecting the next herd to show up. And, it could be the same way just about anything. And yeah, our poor Turkey numbers and nationwide poor Turkey numbers are way, way down. Yeah. I think they're coming back up just a little bit.

I hope so. I've seen a little bit. Yeah. It hit Kansas hard too. Yeah. But yeah, I guess we could probably bring up, Is there anything else you wanted to bring up on the only thing we haven't touched on that, I don't know if you've done any research I haven't done much myself. There's some talk about taking c w D regulations away from the wildlife department.

Have you heard much on that? I haven't. That's a really good topic though. I believe the talk, and [00:45:00] again, I'm not sure what stage it's in, is to take it away from the wildlife department and give it to basically the Ag Department. Which I just, I don't understand the thought behind that whatsoever.

I wonder if Casey Murdoch's name is gonna come up on that one. That's a good question. Just to guess. I think he's on the ag department. Yeah. So that's a good topic. We have the commission. And we have the legislature and there's really no checks and balances for either one, not good ones.

So the legislature, the commission technically answers to the legislature. So let's say we get this velvet season to go through or this airgun bill, which we can talk about here in a minute. If it goes through the commission is, as far as I know, required to implement those measures. But the commission is also required to have a set timeframe [00:46:00] where public comment can be made and they have to go through an entire process and it's lengthy.

It's not legislation that goes through the commission is never gonna take place that next cunning season. Always going to have significant comment in person and online. It's a much slower more comment oriented method of changing wildlife policy. But also the commission can do what they want to a certain extent.

And then you have the legislature, which, they are our voted representatives. But that moves so fast. This this, the air bow bill or the velvet bill, by the time people heard about it was literally all the way through both congresses. And now it's, I believe it sits on the Governor's desk soon, doesn't it?

I believe so. Things can happen so fast, and then there's devious, [00:47:00] devious politics involved and just methods of lobbying and changing things and amending bills and things can happen very quickly and go very poorly for sportsmen and women. And then it goes right to the Wildlife Commission and as far as I know, all they can do is accept, comment on it.

And so states like Colorado are dealing with this with the proposition on wolves. Us hunters and outdoor men and women, we've been commenting through this whole process. And what we didn't realize is that we're just throwing our opinions in the air and they're forced to do what the legislature told them to do through the ballot initiative.

And it's being used in states like, Colorado for that purpose. But then on the commission level, for instance, the state of Washington now has an anti-hunting commission. And remember I said the commission county can do what it wants. And the commission is appointed by the governor in most states.

So I feel like some checks and balances might be good to where [00:48:00] we can work through the legislature, but then it has to go to the commission and get approved, and then it's maybe sent back to the legislature. And where maybe the legislature has some, some role on commission decisions. I don't know the answers there, but it's a sticky place to be as a hunter fisherman, because we understand that for now, the wildlife Department tends to have our best interests at mind.

It has I believe it has in the past, for the most part. We don't know that about the legislature, so yeah. And then we have in the legislature, we have obviously a Republican majority, which is good, but Republican majority tends to always side with commercialism.

Yeah. And the only reason I know for instance, about the air bow bill is through a Democratic [00:49:00] congressman who reached out on a forum for bow hunters to see what we thought. And so it's gotta be a non, in my opinion, I think you should be able to talk about hunting policy across the aisle. I feel like it ideally should be a nonpartisan issue if we can make it that.


Definitely. You've touched on it several times. I wanna make sure we get to it before we gotta jump off here. Let's talk about these air bows. Yeah. What's your opinion? Have you read the bills? I have. I've read most of them. I definitely think I'm anti the big thing that stood out to me, and again, I've had several people send me, several different articles on it and stuff.

But it, it sounds like to me that even most airboat manufacturers do not believe they should be used in archery seasons. That's the thing that really stuck out to me. And I talked about on the [00:50:00] podcast you referred to earlier that I, ID kind of did by myself, where I just rambled and ran it on some of this stuff.

I mentioned. I think crossbows take a lot of blame where they maybe shouldn't. I do believe crossbows are yes, easier than a traditional compound bow or especially a long bow. But I don't think you take a com or a crossbow put it in some random guy's hands and all of a sudden he's just this, crazy killer.

But I do think an airboat is that type of weapon where someone with, absolutely no archery experience whatsoever can take this weapon. I believe there's CO2 powered. You use like an air tank to, to pressure 'em up. You slide an arrow down the barrel, you take the safety off, and you shoot it, very fast for a pretty good distance.

And yeah, to me, just in No, somebody pointed out like, there's not even a string on it. Like, how are you gonna call it archery equipment if there's no string? So yeah I'm pretty against it personally. If you wanna use it during [00:51:00] rifle season, I don't guess I have a problem with that.

It can be a good management tool. It's quieter than a gun if, if you're trying to take some dose, something like that. Yes. But definitely for archery season I don't think it's a good thing. Yeah. I would agree with that. I'd like to say a few other things. And so the bills I got an update for you on these bills today.

Okay. I talked to Senator representative Ty Burns. He's one of the folks on the Wildlife Committee in in the house. And he said that the house bill which is the one that gave full inclusion, it also negatively affected the funds raised through lifetime licenses. There were a couple other small things on it.

That's 2355 in the house that it was sent back to the house, and it's a wounded bill at the moment. Is the way he worded it. Doesn't mean it can't come back to life, it's probably gonna go through significant changes and make it voted against now. The Senate bill, and I'd like to point out that this is a classic two [00:52:00] chambers of the legislative body lobby technique.

This bi Camaro lobbying technique where you get one bill that says one thing in the house and one bill that says another thing, but it's a little different in the Senate. This is classic lobbying. I don't know who's behind it, but it's well put together. And the Senate Bill 3 52, it's a live round, and it will be voted on sometime next week, most likely in the Senate.

And it will be headed to the governor's desk. If it's passed. And John, I just found out about this like a week and a half ago, maybe two weeks ago. This is the problem with legislators dictating wildlife with no checks and balances. Like just happened so fast.

There's no room for comment. But back to the crossbows I would agree with you that they aren't a rifle and that the advantages that they give people are pretty limited. But they're there. I would point out that cross posts have gotten us to a unique place as bow hunters.[00:53:00]

The path that was taken with crossbows closely mirrors the path that was taken with these air guns. So last year air guns were legalized during rifle season. And I call 'em air guns, but they're called air bows. And I'd like to point out that yes, they do shoot a projectile that resembles or is made to be an arrow.

But what are they gonna do in 10 years? How small is that air quotes arrow gonna get? Yeah. They're an airgun. That shoots an arrow and that's an important distinction to make. But it was this stairstep lobby and technique that happened through the commission in this case, with the cross pose in 2009 where they took, they took one step and then they took another step.

And so in 2007, We sold 11,000 archery permits. And hunters, excuse me, we took 11,000 deer [00:54:00] with archery equipment in 2007, approximately 11,000. And this is available on the department website if you wanna look it up. In 2008, we passed through the Wildlife Commission persons over 60 years old, cuz remember, we don't have enough hunters.

We need more hunters. That was the idea behind it. In 2008, we killed 16,000 deer. Wow. So four or 5,000 more deer than in 2007. Then in 2000, so this is 2008. In 2009, the very next year they passed it for everybody. I didn't realize it had been that long and we didn't see. Yeah, it has.

I was, yeah, I was I was in one of those commission meetings and it was interesting actually. There was someone in that commission meeting that pointed out that if we weren't careful, we might have these air bows cuz AirBoss were around in 2009. We might [00:55:00] have these air bows in our archery seasons.

And I thought, that could never be. Anyway. And I'm not anti cross, but I just wanna point out some numbers here. And the process that was taken. So then in, so 16,000 deer were killed during archery in 2008, four and a half thousand more than in 2007. 2014. How many deer do you think we killed with archery equipment?

I'm gonna say a lot. 25,000. So that's with 96,000 bow hunters Uhhuh. In 2007 we had more, like 78, I think. No, maybe 80, something like that. So the high seventies, low eighties in 2007, I think. Go ahead. You were saying something. Oh, I was just gonna say, something, you were talking about the air bows and the size of the arrow and where could it go from there?

One thing that we've got to watch with the crossbow, especially in the last, four or five years, [00:56:00] is the Crossbo technology. In 2009, a crossbow was two, two and a half foot wide. Now I think they have something, some that are like nine inches wide. They have, reverse draw and everything, so they've just, and they've got, they've gotten faster, they've gotten narrow, they've become more handy.

And yeah. It's funny you mentioned that up with the air, eventually is the quote arrow that these. Airgun shoot, are they gonna be, two inches long with blades on the front? Are they gonna start making that of lead? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that, that's an interesting thing. And I'd like to point out the point I'm getting to here is that technology makes a difference in more than one way.

It's not just how easy it is, or the range effectiveness, et cetera, et cetera. It's other things that are impacted. 25,000 deal were killed with archery equipment in 2014. In 2021 we killed 36,000. Okay? So we in, in, what is it? 13 years? We went from [00:57:00] 11,000 to 36,000.

Yeah. So how can you tell me that they have not affected BO season? Yeah. Really? Because they have now, is it the end of the world? Maybe not. But they've certainly almost tripled. And it's not just CrossBoss, it's compound technology. It's the popularity of both methods. Yeah. I was gonna bring those two things up, just in a devil's advocate type role.

But yeah, I do think more there's popular and obviously compound bows have gotten a whole lot better also. I wish I had the number written down here, but I think we're somewhere around 130,000 archer archery hunters now. Yeah, it wasn't just the technology, it was the popularity that came along with the ease of technology.

And I, like I said I can't say I'm necessarily against him, decisions have consequences. The other thing is the gun harvest in Oklahoma has risen as well. [00:58:00] And the participation has as well. So in 2004 we killed 58,000 with rifle. In 2021 we killed 76,000. Now, some of that is potentially population right.

Increase. But if you look at the do to buck ratio on the harvest, it's, we're killing a lot more bucks. Yeah. And archery has become the second buck tag of choice. And it's become one of the bigger indicators of rut time harvest. And Oklahoma has shielded somewhat from the impact because we have such a good muzzle loader season and such a good, especially as such a good rifle season.

And we have that two buck limit. It does shelter archery season to a certain extent because the opportunities in the other seasons are so good. That Iowa is dealing with these cross bows. And Kansas as well. We don't have those nice, awesome opportunities for gun and muzz load hunters.

And so the, it's been as great [00:59:00] or greater, the impact that prosper and bow hunting popularity have caused, so much more of the impact to be made during the rut. So even with limited non-resident tags. Yeah. So Iowa. I wish I'd be real careful about that. I think I, I don't know.

Yeah, I was on I was on Dan's podcast last week and he invited me to come on to talk about hog hunting cuz he was doing a series on, he called it the anything but deer series. He was just trying to change it up and he called me, he was like, Hey let's forget hogs. I wanna talk about this legislation stuff cuz they, just like Oklahoma's dealing with, I was going through a bunch of this.

Yeah. And yeah, he, which I did not realize that crossbows were not legal in Iowa. I thought they were legal just about everywhere. And, one thing that I've brought up talking about a lot of people think that if Oklahoma went to a one buck limit, they'd just overnight be this great whitetail.

And it, but, everybody compares it to Iowa. They're like, oh, we could be Iowa. We could be Iowa. But one thing I always bring up, Iowa is not a one buck state. In fact, if you're a landowner, you can [01:00:00] get three buck tags. But I will say, knowing now that they are not a crossbo state, that definitely probably plays a role in the quality of the deer there.

They're also not a rifle state. Yep. They've been shotgun for a long time. And but another thing that is an issue in Oklahoma that is not an issue in Kansas with the cross bows and archery equipment, generally speaking, is that when you have a one buck limit, which Kansas does, you gotta pick.

Yeah. Am I gonna, you can hunt seasons until you shoot one, but then you're done, right? So there's probably been, more impact because, In Oklahoma because, and it'll be the same way in Iowa. It's a free buck tag. Yeah. If you pick up a crossbow Yeah. Or archery equipment, whichever you choose, but it has a lot of impact in that case. And so I think as a bow hunter, if we made people [01:01:00] choose between residents included between your two bucks with archery equipment or your two bucks with muzz loader and rifle equipment, I'd be okay with that. Because muzzle loading equipment, muzz loader season has suffered, so we aren't selling as many muzz loader tags to residents at least as we used to. Because why hunt during muzzle load for nine days when you could hunt three and a half months with crossover bow, yeah. Makes sense. All these little things with policies they. They steer us hunters one direction or another, residents, non-residents.

And I like when we give people a choice, pick one in order to be more conservative, Uhhuh as opposed to just, for instance you mentioned with a non-residents, we make them buy a whole nother license if they wanna hunt for the bow and then they wanna pick up a gun.

It gives 'em an option to a certain extent. And I think, [01:02:00] I don't know. I'm not a one buck person though. Yeah. Kansas is a one buck state and be careful what you wish for because the un there's unintended consequences with a one buck. Yeah. And I'm not either. I've been, I think, fairly vocal about that.

I feel like I'm in the minority there, but me personally, I, I tend to use that second buck tag as more of a management tag. I have a lot of 6, 7, 8 year old, 125 inch eight points on my wall that, have never, or were never going to amount to anything that I was able to take because that second tag, so I'm pretty pro Again, it's all in the person and unfortunately there's not a way to interview somebody to decide whether they get one tag or two tags. But yeah. So it's, you just never know. And the reality is Oklahoma has peaked, I believe. And I believe it's, it is headed downhill.

A little bit. And [01:03:00] depending on the policies, we adopt it, it will speed up down that hill, or it will stay a little past peak. Yeah. And that's just my opinion. Yeah. But also with the way chronic wasting disease works and Oklahoma's starting to get more and more of it, I hope that we're sheltered because of the subspecies.

We have another thing, people compare Kansas to Oklahoma all the time. Kansas got the big deer. We could have those in Oklahoma if we just had one. And I just, I've lived in Kansas for four years now. A two and a half year old buck in Kansas, most cases will score what a three or four year old buck in Oklahoma will.

It's just, it's a totally different subspecies. Doesn't mean there's not amazing bucks in both states. But I, every time I go, I hunt both states each year. I am amazed at not only the habitual [01:04:00] differences between. There's a subsidies change. Yeah. Somewhere along the Kansas, Oklahoma border. Or close to it. One of my favorite spots that I hunt is 10 or 15 miles from the Kansas border, and I've killed, they, they opened it up a lot and so I, I haven't killed mature deer off there last couple years, but before they opened it up to a lot more hunting, I killed a mature buck or two in there fairly consistently.

And not a single one of those mature deer were over 125 inches. And then this year I shot my biggest buck ever, 147 pop young. And he was probably four and a half, maybe five. It. Anyway not to poo Oklahoma, just to say you can't compare the two. And I agree. And the way chronic wasting disease we may not, and Kansas may be [01:05:00] dealing with this too, we may not be able to manage for AIDS structure like we have in the past.

If you do any research on CW d it's an issue. Yeah. Or letting all these bucks get big and old is making the whole herd more prone and the prevalency rate greater of chronic wasting disease. So I think we can talk about quality deer management a lot, but. There's a little bit of a catch 22 there.

Yeah, absolutely. Michael, I hate to cut you off, but we're a good bit over an hour now, and I know you can keep going man, thank you. We got the most of our points. Yeah, the numbers. You covered all that was fantastic. Even the politicians and everything like that. Let's say somebody listens to this and they wanna reach out to you or get ahold of you to get some more information.

You wanna shout out like your Instagram or something way folks can find you? Sure. I'm on I, I build traditional archery equipment, so I build [01:06:00] long goes and recurves. That's, I do that part-time and so my business is tall times archery on Instagram and Facebook ah, you can follow me there and I'll have some updates on the airboat bill.

And I'm hoping that it will come to our senses and make a good decision on that, but I guess we'll take it either way. Yep. Yep. Awesome, man. I may be giving you a call soon about building me a new long bow. I'm in the market, so that, that'd be great. Thank you so much. I love talking to people about that.

All right. Awesome. Man, thank you so much for coming on. Super informative and we will talk to you next time. All right. There it is folks. I think this might be in the top five longest podcast I've ever put out, but as I mentioned at the beginning, this stuff is just really important. And so I challenge anybody listening to this, go do some research for yourself look up your local representatives, call them, tell 'em your opinions about this stuff.

And and we just need [01:07:00] to be better as a hunting community on. On voicing our opinions. So again, that's why I'm covering this stuff so thoroughly. Like I said, I'm probably gonna have one more episode on this at least. So thank you guys for tuning in. I'm gonna go ahead and let you guys go. I appreciate all the love and support, keep reaching out to me.

I love hearing from you guys. And until next time, I will see y'all right back here on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.

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