OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Facing the threat of losing a valuable public hunting area, Delta Waterfowl volunteers in Oklahoma rallied and mobilized to urge the Oklahoma City Game and Fish Commission to proceed with their regularly scheduled blind draws on Lake Stanley Draper and the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma City.
Using Delta Waterfowl’s Defending the Hunt Reporting Tool, volunteers from the Oklahoma Chapter alerted Delta staff on Sept. 8 about a possible closure of hunting access at these two prominent locations just west of downtown Oklahoma City.
Staff from the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, who oversee the blind draw process, expressed concern about low water levels at both locations. As a result, the Department was considering restructuring, or even stopping the blind draw process and hunting all together at both sites for this upcoming season.
Delta Waterfowl staff immediately reached out to chapter volunteers, as well as conservation partners in the area, including the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and staff at Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, to assess the problem and talk about potential solutions.
With short notice, eight chapter members and volunteers were able to attend the Game and Fish Commission meeting on Sept. 12. They spoke passionately about continuing the longstanding tradition of hunting access at these locations.
“This land was originally donated so that the public would have a place to hunt,” said Patrick Lambakis, co-chair for the Delta’s Oklahoma Chapter. “We have a longstanding tradition of waterfowl hunting there, and hundreds of people rely on these places every season.”
Both Stinchcomb and Lake Stanley Draper play a vital role not only in providing quality access for duck hunters near downtown Oklahoma City, but also in providing the Oklahoma Chapter with a place to hold youth hunts and mentor the next generation of hunters.
“Our members and volunteers are some of the most passionate waterfowl hunters in North America, and this is a prime example of how Delta’s staff works collaboratively with our boots on the ground all across the country on issues just like this to protect the interests of duck hunters,” said Cyrus Baird, senior director of government affairs for Delta Waterfowl. “Hunters have dealt with drought issues here for years and know that water comes and goes, but shutting down hunting access wasn’t the right move here.”
Ultimately, the Game and Fish Commission voted 8-0 to keep the blind draw and allow hunting this season. The draw will take place at Lake Draper Marina on Sept. 24. Hunting permits for seasonal waterfowl hunting at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and Lake Stanley Draper are required for all hunters ages 18 and older. Annual permits are $12.50 and remain valid for one year.
Download Delta’s Duck Hunters Action Alert System today and you could help save your community’s hunt too!