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Mike Porter News

Mourning Dove Abundance Can Be Managed

Mourning dove is the most abundant dove species, the most abundant game bird and one of the most abundant songbirds in southern Oklahoma and north Texas. Many people enjoy watching, feeding, photographing and hunting mourning dove. Yet, it is surprising how few landowners and land managers manage for dove.

Conserving roost sites helps maintain Rio Grande turkey

Fall and winter roost habitat may be the most critical and limited Rio Grande turkey habitat. Wild turkeys roost in relatively tall, mature trees with large crowns, spreading horizontal branches, and relatively few woody plants and tall herbaceous plants under their canopies.

Drip torches facilitate effective prescribed burns

If I could have only four tools to conduct prescribed burns or fight wildfires, they would be matches, a drip torch, an accurate weather forecast and a power sprayer with a water tank transported by a vehicle.

Depth, watershed considerations guide pond design

Two characteristics that should be considered before constructing a new pond are depth and watershed.

Spike buck culling seldom provides benefits

It depends, but in most situations with white-tailed deer, the answer is no. Here's why.

Aquatic Vegetation in Ponds

Whether aquatic vegetation causes problems or not depends on the goals for the pond, the types of vegetation present, and the amounts of vegetation present. For most pond goals, it is very desirable to have some aquatic vegetation present.

What Is White-Tailed Deer Habitat?

Quality deer habitat includes a mixture of trees, shrubs, vines, forbs, grasses and other plants such as fungi and sedges. Certain plants within each of these categories benefit deer more than others.

Learn to Recognize Venomous Snakes

Of the 46 species of snakes native to Oklahoma, only seven are venomous to humans. If you learn to identify the seven venomous species, then you will recognize other Oklahoma snakes as not dangerous, even though you may not be able to identify the species.

Filamentous Algae

Filamentous algae are a common concern among pond owners. Sometimes referred to as pond scum or incorrectly as moss, filamentous algae include hundreds of species; many are true algae, while several are cyanobacteria.

Panel-Type Parallel-Bar Fish Barriers

A parallel-bar barrier is probably the best option to prevent adult fish passage through spillways. Parallel-bar barriers are especially important for ponds stocked with grass carp.

How to Conduct a Prescribed Burn

Burning, grazing, and rest are generally the most powerful tools for managing local wildlife habitats. It may seem simple to light a match, stock some cattle, or erect a fence, but accomplishing specific habitat management goals with these tools requires considerable study and management. This article addresses some fundamentals of prescribed burning.

Green Fireguards

A green fireguard can be a useful alternative to a bare soil fireguard or other types of fireguards. A green fireguard is managed to promote green vegetation and to minimize mulch.

Duck abundance depends on impoundment traits

Characteristics and management of a pond or marsh influence its ability to attract migratory ducks.

Box Type Parallel Bar Barrier

It functions as a trash guard that prevents large debris from flowing into and plugging a pond's overflow pipe. It deters beavers from plugging the overflow pipe. Such a barrier prevents grass carp larger than eight inches and adult game fish from leaving a pond through the overflow pipe.

Few spiders pose serious health risks to people

Of the approximately 3,500 species of spiders identified in the U.S. and Canada, no more than 21 species pose serious health risks to people.

Controlling Aquatic Vegetation with Grass Carp

In many situations, the use of grass carp is an economical, long lasting, and effective option. However, grass carp are not appropriate for every pond. Whether grass carp should be stocked in a pond or not, depends on the goals for the pond.

A Secchi Disk is Used to Measure Water Clarity

Standardized measurement of water clarity helps monitor changes that can affect production of fish and aquatic plants, and a Secchi disk is a simple, standard tool used to measure clarity.

Management increases chance for trophy bucks

Most deer hunters, including me, are fascinated with large antlers. We generally want to see or harvest bucks with large antlers. "Trophy buck" is commonly used to describe a buck with large antlers; however, trophy buck means different things to different people.

Nature manages native plant communities

Several things drive native plant communities: sunlight, soils, water, herbivory, fire and rest. We could learn a few things by paying attention.

Hog sounder size should determine trap choice

Trapping probably is the most effective feral hog control technique available to most land managers.

One Buck Limit

Isn't it time for white-tailed deer hunters to progress to the next level? I believe deer hunters can evolve and progress like most largemouth bass fishermen evolved and progressed.

Move coarse, volatile fuels away from firebreaks

Coarse and volatile fuels cause problems when located too close to firebreaks during prescribed burns. Coarse fuels are woody materials that burn for a relatively long time, such as brush piles, snags, logs or stumps.

Food Choice Plays Key Role in Attracting Migratory Ducks

An understanding of duck food preferences is important when managing impoundments and wetlands to attract migratory ducks. Dabbling ducks and wood ducks are the focus of most duck hunters and duck habitat managers in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.

White-tailed deer managers should focus on three concepts

Limited progress occurs when managers of free-ranging deer focus on superficial issues.

White-tailed Deer Antler Score: A Pictorial Presentation

From a hunting and economic perspective, white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, is the most important wildlife species in the eastern half of the U.S. More landowners and hunters in this region...

Seine Sampling a Pond

This article was revised in 2005. Seine sampling a pond is a relatively easy way to learn quite a bit about fish, amphibian and invertebrate populations in a pond. Anyone willing to get wet and learn...

Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

The eastern bluebird is perhaps one of the better known songbirds in Oklahoma. The male has a bright blue back, reddish chest and white belly. The female is somewhat duller in appearance. The...

Livestock Water Access Point in Pond Fence

Diagram of a pond fence with a livestock water access point. View Publication

Equipment and Labor Needs for Prescribed Burning

Equipment and labor needs for prescribed burning are misunderstood by some people. The equipment and labor truly needed for a prescribed burn depend upon the burn plan and the burn site. The most...

The Eight Point Rule

This article was revised in 2007. The eight point rule is the primary harvest strategy of some managers trying to increase buck antler size. Managers using the eight point rule allow harvest of bucks...

Sealing Leaky Ponds

This article was revised in 2006. Sealing leaky ponds is a challenge confronting some pond managers. In many situations, leaky ponds can be prevented by simply examining the local soil survey book...

Crappie

This article was revised in 2006. Crappie are an excellent tasting sunfish that are sometimes stocked into ponds. Two species of crappie occur in Oklahoma and Texas. White crappie usually have six...

Pros and Cons of Burning

This article was revised in 2006. Fire can be a wonderfully useful and flexible land management tool. So why don't more people use it? Why do so many people think fire is generally bad? Probably...

Florida Largemouth Bass in Small Impoundments

Many pond owners in Oklahoma are interested in Florida largemouth bass because they tend to grow larger than northern largemouth bass (Figure 1). During the 1970s and early 1980s, fisheries...

Grass Carp Is an Option to Control Aquatic Plants

Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) is native to eastern Asia and has been introduced to North America for controlling aquatic plants in impoundments. With unlimited food, it can grow relatively...

Selecting Land to Optimize Wildlife Goals

Although most tracts of land offer wildlife management opportunities, wildlife goals are more easily attained on some properties than others. Consider native plant communities, habitat, surrounding area and property size.

How to Properly Stock and Manage Channel Catfish

Channel catfish is one of the three most commonly stocked fish species in Southern Great Plains (largemouth bass and bluegill are the others). Properly managed channel catfish provides an enjoyable sport fishery with relatively predictable results.

Seine Surveys Provide Insights About Fish Populations

A seine survey is a relatively easy way to learn about fish populations in impoundments and streams and to help improvement management decisions.

How to Manage Fields for Attracting Mourning Dove

How to grow and manage crop seeds or native/naturalized seeds in fields to attract mourning dove and similar game bird species for hunting.

3 Ways to Attract More Ducks to Your Pond

To attract more ducks to your pond, manage for clearer water, less disturbance and more duck food.

Think Before Putting Fish, Plants, Water and More in a Pond

Inappropriate organisms, or the microscopic hitchhikers on them, intentionally released in associated water or on equipment can create havoc in a pond, such as harming desired fish populations, introducing diseases or establishing invasive species.

Grilled: Another Way to Cook Fish

Some like it fried, but Noble Research Institute senior wildlife and fisheries consultant Mike Porter prefers several fish — freshwater and saltwater — grilled to perfection using this recipe.

Adequate Plant Cover Is Necessary for Good Water Quality

Good plant cover helps stabilize the soil and prevent soil from polluting water.

Pros and Cons of Burning

Fire is an important natural ecological process in many ecosystems. In this article we'll look at the pros and cons of using prescribed fire for land stewardship.

Top 5 Considerations for Increasing Wildlife Diversity

Ranchers should focus their land management decisions on the following five considerations to produce the most diverse wildlife populations.

Exclosures for Preventing Beaver Damage

Exclosures provide an effective means to prevent beavers from plugging pond overflow pipes and cutting individual trees.

Floating Polyethylene Pipe for Livestock Water Access at a Fenced Pond

Diagram of a polyethylene pipe floating livestock water access point. View Publication

Funnel Trap Fish Survey

Funnel trapping provides useful information about fish species present in a pond and likely provides the best option for pond managers to evaluate the presence and abundance of small catfish such as bullheads.

Hook and Line Fish Sampling

This article was revised in 2005. Hook and line fish sampling combined with summer seine sampling can tell a pond manager quite a bit about the fishery in a pond (seine sampling is described in a...

Snakes of Oklahoma

In this educational video, Mike Porter discusses characteristics of some of the most common snakes found in Oklahoma, with a special emphasis on species living in the south-central part of the state. Porter shows photos and gives tips to recognize many species as well as visual clues to help differentiate venomous and non-venomous snakes.

Pond Fencing

Pond fencing helps reduce erosion and improve water quality where livestock create bare banks and trails along a pond. A pond fence should protect all of a dam, the initial portion of a spillway, a portion of the incoming waterway(s), and most if not all of the shoreline.

Rock Weirs and Flumes Can Prevent Erosion

Rock weirs and flumes are effective options for preventing gully or ditch formation and for stopping the growth of existing gullies or ditches.

Rotenone Can Remove Undesirable Fish From a Pond

Humans have been using rotenone for centuries to harvest fish and manipulate fish communities.