June 17, 2008

Okie Swamp Monsters Wanted

By Sam Powell, Tulsa World, Okla.

Jun. 17--A LITTLE BIT a bout a lot, again, while wondering when it's going to stop storming and raining.

Got one of those increasingly popular trail cameras? Those are devices more and more sportsmen, landowners and lease holders are using to survey the wildlife on their particular areas. The better models take superlative images, or even video, to really show what's going on 24/7 on a wildlife trail and around feeders or watering holes.

Now there's a chance for one of those trail cameras to shoot a picture which could be worth a million dollars.

Field and Stream magazine and Bushnell Outdoor Products want you to find Sasquatch or Bigfoot or Yeti, or whatever you might call that mythical creature -- and take his photo. The contest is open to anyone 18 years or older within the United States, who can provide conclusive photographic evidence that this creature exits. The photo or video must be taken with a trail camera and must be submitted to a panel of experts for verification. The Bigfoot Sweepstakes runs through Dec. 15, and all the details may be obtained at www.fstrailcamcontest.com.

While most folks assume this could only happen in some remote wilderness

region of the northwest, we've had our own Bigfoot stories right in this country. I wrote several articles about 30 years ago concerning reports of sightings of some type of ape-like creature in the swamps around extreme southeast Oklahoma and into the Louisiana-Arkansas corner. I'll be very surprised if some jokers don't try to fool the experts with a gorilla-suit disguise.

Grand bear: But speaking of wildlife sightings, there have been two black bears seen in the neighborhood of heavily-populated Grand Lake this summer. The free weekly newspaper, "Grand Lake Chronicles," featured a photo last week of a large, brown-phased bear at a feeder. The photo was taken by Abe Weaver of Gran Tara, and the bears have also been spotted in the Monkey Island region. This is unusual, but certainly not unheard of, as we have a growing black bear population in extreme southeastern counties. It's usually the young male bears which sometimes roam far out of their normal range at this time of year.

Camping fees: Just like seemingly everything in today's world, the cost of camping in Oklahoma is going up this summer. Beginning Monday, the base rate for all campsites in state parks was raised to $10, from what had been $8 at most sites.

Camping in an Oklahoma state park is still one of the very best deals going in this summer of sky-rocketing gas prices.

We'll have some tips on good, interesting local camping spots in the next week or so.

Women's fishing: The Women's Bassmaster Tour makes a stop this week on Old Hickory Lake, just east of the Nashville, Tenn., area.

The tournament opens Thursday and runs through Saturday, with the winner taking home $51,000.

Several local anglers compete in these events. Muskogee's Sheri Glasgow was angler of the year last season.


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