Deer Hunters Experience Another Great Year

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Once again, Oklahoma deer hunters during the 2003-04 season had an excellent harvest.

After tallying harvest totals from both muzzleloader and gun deer seasons, along with the early and late archery seasons, personnel from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recorded a final harvest total 100,602 deer. The total is a small increase from last year’s harvest of 98,581.

"It was another great year for deer hunters in Oklahoma," said Mike Shaw, the Department's research supervisor. "We witnessed pretty much what we expected regarding the new 16-day deer gun season. The peak activity took place during the first few days and the last few days of the season."

Like last year, Osage County yielded the highest county total with 4,981 deer harvested. Next in line was Cherokee County with 3,574 deer harvested followed by Pittsburg County with 2,687.

Hunters took 42,988 does during the 2003 seasons. Antlerless deer accounted for 43 percent of the total harvest, a proportion nearly identical to the 2002 seasons.

“We would always like to see a little higher doe harvest, but I am glad to see that hunters are placing an emphasis on harvesting does. This will really benefit the population in the long term,” Shaw said.

Muzzleloader hunters took 24,176 deer in 2003, compared to 24,479 in 2002. Bowhunters took 13,326 deer, compared to 14,278 in 2002.