Oklahoma 2007 Deer Hunting Regulations

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The 2007 Oklahoma deer hunting regulations have now been approved by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, and officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say both deer and sportsmen will reap the benefits of changes adopted for this year.

Changes to the state's combined season deer limits, youth seasons and antlerless deer hunting opportunities were among the most significant items approved Monday at the meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The annual combined season limit of six deer will not change, but the number of antlered deer allowed in that total has been reduced from three to two.

"This change is a good step toward improving the structure of our deer herd," said Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Department. "A better age structure translates to a healthier population overall."

Also new for 2007, antlerless deer hunting zones in most of the state (antlerless deer zones 2-9) will be open to antlerless hunting every day during muzzleloader season (Oct. 27-Nov. 4) and gun season (Nov. 17-Dec. 2). Areas in antlerless harvest zone one, which includes most of the Panhandle, will be open to antlerless hunting Nov. 17 and Dec. 2 during gun season. Zone 10, which includes southeast Oklahoma, will be open to antlerless hunting Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 2-4 during muzzleloader season and Nov. 17, 24 and Dec. 2 during gun season.

Also new this year, hunters in zone two, which includes much of northwest and north central Oklahoma, will be allowed to harvest two does during muzzleloader and gun seasons. For a map showing the state's antlerless deer harvest zones, consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting guide."

The special antlerless deer season will be open in most areas of the state Dec. 21-23 and Dec. 28-30. Hunters in the central, southwest and northeast portions of Oklahoma previously enjoyed only three days during the special antlerless deer season. For specific areas open to the special antlerless deer season, consult the "Oklahoma Hunting Guide."

"Additional doe days, more generous bag limits during muzzleloader and gun seasons and opening up the special antlerless deer season for more days in more areas means more chances to go hunting," Peoples said. "If hunters take advantage of this, our deer herd will benefit because the health of the herd and our buck-to-doe ratios will continue to improve."

Also new for 2007, youth hunting in the youth gun season will be allowed to take a buck, unlike in years past when only antlerless deer were permitted. Another change made to benefit youth hunters will allow anyone under 16 years old who has successfully completed the Department's Hunter Education course to participate in the state's Controlled Hunts for youth. Previously, Controlled Hunts for youth were limited to youth ages 12-14. Look for Controlled Hunts information on the Department's Website at wildlifedepartment.com around April 1.

"These changes are good for Oklahoma," said Peoples. "They offer many additional ways that deer hunters can share their heritage with family and friends while helping improve our deer herd, too."

The "2007-08 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" listing the new changes will be available this summer.

The new regulations must now pass through the legislative process and be signed by the governor. Look for complete details in the next Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Guides.

The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department, and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The next scheduled Commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 2 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.