Oklahoma Changes Hunting License Structure

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Some changes to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's hunting and fishing license structure will affect the way some sportsmen choose the licenses they need in 2011.

At its January meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission did not have a quorum and no actions were taken. The Commission did hear several presentations, however, including one from Melinda Sturgess-Streich, assistant director of administration and finance, detailing license changes that became effective Jan. 1, 2011.

Particularly impacted by the new slate of changes are senior citizens, military personnel, non-resident sportsmen, trout anglers, wildlife management area users who are not hunting and fishing license holders and sportsmen whose favorite hunting seasons are still open at the start of a new year.

Among the changes is one that impacts the price and terms of senior citizen lifetime hunting, fishing and combination licenses. The new prices are $15 for a senior citizen lifetime fishing or hunting license and $25 for a senior citizen lifetime combination license. Additionally, senior citizen lifetime licenses now include increased privileges equal to that of regular lifetime licenses.

License changes for military personnel have taken place as well. All active military personnel and their dependents, regardless of their state residency, can now purchase hunting and fishing licenses at resident prices.

License changes for nonresidents include the elimination of non-resident lifetime licenses as well as a simplification of nonresident deer licenses. Nonresident deer hunters now can choose between a nonresident deer archery license, a nonresident deer muzzleloader license or a nonresident deer gun license. Each license is $280 and is valid for all of the allowed deer for that method. The overall combined limit of six deer (to include no more than two bucks) remains unchanged, and all other nonresident deer licenses are no longer available. Nonresident anglers also must now purchase a $55 nonresident annual fishing license or a $35 nonresident six-day fishing license.

Other significant license changes now in place include one that eliminates the separate trout license once required during trout season.

The new $26 Wildlife Conservation Passport also is now required of all residents or nonresidents who enter or use Department-owned lands, unless exempt. Individuals who possess any current hunting or fishing license issued by the Wildlife Department are exempt from Conservation Passport requirements, except holders of the resident two-day fishing license and the nonresident six-day fishing license must still purchase the Wildlife Conservation Passport. Additionally, residents under 18 years of age are exempt from Conservation Passport requirements. The Conservation Passport replaces the Blue River Passport once required on the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.

Additionally, sportsmen now have the option of purchasing a fiscal year hunting or combination license that expires June 30, rather than only having the option of a calendar year license that expires Dec. 31. The cost of the fiscal year licenses are $53 for a combination license, $32 for a hunting license, $19 for a youth combination license, $7 for a youth hunting license and $176 for a nonresident hunting license.

Other license changes new for 2011, including a number of discontinued licenses, can be viewed along with a complete listing in the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide" and "Oklahoma Fishing Guide."