Oklahoma Deer Muzzleloader Season About to Start

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While deer archery hunters are already afield hunting, hunters await the opening of the 2009 deer muzzleloader season slated for Oct. 24 - Nov. 1.

Muzzleloader season spans nine days (Oct. 24 - Nov. 1). The modern gun season opens Nov. 21 and runs for 16 days. Archery season remains open through Jan. 15, 2010.

Deer call every part of Oklahoma, whether it be in wide-open prairie or pine-covered mountains, and several wildlife management areas across the state offer hunting for at least part of the muzzleloader season, some through special draw hunts that give sportsmen a unique opportunity to change up their usual hunting routine.

To learn more about deer hunting on wildlife management areas, consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log on to wildlifedepartment.com. The Web site offers regulations, useful hunting information and an award-winning digital wildlife management area atlas. And best of all, it is free. In addition to detailed maps, sportsmen can find information such as camping locations and contacts for local biologists.

"Scouting and preparing is the best way to improve your odds at harvesting deer with a muzzleloader," said Jerry Shaw, big game biologist for the Wildlife Department.

During muzzleloader season, hunters can harvest a buck and two antlerless deer (as long as one comes from zone 2), and most of the state is open to antlerless hunting every day during the season. Resident muzzleloader hunters must possess an appropriate hunting license and, if their license was purchases prior to July 1, a fishing and hunting legacy permit. Additionally, they must possess a deer license for each deer harvested. If a hunter harvests two antlerless deer, at least one of those antlerless deer must be taken in antlerless zone 2, 7 or 8 (consult page 21 of the current ÔÇťOklahoma Hunting Guide for a map of antlerless zones). Nonresident muzzleloader hunters must also carry a nonresident deer muzzleloader license for each deer harvested. However, nonresidents are exempt from the purchase of a hunting license while hunting deer.

Hunters can harvest a turkey with their muzzleloaders Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in most of the state. A fall turkey license is required, unless exempt. Turkey fall gun season runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 20, and details on the season are available in the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide."

Hunters age 10-35 who have not completed hunter education can buy an apprentice-designated hunting license and hunt while accompanied by a licensed hunter 21 years old or older who has completed the hunter education course, or a licensed hunter 21 years old or older who is otherwise exempt from hunter education (includes those 36 years old or older, those honorably discharged or currently active in the Armed Forces or members of the National Guard). Hunters under 10 years old must complete a hunter education course to hunt big game or to buy any big game hunting license.

For specific information regarding which areas are open to muzzleloader season, licenses, bag limits, blaze orange clothing requirements or legal firearms, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting Guide or log onto wildlifedepartment.com.