Oklahoma Free Hunting Days Sept. 6 & 7

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Whether hunters use a desk calendar, a Blackberry or a Post-it note to keep track of their schedules, they will want to write down several key upcoming season dates.

Dove season kicks off the fall hunting seasons on Sept. 1. The first full weekend of September (Sept. 6-7) marks Oklahoma's Free Hunting Days, and Oklahoma residents do not need a hunting license, fishing and hunting legacy permit or HIP permit to go afield. The southwest zone will be open again this year as well. The season for the southwest zone is the same as the statewide season — Sept. 1 - Oct. 30 — but also Dec. 27 – Jan. 5.

As a bonus, the resident goose season (Sept. 1-10) opens the same day as dove season. Sportsmen in the right place could have the chance at bagging both game birds in the same day.

Bluewing and greenwing teal are the first ducks to migrate through Oklahoma. Large migrations can occur through the state as the days grow shorter and northern cool fronts give hunters the first taste of fall. Hunters will have the opportunity to pursue the small birds Sept. 13-28 as they migrate southward on their traditional journey to wintering grounds in Mexico and Central and South America.

Oct. 1 is a big day for archery hunters because it marks the first of 107 straight days of opportunities to bag whitetail and wild turkey with a bow and arrow. Thousands of archers will head for the woods on the first full weekend of the season (Oct. 4-5) each hoping that this is their lucky year.

Hunters should mark Oct. 17-19 on their calendars if they have a youth in the family. Youth under the age of 18 will have the chance to take a buck and a doe during the youth deer gun season.

Muzzleloader hunters will get their first chance on Oct. 25 and will have nine days of hunting to take up to three deer in certain areas. Deer hunters in southeast Oklahoma (zone 10) should note that the dates for antlerless deer hunting opportunities were printed incorrectly in the "Oklahoma Hunting Guide." The deer muzzleloader season runs Oct. 25-Nov. 2, and antlerless deer may be taken Oct. 25 through Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 in zone 10, which includes all or portions of Atoka, Bryan, Pittsburg, Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, Pushmataha, McCurtain and Choctaw counties.

Running Nov. 8 through Feb. 15, quail season is much anticipated both by Oklahomans and non-residents. Oklahoma regularly ranks among the top three quail hunting states in terms of both quail populations and hunter success, and Oklahoma promises to be a major destination for bird hunters again this year.

The granddaddy of Oklahoma hunting seasons, deer gun season, traditionally kicks off the weekend before Thanksgiving and this year is no different. Over 150,000 hunters will take to the woods for the Nov. 22 opener. The season runs through Dec. 7, and up to three deer can be taken in certain areas.

For more information about Oklahoma's hunting seasons log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com.