Oklahoma WCC Expands Deer Hunting Opportunities
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission passed several hunting and fishing regulation changes at its regular meeting March 10th, particularly some deer hunting regulation changes aimed at improving Oklahoma's deer herd while providing additional hunting opportunities for antlerless deer.
Specific deer hunting regulation changes include the following:
- * Archery hunters will be allowed to harvest a deer of either sex during the period of Jan. 1 to Jan. 15.
- * The bag limit for archery season was increased from four to six deer.
- * Legal firearms for muzzleloading season were redefined by allowing the current technology of electronic ignition and future technological changes for muzzleloading firearms to be legal for deer, provided the firearm is loaded from the muzzle and uses a powder and bullet set-up.
- * Deer gun season on Honobia Creek, Three Rivers, Ouachita and Broken Bow Wildlife Management Areas were opened to same as statewide season dates.
The Commission voted 5-2 to reject one item in the list of hunting-related proposals, which would have allowed those persons certified to use crossbows to use a device that permits a regular bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw.
"These changes expand deer hunting opportunities in many ways, but they also serve to help manage the state's deer herd," said Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department.
The Commission approved several other items at the regular meeting regarding nuisance wildlife control and feral hog nuisance and depredation rules. Approved amendments are as follows:
- * An existing emergency rule regarding the poisoning of prairie dogs on public land was made permanent.
- * Prior to shooting beavers at night, it will be a requirement that the game warden for that county be notified.
- * Rules were established for issuing permits to landowners, lessees or their designated agents and to any entity of local government to control nuisance wildlife or feral hogs as authorized in statute (29:4-135.). The issuance of the permit was streamlined by allowing the area game warden or wildlife employee to immediately respond to a complaint and, upon verification of the problem, issue a permit immediately for an appropriate time period up to one year. The change also allows for the person doing the authorized control work to sell coyotes and beaver with proper documentation.
- * Restrictions were tightened on the possession, importation, culture, sale or use of invasive Asian carp and blueback herring.
- * The Commission will be allowed to add or delete aquatic plants from the "Species to Watch" list.
In other business, the Commission recognized Gene Pester, game warden supervisor, and Arthur Joe Young, also a game warden supervisor, for 35 years of service to the Wildlife Department. Additionally, Jimmy Foster, communications manager, and Steve Webber, information specialist, were both recognized for 20 years of service.
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 set for 9 a.m. April 1 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.