Public hearings held by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will kick off across the state Monday Jan. 7, 2008, to collect input on a slate of proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes. Hearings will be held through Jan. 10.
Sportsmen are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions on proposals, which range from certain deer hunting regulation changes to changes in size and daily limits on some fish.
Several of the proposals involve adjustments to deer seasons and deer bag limits both statewide and in designated areas. Specifically, one proposal would allow deer archery hunters to harvest a deer of either sex during the period from Jan. 1-15. Currently, only antlerless deer may be taken during that time period. Also involving deer archery season is a proposal to increase the number of deer that can be harvested by archers from four deer to six deer. Another proposal would open deer gun season to the same as statewide season dates on Broken Bow, Honobia Creek, Three Rivers and Ouachita wildlife management areas.
Among the fishing-related proposals is one to exempt spotted bass from length limits and to remove the bag limit on spotted bass statewide, except in certain streams. Another proposal would limit the harvest of alligator gar to one fish per angler per day statewide, except from April 1 - June 15, when fishing for alligator gar would be catch and release only.
Other fishing-related items are on the public hearing agenda as well, such as tightening restrictions on dealing with invasive aquatic species, adjusting definitions related to limbline angling and making permanent a currently established emergency rule requiring paddlefish anglers to carry a free paddlefish permit.
Other hunting-related proposals include the following:
A slate of other wildlife, hunting and fishing-related items will be open for discussion during the public hearings across the state, including allowing the use of poison to control prairie dogs on public land, establishing rules regarding the nuisance control programs for beaver and coyote and the Feral Hog Depredation Program and others. To view the complete agenda for the public hearings, log on to wildlifedepartment.com .
Those unable to attend the hearings are encouraged to send their comments by mail to: Attn: Proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes – Wildlife Department, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. All comments are weighted equally whether received in writing or delivered at the public hearings. Comments will be accepted at this address until 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25.
The following is a list of public hearing dates, times and locations. The public is encouraged to attend.