Big Game Report Available

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The final numbers have been crunched and the data has been analyzed. Last year's harvest statistics reflect the fact that once again Oklahoma big game hunters had an outstanding year.

Hunters can find just about everything they want know about last year's Oklahoma big game seasons in the 2002 Big Game Report, which is part of the September/October issue of "Outdoor Oklahoma," the official bi-monthly magazine of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. In 2001 sportsmen harvested 101,635 deer, just under the previous year's record of 102,100. The report also outlines where and how the big bucks were harvested.

"The Big Game Report is a great resource for hunters," said Nels Rodefeld, editor of "Outdoor Oklahoma." "It contains a lot of good information that hunters can use as they prepare for the fall hunting seasons and from all indications, this year looks like it will be a great one for deer hunters."

Also included within the Big Game Report is a special feature addressing Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurological disease that affects deer and elk, but has never been shown to be transmitted to humans.

"The take-home message is that venison is safe to eat and CWD has not been found in Oklahoma's wild deer herd," Rodefeld said.

Also detailed in the feature are the steps the Wildlife Department is taking to ensure the long-term health of the state's deer herd.

"The Wildlife Department and the Department of Agriculture have been testing hunter-harvested deer and elk for three years and have not found any sign of it. A captive elk herd in Oklahoma County had it, but was recently destroyed," Rodefeld said. "It's always a good idea for sportsmen to educate themselves and this is especially the case with CWD."

Copies of 2002 Big Game Report can be purchased for $3 at Wildlife Department headquarters at the corner of 18th and Lincoln in the state capitol complex. Subscriptions are only $10 per year and can be purchased at any hunting or fishing license vendor or by calling 1-800-777-0019.