Oklahoma Deer Archery Season Just Days Away

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Coming off a near-record setting archery season last year, deer hunters are looking forward to the possibilities of another great bow season when hunters take to the woods October 1.

"Deer movement has begun to pick up over the last couple of weeks. Despite the drought conditions, the deer herd appears to be in good shape across most of the state," said Mike Shaw, wildlife research supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "With the dry conditions we've been experiencing it will likely be more important than ever for deer hunters to spend time scouting this year."

During the 2005 archery deer season, bowhunters harvested 14,624 whitetail deer, just 15 deer shy of the record set in 2004. The archery harvest was 14 percent of the total deer harvest.

"As a result of drought, deer may be moving more to find food and when deer are moving more it makes it them more visible," said Alan Peoples, wildlife chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "I've heard some hunters say that they think ag fields and producing acorn trees could be especially effective this year in hunting deer. In fact, I just talked to a hunter who was very excited because he had located an oak tree that was loaded with acorns and it was the only one around. Needless to say, he is expecting some great early season action."

Running from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15, deer archery season offers more than 100 days of hunting. The first of Oklahoma's big game seasons, the archery deer season attracted 82,635 Oklahoma hunters last year.

As a bonus turkey archery season also opens on the same day as deer archery season. Hunters who purchase a fall turkey license will be ready to take advantage of the situation if a turkey happens to walk by their tree stand. Archers should remember that turkeys may not be hunted within 100 yards of bait.

With few exceptions, the majority of Oklahoma's more than 75 public wildlife management areas are open to deer archery hunters for all or part of the season. For more information about the areas, log on to wildlifedepartment.com, where you can review regulations, view aerial maps, purchase a license and more.

Oklahomans must have an annual hunting or combination license, lifetime hunting or lifetime combination license, disabled veteran's lifetime license, senior citizen hunting or senior citizen combination license or proof of exemption. In addition, hunters must possess a deer archery license for each deer hunted, or proof of exemption.

Unless exempt, hunters must also possess a fishing and hunting legacy permit.

All nonresident deer hunters must possess a nonresident deer archery license for each deer hunted or proof of exemption. Holders of nonresident lifetime hunting and lifetime combination licenses are not exempt from purchasing deer licenses. Nonresident deer hunters are exempt from purchasing an annual nonresident hunting license. Nonresident hunters must also possess a fishing and hunting legacy permit unless exempt.

Upon successfully harvesting a deer, all license holders, including lifetime license holders, must immediately attach their name and license number to the carcass. What the hunter attaches can be anything, as long as it contains the hunter's name and hunting license number and remains securely attached to the animal until it is checked at a hunter check station or with an authorized Wildlife Department employee.

Annual license holders, upon harvesting a deer, must complete the Record of Game section on the back of the universal license. The information must be recorded on the license form prior to moving or field dressing the animal. To do this they must tear out one of the notches on the license and print in ink the time, date, type of game and method of harvest on the notched line in the appropriate columns. Lifetime license holders are not required to complete the Record of Game section on the back of the universal license.

All successful hunters must check their deer at the nearest hunter check station. A county by county listing of hunter check stations is provided in this year's hunting guide and the most up-to-date check station listing is available at wildlifedepartment.com.

Hunting hours during deer archery season are one-half hour before official sunrise to one-half hour after official sunset.

For additional regulations, check station locations, season dates and a wealth of other information be sure to pick up a copy of the "2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" available at all license dealer locations or log on to the Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.