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Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Scraps Proposal to Lengthen Deer Gun Season


Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will not recommend adding a week to the deer gun season — making it 23 days instead of the present 16 days – to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. The proposal was under consideration during the agency's annual review of regulations. Deer hunters were divided on the issue and the Wildlife Department is withdrawing the proposal.

In response to public comments regarding increasing deer gun season to 23 days, the staff is proposing withdrawing it at this time, keeping deer gun season at 16 days. Instead a proposal was submitted to allow the Commission by resolution to extend the holiday antlerless season and to increase antlerless deer bag limits for muzzleloader and gun season within certain zones where additional antlerless deer harvest is needed.

Bill Dinkines, head of the wildlife division for the Wildlife Department, said on Friday that the agency received the most public comments it ever has on the proposal to extend deer gun season. The agency is now looking at other ways to increase the antleress harvest "across the state where we need it" instead of adding seven more days to deer gun season.

"We are not talking about buck changes at all," Dinkines said. "A balanced herd is a healthy herd and right now around 36 percent of the total harvest is antlerless deer. There are places we may need it up to 50 percent right now because we are not keeping up."

On the fishing side, the Wildlife Department is proposing reducing the daily trout limit on the Lower Mountain Fork River in southeastern Oklahoma from six to three and increasing the minimum length limit on rainbow and brown trout.

"We are trying to reduce our trout costs," said Barry Bolton, head of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. "The costs continue to go up. We got to do something. We are not getting additions to the budget."

The Wildlife Department buys hatchery-raised trout and puts them in Oklahoma rivers and lakes for fishing. The Lower Mountain Fork is Oklahoma's most popular trout stream.


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