Hunting in Oklahoma
is often a family affair, taking up much of the fall, winter, and spring months. Originally a necessary survival tool, hunting is now seen primarily as a sport. As with all sports, hunting carries its own rules and regulations participants must abide under penalty of law.
To hunt in Oklahoma you must first obtain a Hunting License through the local Oklahoma Wildlife Department. There are several types of Oklahoma hunting licenses available, ranging from small, 3-day passes to lifetime permits. An Oklahoma residential yearly Hunting License is $20. However, this licenses only covers small game. Big game hunters (such as deer) will need additional licenses and/or permits.
In Deer hunting, for example, there are separate permits needed for primitive firearms, archery, etc. types of hunting. These permits break up even further by antlered and anterless deer. Each permit only allows one deer per hunter. These permits run about $20.
Other types of permits needed in conjunction with a hunting license are for turkey, sandhill crane, and rattlesnake, among others. These are all under $20.
In addition, the Oklahoma Wildlife Department also requires all hunters to obtain a Fishing & Hunting Legacy Permit for $5.00 every year.
As you can see, obtaining an Oklahoma hunting license can be quite expensive. Many residents often choose to buy a Lifetime Hunting License. The current price for a Lifetime Hunting License is $625.00 (or $225.00 for those over 60). Combination hunting/fishing licenses are also available. Although some additional permits would be needed every year, a lifetime hunting license can be an eventual cost-saver to Oklahoma hunters. It also includes a Lifetime Fishing & Hunting Legacy Permit.
Oklahoma also requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1971, to complete a hunter education course in order to obtain an Oklahoma Hunting License. A typical hunter education course covers firearms safety, wildlife identification, conservation and management, water safety, survival, archery, muzzle loading and hunter responsibility.
All youth’s under 16 are excluded during deer archery season, small game seasons, upland game seasons, turkey seasons, and migratory bird seasons.
Hunters can purchase and/or download applications for all licenses and permits on the Oklahoma Wildlife Department’s website at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
There are eleven hunting season in Oklahoma, giving hunters several opportunities in which to hunt. Listed below are the hunting seasons for 2005-2006. Although some of the dates change year by year, it is generally only by a day or so. As you can see, there are several restrictions within each season.
The archery deer season runs from Oct 1 through Jan 15.
The muzzle loading firearms season opens on the fourth Saturday in October and runs for nine days. The deer gun season opens the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs for 16 days.
ARCHERY: Oct. 1 – 2005 -Jan. 15, 2006 (Jan. 1-15, 2006, Antlerless only)
MUZZLELOADING FIREARMS: Oct. 22 – 30, 2005 (Antlerless days vary by zone)
GUN: Nov. 19 – Dec. 4, 2005 (Antlerless days vary by zone)
YOUTH ANTLERLESS DEER GUN: Oct 14-16, 2005
SPECIAL ANTLERLESS SEASON: Dec. 16-18 & Dec. 30 – Jan. 1 (Open only in certain zones). Consult the 2005-2006 Oklahoma Hunting Guide for dates and zones.
DOVE: Sept. 1, 2005 – Oct. 30, 2005
CROW: Oct. 10 – Nov. 16, 2005 and Dec. 9, 2005 – Mar. 4, 2006; statewide
RABBIT: Cottontail & Swamp Oct. 1, 2005 – Mar. 15, 2006 Jackrabbit Oct. 1, 2005 – Mar. 15, 2006 (west of I-35 only). There is no open season on jackrabbits east of I-35.
WILD TURKEY: Check regulations pertaining to individual counties. Fall 2005:
Gun: Oct. 29 – Nov. 18; open only in select counties. Archery: Oct 1, 2005 – Jan. 15, 2006 Spring 2006: April 6- May 6, 2006; Statewide
QUAIL: Nov. 12, 2005 – Feb. 15, 2006; statewide
PHEASANT: Only designated areas (see Oklahoma Hunting Guide for counties)- Dec. 1, 2005 – Jan. 31, 2006
SQUIRREL: May 15, 2005 – Jan. 31, 2006
COMMON SNIPE: Oct. 1, 2005- Jan. 15, 2006
SEPTEMBER TEAL: September 10-18, 2005
SPECIAL RESIDENT CANADA GOOSE: September 10-19, 2005.
All deer and turkey hunters are require to check their carcasses with an authorized Oklahoma Wildlife Department employee.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife’s website has a full list of all Oklahoma checking stations.
Now that you have all the legal technicalities over with, it’s time to hunt! Some tips for the successful hunter include:
1. Always hunting into the wind
2. Move very slowly, taking cautious steps. You should pause more than you actually move! Try to move only 100 yards or so per hour (bring a watch).
3. Wear camouflage from head to toe. Be sure to wear the softest-soled footwear you can find. This will enable you to feel what’s underfoot before shifting your weight- and possibly alerting you prey by stepping on a stick!
4.If you do accidentally make somewhat of a loud noise when moving, you should stop immediately and wait several minutes before beginning again.
5. Use binoculars frequently to scan ahead and to both sides.
6. When deer hunting, freeze until you can determine what direction it’s going. Be alert for any others accompanying it.
7. When setting up a tree stand, try to imagine what it will look like in late season (when the leaves fall and coverage is generally less).
8. Remember that the less of your scent you leave in your hunting area, more success you
will have. There are several “no-scent” soaps available on the market. Wash your hunting clothes in no-scent soap and store in airtight bags. Natural vegetation scents, such as cedar or pine, can also be helpful.