Rack Madness, the Wildlife Department’s annual extravaganza that celebrates deer hunting and deer hunters in Oklahoma, will be heading into cyberspace this year.
And there will be plenty of exciting new features that online viewers won’t want to miss from Feb. 22-26.
“Due to the COVID pandemic, we still are not able to host large gatherings like what we’ve seen over the years for the Rack Madness event,” said Kelly Adams, Information Supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “So, this time, Rack Madness will become a weeklong virtual event, which is going to offer live interactions and provide a lot more flexibility for people to participate when it’s convenient for them.”
The online live-streaming format will allow real-time interaction as several experts answer questions sent in by viewers. Educational video sessions will be streamed live and also recorded to be added to the Department’s growing online education offerings.
Because of social distancing guidelines, rack scoring for the public will not take place during this year’s virtual event. Instead, ODWC employees will go online to offer instruction to viewers so they can evaluate their own racks to determine if they merit official scoring at a later date.
Rack Madness is designed to educate the public about deer, hunting and the Cy Curtis Awards Program, which recognizes hunters and the quality harvests they make in Oklahoma.
A new interactive feature this year will be the Rack Madness Tournament Bracket competition. Inspired by the ever-popular NCAA basketball tournament bracket, this Twitter event will pit 24 bucks from the 2020-21 deer seasons against one another in a tournament-style contest to determine the bracket winner.
If your buck has the “headgear” to go all the way, be sure to enter the Rack Madness Tournament. From Feb. 8-12, post a photo of your harvest on Twitter using the hashtag #RackMadness. Some information about the hunter and the harvest will be required with each photo submitted.
A group of ODWC judges will pick their favorites from all of the submitted photos, and those will be used to seed the bracket. Viewers will then be able to view and vote on the bucks head-to-head, determining which rack advances to become the ultimate champion!
Every day this week, find us on social media at 4:00 p.m. as we go Live and discuss Oklahoma's Cy Curtis Program, deer management and take a look at the 2020-21 deer season.
- Monday, Feb. 22: “How to Score a Typical Rack” with ODWC Assistant Director Wade Free on Instagram Live. Participants are encouraged to grab their own deer rack, measuring tape and score sheet for a hands-on learning experience. Cy Curtis score sheets are found at www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/cy-curtis.
- Tuesday, Feb. 23: “How to Score a Non-typical Rack” with ODWC Assistant Director Wade Free on Instagram Live. Participants are encouraged to grab their own deer rack, measuring tape and score sheet for a hands-on learning experience. Cy Curtis score sheets are found at www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/cy-curtis.
- Wednesday, Feb. 24: “Herd Management on Private Land: How to Grow Quality Bucks on Your Property” with ODWC Big Game Biologist Dallas Barber on YouTube Live. Healthier deer, better hunting, and better antler development all begin with a more even buck-to-doe ratio. Barber will talk about the importance of the sex ratio and how hunters play a vital role in deer management.
Also, “Q&A All Day” with Game Wardens Chad Strang and Jaylen Flynn. They will be available all day to answer questions and post to the Wildlife Department’s Instagram account.
- Thursday, Feb. 25: “How to Pattern Mature Bucks” with Research Coordinator Jerry Shaw. Join in at 4 p.m. on YouTube Live and learn how deer behavior changes throughout the season and how you can use various tools to help you anticipate their movement.
Also, “Q&A All Day” with R3 Coordinator Kasie Harriet. She will be on the Department’s Instagram account all day to answer questions about hunting deer in Oklahoma.
- Friday, Feb. 26: “An Inside Look at the 2020-21 Deer Seasons” with ODWC Director J.D. Strong and “Outdoor Oklahoma” host Todd Craighead on all of the Department’s social media channels. They will discuss how a record-breaking deer harvest and increased license sales will have a lasting positive impact on Oklahoma’s wildlife.
Even though no public scoring will be done during Rack Madness, official scoring is available by appointment with ODWC employees across the state. For a contact list, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/cy-curtis/scorers.
-Don P. Brown is a communication specialist for the Wildlife Department and the associate editor of "Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine.