During their regular June meeting Monday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners approved additional opportunities to harvest antlerless deer and approved hunting season dates and bag limits for this year’s migratory bird hunting seasons. The resolutions were presented by Bill Dinkines, Chief of Wildlife with the Oklahoma Department of Wildife Conservation.
This coming December, the holiday antlerless deer gun season will now be open in Zone 10, which is in the southeastern corner of the state. Zone 10 has traditionally been closed for the holiday season. There will be a limit of two antlerless deer in Zone 10 during the holiday antlerless deer gun season.
Commissioners also approved migratory bird hunting dates and bag limits for 2022-23 as follows:
· Dove — Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2022, and Dec. 1-29, 2022. Limit is 15 daily, 30 in possession after first day, 45 in possession after second day.
· Teal — Sept. 10-25, 2022. Limit is six daily, 12 in possession after first day, 18 in possession after second day.
· Resident Canada Goose — Sept. 10-19, 2022. Limit is eight daily, 16 in possession after the first day, 24 in possession after the second day.
For ducks, mergansers and coots, the season will be Oct. 8, 2022-Jan. 4, 2023, in the Panhandle counties. Special youth, active military and veterans hunting days will be Oct. 1, 2022, and Feb. 4, 2023, in those counties.
Waterfowl Zones 1 and 2 will again share the same season dates and bag limits this year. Season will be Nov. 12-27, 2022, and Dec. 3, 2022-Jan. 29, 2023. Special youth, active military and veterans hunting days will be Nov. 5, 2022, and Feb. 4, 2023.
Daily bag limit for ducks and mergansers is six; there is no separate limit for mergansers this year. Daily bag may include no more than five mallards (only two may be hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, one scaup, and one northern pintail. Daily coot limit is 15.
Hunting dates for light and dark geese will be Nov. 5-27, 2022, and Dec. 3, 2022-Feb. 12, 2023. White-fronted geese may be taken Nov. 5-27, 2022, and Dec. 3, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023. Sandhill crane hunting will run from Oct. 22, 2022-Jan. 22, 2023, west of Interstate 35 only.
In other business:
· Commissioners approved a Fiscal Year 2023 spending plan for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation totaling $99.2 million, with most of the difference from the previous budget coming from a potential land purchase partnership with a national conservation organization.
· In his regular report, ODWC Director J.D. Strong cited activities in ODWC’s various divisions since the previous meeting, including the Fisheries Division’s June 2 initial stocking of more than 90,000 Tiger Bass in Grand Lake.
· Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation Director Rick Grundman announced plans for the second Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame Induction and Gala on Oct. 6, 2022. The honoree will be J. Larry Nichols, chairman emeritus and co-founder of Devon Energy.
· Commissioners presented a plaque to outgoing District 2 Commissioner Bruce Mabrey for his 20 years of service.
· Legislative Liaison Corey Jager reported on bills passed this session, including one making regular hunting and fishing licenses valid for 365 days from date of purchase, and another allowing landowners to shoot nuisance coyotes and feral swine at night without a permit on agriculture land, except during deer gun hunting season, and increases the penalty for poaching at night.
· Commissioners recognized the social media team within the Communication and Education Division for earning “The Best Twitter Presence” honor at the national Government Social Media Conference in Dallas recently.
· Commissioners heard reports on the Department’s Outdoor Oklahoma-branded products (magazine, TV show and Journal blog), the goals behind them, and how they create positive exposure for ODWC.
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate. The next regular Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 1, 2022, at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.
To view a video recording of the June 6 meeting, go online to https://youtu.be/FVzUiDQEne4.