PHOTO CAPTION: Helping young hunters sight-in their rifles could improve success during Youth Deer Gun Season from Oct. 14-16, 2016. [WILDLIFEDEPARTMENT.COM]
Deer hunters 17 and younger will have the chance to take shots before other gun hunters when they participate in Oklahoma's Youth Deer Gun Season on Oct. 14-16.
"The Youth Deer Gun Season is an ideal time to take a youngster out and hopefully bag that first buck or doe of the year," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "And preparation is the key to a successful hunt.
"One of the most important things you can do is get to a rifle range and practice. It will not only improve your shooting and safety skills, but it's also the ethical thing to do," Meek said.
To find a shooting range nearby, go online to wheretoshoot.org.
Some Wildlife Department areas have shooting ranges open to people with an Oklahoma hunting or combination license (unless exempt). Those areas include Beaver River, Canton, Cherokee, Fort Gibson, Fort Supply, Hickory Creek, James Collins, Lexington, Okmulgee, Optima, Ouachita, Pushmataha, Texoma-Washita Arm, and Three Rivers. Target shooting is not allowed on Department areas without a designated shooting range.
Meek said most ranges will have safety rules posted, and users should be aware of them and follow them. "Make sure to wear proper ear and eye protection while sighting-in and practicing. Also, observe the same safety rules that you would in the field."
He also pointed out how practice shooting enhances hunting ethics.
"The most important thing any hunter can do is to practice. It doesn't take a lot of time at the range to make the difference between a successful hunt, or a missed or wounded deer."
All youths participating in Youth Deer Gun Season must be accompanied by an adult 18 older who is hunter education-certified (unless exempt). Participating youths do not have to be hunter education-certified but must follow the apprentice-designated license requirements.
All youths (except those holding a lifetime hunting or lifetime combination hunting/fishing license) who participate in Youth Deer Gun Season are required to have the appropriate youth deer gun license for each deer hunted ($10 for an antlerless deer and/or $10 for an antlered deer). Residents ages 16 and 17 (except lifetime license holders) must also have one of these licenses: resident youth hunting ($5), resident youth combination hunting/fishing ($9), resident youth fiscal year license ($7), or a resident youth fiscal year combination hunting/fishing license ($19). Nonresident youth hunters are required to have the nonresident deer gun license ($280).
For more information about hunting licenses or to buy licenses online, visit the Wildlife Department's website.
The Youth Deer Gun Season limit is two deer, only one of which may be antlered. The harvest of antlerless mule deer is prohibited. Deer taken by hunters participating in the Youth Deer Gun Season are included in the hunter's combined season limit.
As a bonus, youth deer hunters may also harvest a turkey in counties that have a fall gun turkey season, provided the hunter has the appropriate turkey license.
For complete information on Youth Deer Gun Season, consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide" available on mobile app for iPhone and Android, online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
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