2020 was a year to remember. As a pandemic swept around the globe and left many people frightened and homebound, the outdoors awaited with open arms. Many hunters used Oklahoma’s plentiful resources to put clean, organic protein on the table for their families.
The state’s deer hunters set records for total harvest, archery harvest, gun harvest, and participation for both archery and gun seasons.
More importantly for the health of the state’s deer herd, hunters reached the Wildlife Department’s antlerless harvest goal of 40 to 45 percent of total harvest for the first time since 2015.
The ball was placed in the hunters’ court, and they answered the rally call of “Hunters in the Know … Take a Doe!” The quality of bucks being harvested continues to impress hunters not only in this state but across the country. This has all been accomplished through voluntary restraint. Using science-based regulations and enlist- ing hunters as boots-on-the-ground deer managers, ODWC continues to strive toward the goal of a balanced deer herd based on available habitat and healthy age structures.
I wish all of you good health and good luck during the upcoming 2021-22 seasons. And remember this: Every time you decide to pull the trigger or release an arrow, you're making a deer management decision that impacts your local populations. So, keep in mind that “Hunters in the Know … Let Young Bucks Grow — and Take a Doe!”
Hunters Must Follow Oklahoma Import Rules to Prevent CWD
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) affects cervid species including deer, elk and moose. This always fatal, contagious, neurological disease continues to spread across much of the United States and Canada. It causes emaciation, loss of control of bodily functions, abnormal behavior, and ultimately death.
CWD has yet to be found in Oklahoma’s wild deer or elk herds. Still, the Wildlife Department is being proactive to prevent CWD. Every state surrounding Oklahoma has found CWD in their wild populations. Last year, ODWC implemented a carcass import ban to prevent high-risk cervid parts from entering this state.
CWD is caused by a misfolded prion, or abnormal intracellular protein, most commonly found in the central nervous system and lymph tissue. Once these prions are on the landscape, science shows they can exist for de- cades and infect other animals. The carcass import ban prevents cervids from crossing state lines after having been harvested unless they meet certain criteria. The regulation states:
“No one shall import, transport, or possess any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass from outside Oklaho- ma’s boundaries, except for antlers, or antlers attached to clean skull plate, or cleaned skulls (all tissue removed); animal quarters containing no spinal material, or meat with all parts of the spinal column removed; cleaned teeth; finished taxidermy products; hides or tanned products.”
— Dallas Barber, ODWC Big-Game Biologist