Oklahoma’s preference point system is not a true preference system (one in which people with the most preference points get drawn first). Instead, our system is one that makes it more likely that people with the most points will get drawn, but there is still a chance that hunters with no points can get drawn before someone who has accumulated several points.
The Department uses a computerized drawing system that randomly selects from the pool of applicants in each of the hunt categories offered. If you are not selected for a hunt in a certain category, you receive a preference point for that category.
Each preference point you have earned by not drawing a hunt in a certain category acts like an extra application the next time that you apply for that same category. For example, if you have not been drawn for five straight times in the deer category, you will have five more chances than a first time applicant. However, Oklahoma’s controlled hunts have always been very popular, with lots of hunters applying for a relatively small number of permits.
In some categories, hunters may apply in groups of up to four people. Each applicant in the hunt group will be given a single preference point if not drawn in that category. For group applications, the preference points of each hunter in the group will be averaged. If four hunters put in together – one with no points, one with two points, and the other two with three points each – the group’s preference points will be two, which is the average of all four members.
Once you are selected for a hunt category, you lose all of your preference points in that category, regardless of whether you actually participate in the hunt. This means if you draw a regular deer hunt, you lose your points in the deer category, but not in the elk or antelope categories.
More Details About the Preference Point System
1. Preference points are tracked by either your Social Security number or your driver’s license number. Always use the same number every year to ensure you receive your preference points. If the driver’s license number or Social Security number you are currently applying with has changed since the last time you applied for a controlled hunt, please contact the ODWC at (405) 521-3852.
2. Hunters do not have to apply every year to keep their preference points. However, if you do not apply for five years in a row, the computer will clear your file and all preference points will be forfeited.
3. Preference points are not transferable from one hunter to another, or from one category to another.
4. Big-game hunts are progressively drawn. Elk hunts are drawn first, followed by antelope, then deer. If a hunter is selected for an elk hunt, he/she will receive preference points in the other big game categories (antelope and deer) he/she has applied for but will not be eligible to be selected in those categories. Similarly, if he/she is not selected for elk but draw an antelope permit, then he/she will receive a preference point in the elk and deer categories, but will not be eligible to draw a deer hunt. This is designed to ensure that no hunter is selected for multiple big game hunts in the same year.
5. If you apply with a group for a Category 3 deer hunt and individually for a Category 1 elk hunt, it is possible for you to be drawn individually for the elk hunt and for your group to be drawn for the deer hunt. In this case, since the three big-game categories, elk, antelope and deer, are progressively drawn, you would be allowed to participate in the elk hunt, but not with the rest of your group in the deer hunt. You would then receive a preference point for Category 3 and the rest of your group’s individual preference points for Category 3 would be cleared to zero.
6. Successful applicants will lose their preference points regardless of whether they actually participate in the hunt.
7. There is no maximum number of preference points an applicant can accumulate.