News of the Week

Oct. 20, 2015
Saturday Is Opener for Several Muzzleloader Seasons
   This Saturday, Oct. 24, is opening day of the nine-day deer muzzleloader hunting season in Oklahoma.
   That day is also opening day for muzzleloader elk season (on private lands in open zones only), and opening day for muzzleloader bear season (in open areas only until the 20-bear quota is met).
   Hunting with a muzzleloader -- sometimes referred to as "primitive firearms" -- pays homage to a traditional form of gun hunting that recalls the early pioneering days in Oklahoma's history.
    Last year, about 80,000 hunters participated in Oklahoma's muzzleloader deer season, according to the annual Big Game Report published in the September/October issue of "Outdoor Oklahoma," the official Wildlife Department magazine. Through the Wildlife Department's online E-Check System, muzzleloader hunters reported 14,832 deer harvested during the nine-day season in 2014.
    This year's muzzleloader deer season will close Nov. 1. Muzzleloader season for elk will remain open until Nov. 1 only in those elk hunting zones where the seasonal harvest quotas have not yet been reached. Elk hunters must go online to the Elk Quota Pageat wildlifedepartment.com to check the quota status of the zone they intend to hunt before they go afield.
   Muzzleloader season for bear will run through Nov. 1, or until the 20-bear season quota is reached, in Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties. Bear hunters must buy their license before the season starts, and they must call (888) 901-3256 before going afield to check the status of the bear harvest quota.
   Muzzleloader hunters must wear hunter orange clothing, including headgear, that covers the upper body. Also, any archery deer or elk archery hunters are reminded that they also must abide by the hunter orange requirements during the deer and elk muzzleloader seasons.
   Each muzzleloader hunter may harvest one antlered and two antlerless deer during the season, provided that one of the antlerless deer is taken from Zones 2, 7 or 8
   Resident hunters must possess either an annual or lifetime hunting or combination license; a senior citizen hunting or combination license; or proof of exemption. Hunters must also possess a deer primitive (antlered or antlerless) license for each deer harvested, or proof of exemption. Nonresidents must possess a nonresident deer primitive license. An annual nonresident hunting license is not required. To buy licenses online, go to wildlifedepartment.com/license.htm.
   REMINDER:When a deer hunter decides to take a shot, he or she is making a wildlife management decision that affects the future health of the deer herd. The Wildlife Department's "Hunters in the Know ... Let Young Bucks Grow!" public awareness campaign invites hunters to seriously think about their harvest decision before acting. The state's 250,000 deer hunters can continue to improve the health and age structure of the deer population by making conscientious choices about which deer they harvest. Look for opportunities to pass on younger bucks and wait for an older one.
   For more information regarding deer and elk hunting zones, licenses, bag limits, clothing requirements or legal firearms, consult the 2015-16 "Oklahoma Hunting" regulations guide online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
Beatrice Lofting enjoyed a successful hunt in Mayes County on the first day of deer muzzleloader season in 2014. This year's deer, elk and bear muzzleloader hunting seasons will open Saturday, Oct. 24. (Submitted via Facebook)