September geese and teal offer early waterfowling opportunities (August 31, 2012)

            September is a big month for Oklahoma bird hunters, and not just for those pursuing doves. The resident Canada goose and September teal seasons both open Sept. 8.

            Resident Canada goose season will run through Sept. 17, and September teal season will run through Sept. 23. Shooting hours for both seasons is one half hour before official sunrise to official sunset. Hunters can harvest eight geese daily and four teal daily.

            Bluewing and greenwing teal are the first ducks to travel through Oklahoma as they migrate southward on their traditional journey to wintering grounds in Mexico and Central and South America.

            To participate in the September teal season or resident Canada goose season, hunters must possess a resident or nonresident Oklahoma hunting license and a Harvest Information Permit (HIP). Additionally, hunters 16 years old and older must carry on his person a valid federal duck stamp and Oklahoma waterfowl license, unless otherwise exempt.

            Hunters age eight to 30 years of age who have not completed the Wildlife Department's hunter education course can still purchase a hunting license and go hunting, but the license will have an apprentice designation and the hunter must be accompanied by an individual 18 years of age or older who is licensed and hunter education certified or exempt from license or hunter education requirements. The accompanying hunter must remain in sight of and be able to communicate with the apprentice hunter in a normal voice without the aid of any communication device.

            A hunting license is not required for resident youth under the age of 16 (under 14 for non-residents) to hunt small game, but they still must be accompanied.

            All waterfowl hunting is restricted to federally-approved nontoxic shot in all areas of the state. Possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl is prohibited.

            For complete regulations, consult the "2012-13 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" online at or in hardcopy anywhere hunting licenses are sold.





Learn an outdoor skill at the 2012 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo (August 29, 2012)

            The 2012 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo is Sept. 29-30 at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City. The Expo is the public's chance to try their hands at a range of outdoor recreation activities ranging from fishing at a stocked pond or shooting a shotgun to building a birdhouse or taking a ride in a kayak.

            "The Expo is completely free, and visitors can try all kinds of outdoor activities and check out all kinds of booths designed to teach them about wildlife, the outdoors and conservation," said Rhonda Hurst, Wildlife Expo coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

            The Wildlife Department is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies and organizations to host the Wildlife Expo. The event is designed to promote and instill appreciation for Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. The event is free and open to the public.

            Activities range from free shotgun and archery shooting to fishing, kayaking, ATV riding, mountain biking and much more. Additionally, numerous learning opportunities are available at booths and exhibits at the Expo. Visitors can speak with wildlife biologists and outdoorsmen experienced in fishing, hunting, game calling, wildlife and fisheries management, reptiles and amphibians and more, as well as attend seminars on hunting dog training, common snake identification, Dutch oven cooking, turkey calling and fly fishing, among other topics.

            "In short, the Expo is a celebration of everything outdoors in the state of Oklahoma," Hurst said. "We want you to leave the Expo with a new appreciation for wildlife and the hobbies of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching."

            The Expo is Oklahoma's largest outdoor recreation event, drawing thousands of people each year. The Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 29-30. Admission and parking are free.






Outdoor education on target with Oklahoma schools (August 27, 2012)

            Just eight years ago, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation began the Oklahoma National Archery in Schools Program (OKNASP). Today 350 Oklahoma schools and more than 40,000 students participate in the program annually, and it is leading the way for an entire suite of outdoor education programs offered to schools by the Wildlife Department.

            Wildlife Department officials say that schools across the state have been catching on to the program offerings and partnering with the Department as the programs' popularity among students, teachers and administrators has continued to mount. Officials say the programs work toward building interest in a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors.

            In addition to OKNASP the suite includes the Wildlife Department's hunter education, Oklahoma Fishing in the Schools and Explore Bowhunting programs as well as a new scholastic shooting sports program. The Wildlife Department provides curriculum for all of the programs and even offers equipment grants for OKNASP (includes just over half of the $3,000 cost of the kit), Fishing in the Schools (includes $500 to cover all costs of equipment), and Explore Bowhunting (includes $2,000 to cover all costs of teaching kit, provided by the Archery Trade Association and distributed by the Wildlife Department). While all grants are obligated for the coming year, schools can still apply and be placed on a waiting list. Potential sponsors can fund a local school of their choice as well by calling Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife Department, at (918) 299-6711.

            "The Oklahoma National Archery in Schools Program was the spark that has led to these additional programs being offered to schools," Berg said. "It was 'true to its mark' with administrators, teachers and students and is now in 350 schools across the state. Over the last three years, we have continued to add these additional programs to the list of offerings we have available for schools."

            Many schools are now offering all of the programs available in the suite.

            Students who participate in OKNASP learn the fundamentals of basic target archery, but what really strikes a chord with every student is success they experience when their arrow thuds against the target for the very first time.

            "That initial success clicks with a lot of students and drives them to succeed time and again, not only in archery but other classes," said Berg.

            According to Berg, word-of-mouth has been an important tool in marketing OKNASP among participating schools.

            "Teachers and administrators of active schools became our target to pass on training opportunities to neighboring schools," Berg said. "Our courses filled up on their own, and we no longer had to sell the program. The program was selling itself due to the success that teachers and administrators saw their students experiencing. We followed that marketing model as we added programs."

            OKNASP is still the first step in bringing the education program suite into a school. Out of the 350 schools involved in OKNASP this year, more than 200 of them are teaching hunter education; 200 are also teaching Explore Bowhunting, designed to take archery a step further by applying it to wildlife conservation; 200 Oklahoma Fishing in the schools, which introduces students to the angling tradition; and 20 of these will be piloting the Department's scholastic shooting sports program that will introduce basic shotgun and firearms handling skills and competition.

            According to Berg, the programs are about building success and developing an appreciation for and understanding of sound wildlife conservation.

            "These programs spend a significant amount of time on wildlife conservation, survival skills, importance of firearms safety and ethics, and how to get close to nature," Berg said. And the Fishing in Schools Program covers a number of topics besides how to cast or catch a fish, such as the importance of good water quality, fisheries management and conservation as well as water safety. These are important topics that every Oklahoman should understand."

            "Everyone's first thought is that this is something just rural schools are involved with," Berg said. "But Jenks, Owasso, Oklahoma City, Yukon, Bethany, Lawton, Broken Arrow, Enid and other large school districts are involved in these programs as well as a lot of smaller districts."

            Berg said it is important for schools to take a hard look at the Department's suite of education programs to see just what they offer in educating well-rounded, conservation-minded students.

            "Lots of kids today are connecting with the outdoors due to these programs being offered at their school," Berg said.

            The first step for schools wanting to become involved in the Wildlife Department's outdoor education programs is to contact Justin Marschall, OKNASP coordinator for the Department, at (405) 522-1857. Once a school has a teacher trained in OKNASP, they qualify for the partial equipment grant from the Department, and by actually participating in OKNASP, they receive invitations to free training workshops for the other programs.

            The Department's OKNASP Facebook page can be found at, and the Wildlife Department's website can be found at



Partners' donations to play valuable role in conservation (August 23, 2012)

            Partners of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation play a crucial role in benefiting wildlife, often donating funds that help accomplish a range of conservation initiatives. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted to accept nearly $40,000 in such donations from various partners.

            Among the donations was $30,000 from the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International, an organization dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation and protecting the freedom to hunt. The donation included $20,000 for the Wildlife Department's scholastic shooting sports pilot program and $10,000 for the Department's Operation Game Thief Trailer.

            Since 1995, the Wildlife Department has been offering free instruction in basic firearms handling and wing-shooting techniques through its Shotgun Training and Education Program (STEP), exposing thousands of youth and adults to shooting sports through events such as the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo and other activities. Schools across Oklahoma have been so responsive to the Department's other educational opportunities that the Department is now working to introduce STEP to students as part of their classroom curriculum. Students at participating schools will have the opportunity to learn and develop safe firearms handling and shooting skills from trained instructors. The $20,000 donation from the Oklahoma Station will be used to provide grants for participating schools to obtain STEP equipment and training.

            "We're absolutely delighted to be able to participate," said Sam Munhollon with the Oklahoma Chapter.

            The Chapter's additional donation of $10,000 helps fund the creation of an Operation Game Thief Trailer, a 24-foot display trailer that can travel to events to showcase wildlife law enforcement efforts in Oklahoma and educate visitors on the importance of following the state's game laws.

            Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Chief Robert Fleenor said the trailer is part of a successful program for educating the public and expressed gratitude for the Oklahoma Chapter taking the Department "under their wing" to help complete the trailer.           

            In addition to supporting the STEP and Operation Game Thief programs, the Chapter has helped fund recent black bear research efforts in northeast Oklahoma, the purchase of an airboat used by the Wildlife Department on waterfowl surveys and other wetland management tasks and more. The Chapter also partners with the Wildlife Department each year to hold an annual youth essay contest that provides youth a chance to share their feelings about Oklahoma's outdoors and to win great prizes, including a guided pronghorn antelope hunt in New Mexico. The chapter purchased eight elk for introduction into an existing herd in southeast Oklahoma and is a supporter of the Department's Hunters Against Hunger program, which coordinates the annual distribution of hunter-donated venison to needy, and the Department's Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.

            The Commission also accepted $3,500 from the Oklahoma State Game Warden Association and another $3,000 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the Wildlife Department Youth Camp, which hosts a group of teen-aged campers for one week each summer and teaches them about conservation, game laws, and careers at the Wildlife Department. The camp offers character-building exercises through training and recreation in areas like shooting sports, wildlife identification, ropes and rappelling, archery, turkey and waterfowl hunting, fishing, swimming, self defense, and wildlife and fisheries management and law enforcement.

            Another donation of $1,000 was accepted from the Indian Territory Chapter of Quail Forever for prescribed burns, ridge-top clearing and water impoundments on the Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area.




Waterfowl hunting seasons set (August 21, 2012)

            Oklahoma waterfowl hunters could be headed into a very successful hunting season.

            According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife surveys, record numbers of ducks - including the third highest recorded number of mallards - have been surveyed on breeding grounds in the northern United States and southern Canada.

            "A steady dose of cold temperatures and plenty of available water is going to be important in order for Oklahomans to get in on the best waterfowl hunting this year," said Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Ducks are thriving, and hopefully cold weather will drive them south and they'll find plenty of good habitat in Oklahoma."

            At its August meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved 2012-13 season dates and regulations for waterfowl and other early and late season migratory birds, like doves and September teal.

            Every summer the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes frameworks to states for structuring their migratory bird hunting seasons. The Service publishes the federal hunting season frameworks for these species after their meetings, and state wildlife agencies like the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation can then make their season selections within the federal framework guidelines.


Ducks, mergansers and coots

            This year, waterfowl season in the Panhandle counties will run from Oct. 13 through Jan. 9, and youth waterfowl days will be Oct. 6-7. In Zone 1, which includes most of northwest Oklahoma (excluding the Panhandle) duck season will run from Oct. 27 through Nov. 25 and Dec. 8 through Jan. 20. Youth waterfowl days in Zone 1 will be Oct. 13-14. Zone 2 duck season dates will be Nov. 3 through Nov. 25 and Dec. 8 through Jan. 27, with youth waterfowl days slated for Oct. 27-28.

            The daily limit of six ducks may include no more than: five mallards (only two may be hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two pintails and one canvasback. The daily limit of mergansers is five, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers, and the daily limit of coots is 15.


Geese and sandhill crane

            Canada goose and light goose seasons both will run from Oct. 27-Nov. 25 and Dec. 8-Feb. 10, with white-fronted goose season spanning Oct. 27-Nov. 25 and Dec. 8-Feb. 3. Sandhill crane season will run Oct. 20-Jan. 20 (west of I-35 only). The daily limits for Canada geese is three; white-fronted geese, one; light geese, 20, and; sandhill crane, three.


Dove, teal, special resident Canada goose, rail, gallinule, woodcock and snipe

            This year, seasons and regulations for dove September teal, Special resident Canada geese, rail, gallinule, woodcock and common snipe will be the same as last year, except for adjustments to calendar dates. See the "2012-13 Oklahoma Hunting Guide" for details.


            To participate in any migratory bird season in Oklahoma, hunters must possess a resident or nonresident Oklahoma hunting license and a Harvest Information Permit (HIP). Additionally, hunters 16 years old and older must carry a valid federal duck stamp and Oklahoma waterfowl license while hunting any waterfowl species, unless otherwise exempt. All waterfowl hunting is restricted to federally-approved nontoxic shot in all areas of the state. Possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl is prohibited. For full waterfowl hunting season details and regulations, consult the "2012-13 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide," which will be available in the fall.





Insect-borne disease connected to deer deaths in northeast Oklahoma (August 17, 2012)

            Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say a viral disease has been confirmed in at least one deer and may be related to 10 others found dead near the Verdigris River in northeast Oklahoma.

            According to Erik Bartholomew, big game biologist for the Wildlife Department, the disease that killed the deer has been in Oklahoma for several decades. The Wildlife Department receives scattered reports every year in Oklahoma and there are occasional small outbreaks like this one. The Department is continuing to monitor the area for other sick or dead deer.

            "Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is a hemorrhagic disease caused by a virus and spread by the bite of a midge or small fly, usually during the late summer or early fall, when the midge becomes active," Bartholomew said. "This virus is not transmissible to humans."

            Bartholomew added that the virus is not known to be transmissible from an infected deer to other deer through individual contact.

            There are several forms of EHD. In a completely separate case this month, biologists with the Wildlife Department confirmed a sick deer in southern Delaware Co. tested positive for a similar hemorrhagic disease called bluetongue virus.

            According to Bartholomew, some forms of EHD kill deer quickly while others simply make the deer sick for a while before recovering. The virus can lead to high fever, causing infected deer to seek water to cool off. Dead deer usually are found in or near water. In most cases, infected deer are in good body condition because the disease usually runs its course and kills the animal quickly. EHD is not a threat to humans.

            At present, there are no wildlife management tools or strategies available to prevent or control EHD. Bartholomew said there is little concern about the outbreak having a significant impact on deer populations, and any outbreaks will be curtailed by the onset of colder weather.

            "It's not something that we are worried about on a wide scale, but we do want to hear from people who see deer that appear to be sick," Bartholomew said. "We urge everyone to help us be on the alert."

            The public should report any sick deer or deer that are acting abnormal to their county game warden. A listing of game warden phone numbers by county is available online at





Dove season opener just around the corner  (August 17, 2012)

            Dove hunting season is fast approaching, and this year sportsmen have no excuse for not inviting someone along with them thanks to Oklahoma's annual Free Hunting Days Sept. 1-2. Resident hunters do not need to possess an annual hunting license or HIP permit while hunting on these days.

            This year dove season will run Sept. 1 - Oct. 31, statewide, followed by another nine-day period open from Dec. 22-30, statewide.

            According to Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, areas with water and a native or agricultural food source should be good spots come September.

            Despite it being hot and dry, Richardson said breeding counts were up at the start of the summer. Food resources have improved this year, but water still remains limited in many locations.

            "The wheat crop was really good across most of the state this year," Richardson said. "But fall crops like corn, milo, and sunflower have had spotty production because of the heat and drought."

            After Free Hunting Days Sept. 1-2, dove hunters will be required to have a hunting license or proof of exemption and a HIP permit, available free online at

            The daily limit for dove is 15, which may consist of any combination of mourning, white-winged and fully dressed Eurasian collared doves ("fully dressed" describes those birds without a head or fully feathered wing naturally attached to the carcass). However, there is no limit on Eurasian collared doves provided that the head or one fully feathered wing remain naturally attached to the carcass of all such birds while being transported to their final destination.

            Full details and regulations for dove hunting are available in the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide," available free online at or at any location where hunting licenses are sold.

            In addition to dove hunting, squirrel season also is open during Free Hunting Days, and there are other year-round hunting opportunities available for species such as coyotes. To see a full list of hunting opportunities, consult the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide."





Review opportunity available for lesser prairie chicken conservation plan

            Parts of western and northwest Oklahoma hold some of the last remaining habitat for lesser prairie chickens. The birds are in decline, and efforts are underway by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and its partners to restore and conserve the bird.

            Taken as a whole, the plan for conserving the lesser prairie chicken in Oklahoma is known as the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Plan (OLEPCCP), which outlines focal "Core Areas" for lesser prairie chicken conservation. Based on comments received during the Department's recent public review and comment period for the OLEPCCP, additional changes to the boundary of several of the Core Areas have been proposed. The OLEPCCP planning team is currently soliciting review of and comments on the six revised Core Area boundaries (Core Areas 1, 6, 7, 9, 13, 15). Comments will be accepted via e-mail, mail, or hand-delivery. Log on to to view the proposed boundary changes.

            E-mail comments should be sent to Alex Rizzo at and should include "OLEPCCP Comments" in the subject line.

            All USPS mail comments should be mailed to Attn: OLEPCCP Core Area Comments, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, PO Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

            Hand delivered comments will be accepted in the Wildlife Division Office (Room 215) at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Central office, located on the southwest corner of NE 18th and Lincoln Boulevard (1801 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City). Hand delivered comments should be clearly marked "OLEPCCP Core Area Comments."

            The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.




Quail organization invites supporters to annual banquet (August 15, 2012)

            The seventh Annual Central Oklahoma 89er Chapter of Quail Forever fundraising banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at the Sportsman's Country Club in Oklahoma City. Quail Forever, a non-profit habitat conservation organization, was founded in 2005 as part of Pheasants Forever in response to the continuing decline of quail populations locally and throughout their natural range, working hand in hand with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Oklahoma State University research biologists.

            Membership dinner tickets are $55, spouse tickets are $30, and tickets for youth under 16 years of age are $15. This price includes dinner, a year's membership, a subscription to the Quail Forever Journal and a Quail Forever decal. Chapter sponsorships are available for as little as $250 as well as corporate sponsorships that include membership, dinner tickets and event recognition, and promotional opportunities via website and e-mail depending upon the level of sponsorship. Sponsorship information can be found by logging on to

            "Becoming a Quail Forever member and attending the fundraising banquet is for the quail hunter and upland bird conservationist who wants to make a difference for quail and local wildlife," said James Dietsch, 89er Chapter founding chairman. "Quail Forever operates under the unique model of empowering its local chapters with the responsibility of determining how 100 percent of its locally-raised conservation funds are spent within the state. Quail Forever is extremely proud of its accomplishments, but the need for continuing conservation work is even more pressing than ever before. Become a part of our mission to preserve and restore critical upland wildlife habitat. Keep Oklahoma one of the premier quail hunting states in the nation and attend this year's event to help Quail Forever in its continued quest to preserve and enhance Oklahoma's wildlife and habitat."

            Limited banquet seating is available, so reserving tickets, sponsorships, or corporate tables as soon as possible is recommended. Checks should be made out to: Quail Forever, 5937 N. Redmond, Oklahoma City, OK 73122. For more information, call (405) 415-5724, e-mail or log on to





Wildlife Department receives slate of donations from important partners

            At its August meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to accept nearly $40,000 in donations that will help the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation accomplish a range of conservation initiatives.

            The $40,000 was comprised of donations from several conservation partners, including $20,000 from the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International for a scholastic shooting sports pilot program to be implemented by the Wildlife Department in Oklahoma schools; $10,000 from the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International for the development of the Department's Operation Game Thief trailer used to educate the public on the importance of following game laws; $3,500 from the Oklahoma State Game Warden Association and another $3,000 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the Wildlife Department Youth Camp, which hosts a group of teen-aged campers for one week each summer and teaches them about conservation, game laws, and careers at the Wildlife Department, and; $1,000 from the Indian Territory Chapter of Quail Forever for prescribed burns, ridge-top clearing and water impoundments on the Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area.

            "It's our partners in conservation that enable us to accomplish all that we do for wildlife," said Richard Hatcher, director for the Wildlife Department. "The sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts who make up the memberships of these groups that donated this money are going the extra mile to ensure Oklahoma remains a premier state for wildlife-related recreation and conservation.

            The Commission also approved dates and regulations for the 2012-13 hunting seasons for ducks, geese, dove and other migratory birds.

            The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers populations and habitat status for establishing migratory game bird hunting seasons at an annual meeting held in June each year in consultation with the four Flyway Councils. The Service publishes the federal hunting season frameworks for these species after the meeting, and state wildlife agencies like the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation can then make their season selections within the federal framework guidelines.

            According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Wildlife Department, surveys indicate what may be record numbers of mallards and greater numbers of other duck species on northern United States and Canadian breeding grounds than have been recorded in years.

            In other business, the Commission also recognized three elementary girls who placed in the top five in the nation in their grade levels at the National Archery in the Schools tournament held in May in Louisville, Ky. Taking third place in the fourth-grade girls competition was Riane Tuthill of Chickasha. Birdie Maxwell of Parklane Elementary took fourth place in the fifth-grade girls division, and Faith Terrell of Chandler Elementary took fourth place among sixth-grade girls. About 370 Oklahoma students were part of the crowd of 7,804 youth shooters from the across the nation who competed at the shoot.

            The Commission also recognized the owners of Spring Creek Farm and Twin Hills Ranch in Seminole Co. as the Wildlife Department's newest Landowners of the Year. Through the Landowner of the Year program, the Wildlife Department selects a landowner who has gone above and beyond to improve their property for wildlife habitat, and brothers Carl, Jerry and Lloyd Hendrix have done just that with extensive efforts on their properties to manage habitat and conserve wildlife.

            The Commission also heard a presentation on the status, direction and goals of the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council. The group has 16 burn associations members, and local landowners can get plugged in to one of their local burn associations for help getting started using prescribed fire to manage habitat on their land. The burn associations also have equipment and can coordinate labor among participating landowners. A key component of the group's efforts is to obtain liability insurance for landowners wanting to conduct prescribed burns.

            Richard Hatcher, director of the Wildlife Department, also recognized three employees for long tenure with the Wildlife Department. Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries, and John Skeen, wildlife senior biologist, were both recognized for 30 years of service, and Mark Howery, wildlife diversity biologist, was recognized for 20 years of service.

            The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife 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 Senate.

            The next scheduled Commission meeting is set for Sept. 10, at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), located at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City.


-30 -



August 17: deadline for youth bonus antlerless deer hunt applications

            Beginning deer hunters have a unique opportunity to participate in five bonus antlerless deer hunts that will take place on private land in Osage County (Oct 5-7, 2012), Ellis County (Oct 12-13, 2012), Kingfisher County (Oct. 13, 2012), Carter County (Nov 23-24, 2012), and Alfalfa County (Jan 11-13, 2013).

            This year 55 youth will be drawn to receive one of the bonus private lands antlerless deer gun permits.  To be eligible, youth must have completed their hunter education requirements prior to applying and must be 12-17 years old at the time of their scheduled hunt.

            "These hunts are on private property and should provide young hunters a great opportunity to see some deer as well as a chance to harvest a doe," said Bill Dinkines, assistant chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has endorsed the youth hunt program and we are thankful for the landowners' willingness to allow these kids the opportunity to hunt on their property."

            To apply for a hunt, applicants must submit (mail or walk-in only) an index card with the following information:


            Envelope should be addressed to: OK DEPT OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION, Attn: Wildlife Division: "Private Lands Youth Deer Hunts," PO BOX 53465, Oklahoma City, OK  73152. All applications must be received by Friday, August 17, 2012.

            Antlerless deer taken by selected applicants during these hunts will be considered a "bonus deer" and will not count toward the hunter's season statewide limit.

            Applicants who are successfully drawn will receive a notification letter in the mail that includes specific information about their hunt and the deadline for purchasing required license(s) as listed below:


Resident Options (Ages 12-15):

Lifetime Hunting or Lifetime Combination License, or;

$10 CH Private Lands Youth Deer License***


Resident Options (Age 16-17):

Lifetime Hunting or Lifetime Combination License, or;

Resident Annual Youth Hunting + $10 CH Private Lands Youth Deer License*** or;

Resident Fiscal Year Hunting + $10 CH Private Lands Youth Deer License***   

Non-Resident Options (Ages 12-17):

CH Nonresident Private Lands Youth Deer License***



***NOTE: The $10 resident or the $201 non-resident CH Private Lands Youth Deer Hunt Permits will be issued in lieu of the open season license and must be purchased through the Wildlife Department's central office. Apprentice-designated licenses will not be allowed due to the hunter education requirement.

            For additional information, please contact the Wildlife Department's Wildlife Division at (405) 521-2730.




-30 -