Starting Dec. 18, 2021, gun hunters can take two antlerless deer in open zones as a bonus to their regular seasons' limits. The holiday antlerless deer gun season will remain open through Dec. 31. (Photo by Blake Podhajsky/ODWC)
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Hunting Antlerless Deer Is Nice Bonus Gift for Holidays
Every hunter who participates in the holiday season may harvest two bonus antlerless white-tailed deer, even if the hunter has already harvested the maximum aggregate limit of six deer for all other current deer seasons.
The holiday season runs 14 days in all open zones, providing ample time for hunters to get out and help manage the state’s deer herd by increasing the antlerless deer harvest.
Dallas Barber, Big Game Biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, is hoping hunters will respond to help create a more balanced buck-to-doe ratio in the state’s deer population.
Biologists’ goal for overall antlerless harvest is between 40 percent and 45 percent for all seasons combined. Heading into this year’s holiday season, only about 37 percent of the statewide harvest has been antlerless deer. So, Barber is hopeful the holiday season will push antlerless harvest over the 40 percent goal.
A greater antlerless deer harvest yields several benefits:
- Improves buck-to-doe ratio for a more healthy herd.
- Promotes better antler growth by reducing competition for forage.
- Prevents localized overpopulation.
- Reduces the potential for deer/vehicle collisions.
- Lessens the extent of potential crop depredation.
Residents and nonresidents may participate in the holiday season with the appropriate licenses. All hunters must possess a hunting license, unless exempt. Additionally, to participate in the holiday season, hunters must possess one of the following licenses:
- Resident Lifetime
- Resident Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun
- Resident Youth Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun
- Unfilled Resident Youth Deer Gun (antlerless)
- Nonresident Deer Gun
Licenses that are not valid for the holiday season:
- Resident Youth Deer Gun (antlered)
- Resident Deer Gun (antlered or antlerless)
- Any licenses for archery or muzzleloader (residents and nonresidents)
All hunters are required to wear both a head covering and an outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of hunter orange — even in a blind and on private land — during the holiday antlerless deer gun season in all open zones.
Those and all other regulations such as license requirements, hunting hours, bag limits, field tagging and online E-Check rules are detailed in the Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations found online at www.wildlifedepartment.com, in the free Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print at license dealers statewide.
TWO PROGRAMS HELP THE HUNGRY
Oklahomans in need of food appreciate the efforts of hunters who give back to the community through two Wildlife Department programs: Hunters Against Hunger and Oklahoma Deer Share. The holiday antlerless deer gun season offers hunters a great opportunity to donate harvested deer and venison to local people who are facing food challenges and to local food pantries.
Deer Share gives hunters a way to connect with people who want to take donated venison.
Hunters Against Hunger allows hunters to drop off any legally harvested deer at a participating meat processor along with a $10 donation to help with processing costs. The venison will be earmarked for local food pantries.