(OK) Wildlife Commission extends deer gun season to 16 days


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Drizzt
March 5, 2003, 07:46 PM
Wildlife Commission extends deer gun season to 16 days

2003-03-04

By Ed Godfrey
The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma Wildlife Commission on Monday approved a 16-day deer gun season statewide but excluded most of the public hunting areas from the longer season.
It will be the first time since 1970 that Oklahoma's deer gun season will be longer than nine days, assuming commissioners don't change their minds. Twice before in the past 12 years, the commission passed a longer season only to rescind that vote when landowner groups objected.

But this time, there are five new commissioners, and surveys by the state Wildlife Conservation Department show most hunters and landowners favor a longer season.

Commissioners voted 5-2 to extend the deer gun season by one week on private land, where most of the hunting occurs in Oklahoma. The season will begin the first Saturday before Thanksgiving and continue for 16 consecutive days.

The season will remain at nine days on two-thirds of the state's wildlife management areas, including Honobia and Three Rivers in southeastern Oklahoma, the state's two largest public hunting areas.

Wildlife officials say deer herds in most of the public areas could not support a longer season. The deer gun season in the Ouachita National Forest in southeastern Oklahoma also will remain at nine days.

Voting against the 16-day season were Commissioner Harlan Stonecipher and Chairman Lewis R. Stiles. The only debate among commissioners Monday was whether to exclude portions of southeastern Oklahoma from the longer season.

Stiles wanted to exclude private land in McCurtain and Pushmataha counties from the 16-day season. Much of the Three Rivers and Honobia Wildlife Management areas are in those counties, and Stiles said it will be a "nightmare for enforcement" to have different seasons on private land and public land.

Loggers stop working during the gun season, and most residents there do not want the longer season, Stiles said.

"My people will feel like they are being completely ignored, and I agree with them," Stiles said.

Most of the opposition to the 16-day season came from residents in southeastern Oklahoma -- 551 people attended a public hearing in Idabel. A total of 548 people attended the nine other public hearings across the state.

In other action, the commission approved a three-day antlerless hunt for youth only in October and exempted bow hunters from having to buy a gun tag to hunt during the deer gun season. A proposal to end rabbit season a month early was not presented to the commission because of lack of public support.

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Art Eatman
March 5, 2003, 08:59 PM
"Stiles said it will be a "nightmare for enforcement" to have different seasons on private land and public land."

They seem to deal with such problems easily enough in Georgia, Florida and Texas that I personally know of.

I have yet to see any sort of markings on the ground which separate the political boundaries of cities, counties, wildlife managemnt areas, public lands...And, generally, private lands are fenced. Yet, somehow, most folks generally know where they are, even if a few "I thought I was ON the right place!" stories get told. :)

Guess we need folks running around with a GPS in one hand and a can of spray paint in the other.

Art

243_shooter
March 5, 2003, 11:42 PM
16 days.. <gasp>

Here I thought we were getting a bum rap in NY they only let us hunt from 10/19 through 12/1 last year (a week shorter than usual).. of course the extra couple weeks of archery / muzzleloading on either end made up for it..

Better not let my wife see this, she'll want to move to Oklahoma :D

Leo

JeepDriver
March 6, 2003, 09:03 PM
We get 14 days(end of Nov) of firearms plus 2 bonus days (mid. Jan) last season, another 14 or so of Muzzle loader and 4 1/2 months of bow! From Sep. 15 to Jan 31!!! (You can still hunt w/ a bow while firearms and balckpowder are open.)

Carlos Cabeza
March 11, 2003, 04:37 PM
Yeah, some of the southeastern counties are pitchin' a fit, but in rural western OK. they're saying "Thank God" . Lots of animals in that area and very little public land. Mostly farmland that has little hunting pressure.

Marshall
March 12, 2003, 06:08 AM
As a land owner and one that hunts it, I am glad to see the extended season! Many years the peak of the rut doesn't hit until then.


:D

wun_8_seven
March 16, 2003, 10:55 AM
marshall, as a land owner you could have been hunting a 16 day season for years now. all you had to do is sign up for dmap. 187

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