Changes made to deer, duck hunting seasons

Ed Godfrey The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY — Hunters will get more opportunities to harvest antlerless deer in the upcoming season and duck seasons now will be the same for most of the state under rules passed Monday by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The commission voted to double the anterless bag limit during the muzzleloader and deer gun seasons in all parts of the state except the Panhandle and southeast Oklahoma.

The antlerless bag limit will remain at one in the Panhandle (deer hunting zone one) and southeast Oklahoma (deer hunting zone 10) but those zones will receive additional antlerless hunting days.

In the rest of the state, the antlerless bag limit will be increased from one to two in some deer hunting zones and from two to four in others. The bag limit also will increase from one to two for most of the state during the special holiday antlerless season, which also will be lengthened from 10 to 14 days.

State wildlife officials want to increase the antlerless harvest for better deer herd management. Does or antlerless deer represent only 36% of the total deer harvest during hunting seasons, down 5 to 6% from 2014.

“We definitely would like to see that percentage increased,” said Bill Dinkines, head of the wildlife division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The commission also voted to make the waterfowl season dates the same for duck hunting zones one and two, which covers the entire state except for the Panhandle. The split during the waterfowl season also will be reduced to just five days from the current 12 days. The duck hunting season will start as late as allowed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The commission also approved two additional waterfowl hunting days just for military veterans and active military personnel. Those dates will be the same as the youth waterfowl hunting dates.