Oklahoma is rich with big game hunting opportunity ranging from black bear and antelope to elk and mule deer. But the whitetail deer still represents the most popular and widely available big game hunting opportunity in Oklahoma, with archery season already underway and muzzleloader season to open Oct. 27.
Muzzleloader season runs Oct. 27 – Nov. 4, and the season accounts for about 18 percent of the total annual deer harvest in Oklahoma.
During muzzleloader season, hunters can harvest a buck and two antlerless deer (at least one antlerless deer must be harvested from Antlerless Deer Zones 2, 7 or 8), and most of the state is open to antlerless hunting every day during the season. Resident muzzleloader hunters must possess an appropriate hunting license and a deer muzzleloader license for each deer harvested. Nonresident muzzleloader hunters are exempt from a hunting license while hunting deer, but they must possess a nonresident deer muzzleloader license. For a map of Oklahoma’s antlerless deer zones, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” available online at wildlifedepartment.com.
Muzzleloader hunters must conspicuously wear both a head covering and an outer garment above the waistline, both totaling at least 400 square inches of hunt orange.
Upon harvesting a deer, all hunters must immediately attach their name, license number, and date and time of harvest securely to the animal. This “field tag,” which can be constructed of anything (such as a business card), must remain attached to the carcass until it is checked either at the nearest hunter check station, with an authorized Wildlife Department employee or online at wildlifedepartment.com.
In many counties, hunters can harvest a turkey with their muzzleloaders Nov. 3-4. A fall turkey license is required, unless exempt. Turkey fall gun season runs Nov. 3-16, and details for the season are available in the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”
Hunters that are 10 years old and older who have not completed their hunter education course can do so completely online at wildlifedepartment. Upon successfully completing the course, hunters can print their hunter education card and purchase any license.
Hunters age 8-30 who have not completed a hunter education course can buy an apprentice-designated hunting license and hunt while accompanied by an adult hunter 18 years old or older who is licensed and hunter-education-certified or exempt. Exemptions from hunter ed requirements include those 31 years old or older, those honorably discharged or currently active in the Armed Forces or members of the National Guard). All hunters under 10 years old must be accompanied when hunting big game, including those who have completed a hunter education course.
The modern gun season opens Nov. 17 and runs for 16 days. Archery season remains open through Jan. 15, 2013.
For specific information regarding which wildlife management areas are open to muzzleloader season, licenses, season limits, legal firearms or other details, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” available free online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print anywhere hunting licenses are sold.
Image courtesy Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation