An incorrectly written bill, HB 2978, has some Oklahoma deer hunters furious at the lawmaker who sponsored it. The bill would establish an antler-point restriction for whitetail deer taken during the state’s gun season, but the problem comes in when the specific antler requirements were revealed. According to The Oklahoman, the bill forbids hunters to harvest any buck with less than six points on either side. The resulting backlash from hunters has the bill’s author, Representative Colby Schwartz (R-Oklahoma City), swamped with angry emails and calls.
Schwartz’s assistant Caitlin Harwell said the mistake was because the staff hunters who advised Schwartz on writing the legislation did not know much about deer.
“We are by no means trying to take away the sport of hunting and keep people from hunting in anyway,” she told The Oklahoman.
Instead, the bill was supposed to set restrictions for any buck with less than six points in total. It is a proposal that is still considered absurd by many hunters and even wildlife officials with the state’s Department of Wildlife Conservation. Supporters of the bill say that it will reduce the number of young deer harvested, which could lead to a healthier population overall.
Currently deer hunting contributes more than $600 million to the state’s economy every year. Wildlife officials encourage hunters to target older, more mature bucks and does instead of young males.