Oh Deer! Rule Change Would Add To Hunting Season

by Brianna Monk

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma hunters could get an extra week to enjoy deer season if the wildlife department approves new rules.

While most people think of Oklahoma as an outdoor state, that reputation might be in question.

This past fall the EPIC News Network reported on the decline in the number of hunters.  The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation told ENN the majority of hunters in the state are aging out of hunting and they are not being replaced by younger hunters.

“More kids are going to college. They’re going away from the family farms. They’re going to get an education, and going and probably getting a job in the city,” Kasie Joyner with the ODWC said.

According to the ODWC, the proposed rule change would add seven days to deer hunting season and is aimed at controlling the growing deer population due to the decline of hunters. Micah Holmes, the information supervisor for the ODWC said in 2019 there was a large decrease in hunters compared to the previous years. 

The public comment period for the rule change closed earlier this month.  The state Wildlife Commission is now reviewing those comments. The commission will vote on the proposed rule changes at their next meeting on February 11.  

There are other rules being considered by the Wildlife Commission, one of which would impose new restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer populations in Oklahoma. 

Other proposed rule changes would remove the minimum length limit at Lake Texoma for blue and channel catfish. A final proposal would change some trout fishing rules at Lower Mountain Fork River.

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