Several hunting seasons will be opening this Saturday, Oct. 26, including muzzleloader deer season. Also opening will be private lands elk muzzleloader, muzzleloader bear, sandhill crane and Zone 1 duck seasons.
Hunting seasons already open this Saturday include deer archery, private lands archery elk, archery bear, squirrel, rabbit, dove and crow.
Hunting with a muzzleloader — sometimes referred to as "primitive firearms" — pays homage to a traditional form of gun hunting from the early pioneering days of Oklahoma's history.
Last year, more than 77,000 hunters participated in muzzleloader deer season, according to the annual Big Game Report published in the September/October issue of Outdoor Oklahoma. Muzzleloader hunters reported 14,306 deer harvested during the nine-day season in 2018, about 13 percent of all deer taken during all 2018-19 seasons.
This year's muzzleloader deer season will close Nov. 3. Muzzleloader elk season remains open until Nov. 3 only in elk hunting zones where the seasonal harvest quotas have not yet been reached. Elk hunters must go online to the Elk Quota Page at wildlifedepartment.com to check the quota status of the zone they intend to hunt before they go afield.
Muzzleloader bear season will run through Nov. 3, or until the 20-bear season quota is reached. All bear hunters must buy a license before the season starts, and they must call (888) 901-3256 before going afield to check the status of the bear harvest quota.
Hunter orange clothing regulations are in effect when any big game firearms season is open, except for those hunting waterfowl, crow or sandhill crane.
For complete information and license requirements, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide found online at wildlifedepartment.com, on the Go Outdoors Oklahoma free mobile app for Apple or Android devices, or in print across the state wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
NEW ONLINE LICENSE SYSTEM
Everyone planning to go hunting this year is reminded to make sure that proper licenses or permits for each season have been obtained. This year, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is using a new online license system and mobile app with improved customer service features. This system is called Go Outdoors Oklahoma.
All hunters and anglers who have bought licenses in the past should already have a profile in Go Outdoors Oklahoma. Regardless, everyone — especially lifetime license holders — should take a few minutes and go online to GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com or click “Licensing” at wildlifedepartment.com and make sure their account is properly set up. Any new users should log on and create a new account.
Checking your profile now is important for future interactions with the Wildlife Department, including obtaining licenses and permits, using E-check, applying for controlled hunts and more. And with the new mobile app, sportsmen can now carry all of their licenses and permits digitally on their mobile device.
Of course, license and permits are still for sale at Wildlife Department headquarters in Oklahoma City and from license vendors across Oklahoma.
HUNTERS AGAINST HUNGER
As deer hunting opportunities expand throughout fall, the Wildlife Department and cooperating partners are gearing up for another season of the Hunters Against Hunter campaign.
Many Oklahomans have limited or inconsistent access to adequate food. Hunters can help. This program allows hunters who legally harvest a deer during any of the state's deer seasons to donate the meat to feed hungry Oklahomans. It's a cooperative program between hunters, local processors, food pantries and the Wildlife Department.
Participation by deer processors and hunters is the key to success. After E-checking their harvest, the hunter simply drops off the deer at any HAH processor. The hunter is asked to contribute a tax-deductible $10 to assist with processing expenses. The ground venison will then be distributed to hungry Oklahomans through a network of qualified, charitable organizations.
Any processor or organization wanting more information may call the Wildlife Department at (405) 521-4660.