What would make a wonderful Christmas gift for most any deer hunter?
How about the chance to harvest another deer before the end of the year. That’s exactly what the Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun season offers!
This year’s holiday season will be open for 10 days starting Dec. 22 and running through Dec. 31, 2017, in open areas. And even if a hunter has harvested the maximum aggregate limit of six deer for this year’s seasons, the hunter may still take a doe during Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun season because it is considered a bonus deer.
Most of the state will be open to antlerless deer hunting those days, except for the majority of the Panhandle and a large part of southeastern Oklahoma. Season dates and other regulations may vary on public lands in the open zones. For a map of Oklahoma’s antlerless deer hunting zones along with special area rules for public lands, see the current Oklahoma Hunting & Fishing Regulations Guide.
Last year, more than 33,000 hunters participated in the Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun season, and 2,710 harvested deer were reported to the Wildlife Department’s online E-Check system.
Harvest of does yields several important deer management benefits, said Dallas Barber, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
These benefits include:
• Preventing localized overpopulation.
• Improving buck-to-doe ratios for a more healthy herd.
• Reducing competition for forage to promote greater antler growth in bucks.
• Reducing the potential for deer/vehicle collisions.
• Lessening the extent of potential crop depredation.
Residents and nonresidents may participate in the holiday season with the appropriate licenses. Unfilled Deer Gun Season resident licenses are not valid. All hunters are reminded that the requirements to wear hunter orange clothing are in effect during the Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun season in all open zones.
For complete regulations, refer to the Oklahoma Hunting & Fishing Regulations Guide available at www.wildlifedepartment.com, in the "OK Fishing and Hunting Guide" mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print free from license dealers statewide.