Proposed Oklahoma Deer hunting changes.

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by OkieKubota, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. OkieKubota

    OkieKubota Moderator Staff Member

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    Oklahoma is now putting change proposals in for the 2020 season. The main proposal they have in place that caught my eye is they are proposing a 23 day rifle season with a 6 deer limit of which only 1 would be antlered. Just a few short years ago we had a 9 day season for bucks only and you could take a doe on the last weekend if you had not killed a buck. It then changed to you could have a buck and doe tag but the does could only be killed on weekends. It then changed to a buck and 2 does and they could be killed any day of the week. The next change was to got to a 16 day rifle season with a buck and 2 doe tags to be killed any day and an additional 10 day antlerless only season with rifle to starting the Friday before Christmas. During this last change we had we also went to online checkin only. Since we have gone to online check in our deer harvest numbers have dropped even though we have many more opportunities to kill a deer and those online checks can be 24 hours after the deer are killed. I know many who since there is no requirement to physically check a deer in anywhere just opt not to check it at all because they are already at home and have the deer so they just butcher it and throw it in the freezer. They don’t kill more than the limit, they just don’t check it...mostly old timers who have not caught up with technology but when we had to check deer in in person they would do it and actually liked it. The wildlife department is saying doe harvest is down and we need 10% more does taken. This is based simply on legally checked harvest numbers and not at all on over browsing or deer population surveys. If the numbers are not reported correctly they are skewed.

    The problem I see is our doe population has dropped tremendously. Here on our place we have about 6 resident does and I have been trying to increase that and we have not taken a doe at all here and still will not in the future. Our buck to doe ratio is about 2.5 bucks to 1 doe. Driving around our countryside seeing a deer is a thing of the past unless at night. I used to count better than 20 deer a morning on my way to work and it has not been that way in many years. I can’t remember the last daytime deer sighting I have had from the road here. I think the entire reason for the proposal is because the wildlife department is simply trying to increase revenue by drawing in out of state hunters. The argument I heard in the past is out of state hunters don’t want to lease land here if we only have a few days a rifle is legal and is the reason we went to 16 days. This did help bring in out of staters, mainly Texans, because I personally know several who lost leases to them when we got a 16 day season. 2500 acres next to our lease went to Texans 2 years ago because they over bid the long time guys that were already there. The lease my wife and I are on had a fellow from Texas come up 6 years ago and offer the owner 3 times what the actual lease is if he could be the only hunter and could invite a few friends and we were all removed. The owner is a stand up guy and knew we took care of his place like it was our own and declined his offer. The problem is Oklahoma went from a poor deer hunting state 20 years ago to a sleeper state and now we have deer that rival most any state around including Kansas, Missouri, and yes South Texas and our state is thinking if they increase bag limit and add an additional week of hunting and start that week earlier in the rut they will bring in more out of state dollars. I think we are on our way to being the next Iowa, Kansas, or Texas with hunting being big business...for the politicians...

    Rant over...
     
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  2. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Without going in the weeds....I see this here as well. We see opportunities for weapon choices and season expand....while the deer numbers drop and the DNR scrambling to try to find revenue. IN is not a top destination state for deer hunting...but we hold our own. IN is 95% private ground so leasing and the like are increasing here every year and getting free access to ground is nearly impossible unless you have some sort of connection with the landowner. We see out of state hunter numbers increase every year while resident numbers drop. I think it is also a reflection that many other states are seeing the same things and those hunters are seeking other/better opportunities somewhere else.

    Just as a reference point....our General firearms season is 16 consecutive days and starts the first saturday after Veteran's day in November. This tends to be at the mid point to tail end of the rut here. Been that way for the last 20 years. The DNR purposed a change and I was at the meeting and I thought there was going to be a riot!

    2 things IN does do that I like is we have a one-buck-rule. Outside of a few exceptions a hunter gets to tag one antlered deer regardless of weapon, county or otherwise, across the entire state...1! This makes you think twice about shooting some little basket rack buck. We also then set a antlerless number on a county basis. This number identifies the "bonus" antlerless deer a hunter can take in that county. If the number is high enough they also then have a special late season anlterless season as well. This is to help the DNR monitor and manage deer populations on a county basis....so they say. IN has some pretty stark habitat differences and this allows the state to adjust deer numbers according to those habitat and land use needs.

    I also like that landowners are exempt from buying tags here as long as they hunt the land they own....but it's a revenue gap that I expect the DNR to put a stop to sometime soon. They simply leave too much money out there not too....I have bought maybe 3 tags in the 20 years of my hunting....this includes deer, turkey and small game as well. This is also why my DNR has no real idea how many hunters we have out there.

    Our harvest numbers peaked in 2012 at roughly 136,000+, and now struggle to break 110,000....it shows....and hunters have certainly noticed and reacted. Couple this with recent outbreaks of EHD and some hunters are staying home and not hunting, some looking for "greener pastures" outside the state, and others are getting access pulled out from under them due to leasing and the like, and others are setting their own rules for their land as well. It's a changing world out there and some are struggling to keep up.
     
  3. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Okie, I think you pegged it 100%. From my experience in KS your assumptions about the state using the herd as a cash cow are spot on. It will hurt residents, it will hurt youth, it will hurt age class and trophy buck populations. OK and KS have a low cost of living and many people make it on a lower income than people from higher paying states. It's very difficult for most of the locals to compete with the money population from 49 other states. KS is still being pimped out, but the trophy herd is so miss-managed it's a shadow of it's former self.

    I'm truly sorry if OK is headed this direction. KS has not weathered well in my opinion.
     
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  4. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear this Okie. It sounds more like they are trying to get the population down to the magical number of far less than ten deer per square mile. With six doe tags in every ones hands there will be a huge reduction in deer population for sure. Oklahoma forestry $ could be a factor.
    http://forestry.publishpath.com/Websites/forestry/Images/Oklahoma, 2007.pdf

    The experts tell us that with deer populations over ten deer per square mile, forests can not effectively replace themselves after logging them. So while it could be outside hunting dollars that is the reason for the longer season and extra doe tags, that wouldn't be sustainable; the changes also could be linked to the forestry industry. For sure it is about dollars somewhere.
     
  5. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    My experience with foresters is that almost every one of them is a tree hugger, seeing one seedling that has been hurt by a deer tends to throw them in a tantrum, but the latest study by PennState shows that deer are actually helping our forests due to the lack of forest fires; https://news.psu.edu/story/585959/2...ng-not-stopping-densification-eastern-forests
     
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  6. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    This trend is happening in most states. The libs want to get rid of hunting so they can get rid of guns so they can control flyover country.
     
  7. Jack Terpack

    Jack Terpack Active Member

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    I agree with you that fires used to be a boon to the forests. I grew up 10 miles outside Pitttsburgh. Every year the local dairy and beef farmers would burn off their pastures to promote new green growth. I had never seen a tick on me after hunting around those pastures for rabbits, pheasants or deer. Now it's a whole different ballgame. Every time I've been in the PA woods or fields in the fall I have to strip down and check for ticks. Normally I find at least a couple. We tried to complain about not being allowed to control burn our one pasture and got no help at all from the state people. They would not give us a permit. But heaven help you if you cut down a tree within 40 yards of a creek, even if it's only a wet weather creek.
     
  8. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    While I won't disagree the intense fires that occurred precolonial every 10 years or so were one of the important factors of maintaining the original mature hardwoods of the East, I think this author needs to spend more time reading the journals of the early explorers and settlers of the eastern forests. His notion that they were more open stands of timber at that time does not mesh with the drawings or writings of those explorers. For one recommendation, read The Blackwater Chronicals. And while Natives did burn acreage it was very limited compared to the millions of acres of thick forests that existed at that time. Hence this misconception continues to lead our forest industry and even deer managers to high grade timber cuttings that have changed both the over and understory of our now present forests. Much plagiarized material can be found on the thread, The Mighty Acorn,http://deerhunterforum.com/index.php?threads/the-mighty-acorn.1814/, on this forum.
    Well that was off topic but I agree with you Okie, that seems aggressive for your state. It was needed here to begin to get numbers under control as shooting a doe was unheard of. In fact, the first time my buddy and I checked in a couple in the 90s we were given grief by some other hunters for shooting doe. Since then, doe is an option during rifle season in select counties and now a hunter who has set for a few hours doesn't think twice about taking a doe for the freezer since a buck didn't appear. But those tag options are reviewed and reset each year depending on densities. Now our DNR freely admits deer pay for their payroll and work, and the slight advantage of that, is it receives no state legislative monies which in states where that is given, then politics get involved in decision making about wildlife. So I prefer the independence as I don't want a congressman determine my season, weapons, or prices.
     
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  9. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Forest fires in our eastern hardwoods never really take off, and unless the Indians had more pines back then, they never could get a big burn going here. I think the pre-European forests must have been very diversified with trees or every size and species present. The ax, chainsaw, and highgrading changed all that in a lot of today's eastern hardwoods forests. Forrester's should focus on improper timber harvesting, which does more tree damage than deer ever can.
     
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  10. Cap'n

    Cap'n Active Member

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    It's a worthwhile rant Okie, there is no way we need that long of a season. But I can tell you the doe population is huge in central and western OK. I hunt in Kingfisher county and it’s the best hunting I’ve ever seen in my 35 years of deer hunting. Even better than a lease I had in Wheeler county TX. which was a highly sought after property. In Kingfisher I’m part of a DMAP program for @ 3000 acres. This year our goal is 35 does and 1 buck per person, which would be @ 10. The guys in our group offer $500 for the most does killed. Last year it took 7 to win it. I’ve been on the property 5 years and have only taken 3 bucks. All have been 135 or larger. Is that managing for big bucks? Yes it is, but we also shoot does and donate them to a church in Kingfisher that feeds the under privileged.I keep 3 deer a year because I like to have enough to get through to next season . Most of those have been does.
    Your lease out east should qualify for DMAP and a wildlife biologist could probably shed some light on what would be a good way to manage that herd. I’m not for a longer gun season. I don’t need it. I hunt all 3 seasons and I will definitely vote against changing it. Hopefully all us Oklahomans can defeat this bill, but I’ll tell you most people do not want to shoot does and that is a problem in most of the state that’s isn’t covered in timber like it is out in eastern OKla. Here’s a link to their proposal:https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1N...MyKtoVIyLJzQPqDyOeZy0WBk8H60/br/72156616140-l
     
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  11. swat1018

    swat1018 Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that it doesn't take long to wreck a deer herd, even like you describe, with 6 doe tags. Ask me, we had 8 doe tags here, for some time. Where I counted 54 and 50 deer yarded up for winter, 2 years in a row, 10 years ago, I counted 8 this year. It sucks, and our DNR is clueless.
     
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  12. OkieKubota

    OkieKubota Moderator Staff Member

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    I am glad you are seeing that out west but it is not happening over here in Cherokee county. Our doe herd is very low and every year we have less. People over here are killing them. We have a biologist on the ranch and back in the late 90’s we were in DMAP. We killed a few does but the folks up on east lake were really killing the does. After about 5 years of DMAP, spotlight counts, etc the biologist told us to stop killing does and we have been on that model since about 2005. Still can’t get any doe recruitment...fawn recruitment over here is horrible as well, only 2 fawns made it on our place this year. Coyotes here are unreal...
     
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  13. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    Rant or not, Okie is right ! I can tell you that one reason OK has so many good bucks is because historically it has limited the rifle season. I guess I’m behind, because I missed the change from nine days to sixteen. I’ve never hunted in OK, but know folks who do. It’s on Texas BowHunter all the time. I can’t say that I blame the hunters, but I imagine that Okie is right, revenue is at the bottom of the changes. Government can never have enough money, whether it’s the city or the feds. (See my signature !)

    I actually considered buying a place there, but decided against it because at my age I just don’t want to start over. That, and while I could live in the sticks with the nearest town thirty miles away, my wife is sixteen years my junior and still works for a living. A long commute ain’t in her plans. It’s mighty appealing though, taxes are lower and land prices are lower than in Texas, and those bucks..........;)
     
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  14. OkieKubota

    OkieKubota Moderator Staff Member

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    Several years back we had a 3 buck limit and no does with rifle or muzzleloader. In bow season you could kill 2 bucks or you could do what I did which was try for 1 with bow, 1 with muzzleloader, and 1 with rifle...even did it a few times. Luckily we went to a 2 buck limit over time and since that has happened I have seen the bucks really getting much better...back in the early 90’s we had a big buck contest in the community I lived in and a 114” deer won it. A year or 2 later a 22 year old kid shot a 142” deer and it was almost unheard of. It was in the paper. Since that time deer have been getting larger and larger and now killing a 160 is pretty common if you are a really dedicated hunter. I still know a lot of guys who still have not gotten anything bigger than a 2.5 year old and they think the deer I take are unreal but I always tell them the same thing...pass those young bucks and in a couple years you have something!
    We are in our 2nd week of rifle now and I am beyond ready for it to be over. I have a lot of work I want to do on our place but I won’t because I am gonna be disturbing our property and I don’t want to push these does out of here...
     
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  15. Deer Stuffer

    Deer Stuffer New Member

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    I got that email today from the ODWC. I briefly read through it. I haven't really had time to process it to know how I feel about it yet. Part of me says why does it matter if the season is a week longer if the end your still only allowed one buck. However I've noticed the same thing about the doe numbers here where I hunt in Wagoner county and Tulsa county. Both places I hunt seemed to be pretty equally close to a 1:1 buck doe ratio. I tend to agree with you about the does, I can't feel real good about killing does here. I would disagree about Oklahoma rivaling Kansas on big bucks. I understand ok does have and kill some big big bucks, I have mounted a few of them in my Taxidermy shop. But as a whole I don't believe oklahoma has the massive racks Kansas produces, maybe south texas but not Kansas, especially Western Kansas. BTW, Kansas is also a one buck state. Oklahoma does produce more and more big bucks every year. I wonder what would happen if we went to a one buck state. I have mixed feelings about that as well but I believe oklahoma would really continue to see bigger bucks killed.
    As far as the state wanting more money, there's no doubt about that. That's with pretty much all states and it really irritates me. I apply for and buy tags is different Western States for different species, Elk,antelope, mule deer, sheep, moose, Wyoming, arizona, neveda, Idaho, etc. It's crazy how most states are all about the money. But if I quit playing their games and quit applying for tags there would be a line of people behind me ready to take my place.
     
  16. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    OK isn't operating in a bubble. The herd reduction is on across the whole country. Whether it's money for the deer, or money for what the deer are eating, they have no ally in business or government.

    And that 10 DPSM is BS number pulled outta thin air. That's the same number they gave us in MN. Parrots don't think, they just parrot.
     
  17. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    The other about long seasons and heavy doe kills. We had really tough winters ‘16 &’17 and my buck population has yet to recover. Need those does. We’ve shot one doe n 4 yrs. I used to have at least 6 bucks on hit list each year. Now maybe 2.
    Throw n shooting 2 wks neighbors shooting before season and it’s tough to recover. Then ad the occasional EHD and such and few more are gone. Coyotes properly managed is a nonissue.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. Cap'n

    Cap'n Active Member

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    I’ll tell you one thing about Eastlake, there are packs of dogs that just live off the land. I have to run them off my place all the time. And these are BIG dogs and Pits. They work together like a pack of wolves. I’m sure they live off the land and do a great deal of harm to the fawns. I have a doe and a fawn on my place there but no buck sign at all.
    Not only does the proposed rule changes not make any sense for the state as a whole, it places a huge burden on the land owners to have to watch for trespassing for over 4 months.
     
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  19. Turkish

    Turkish Active Member

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    MS says, “hold my beer.”

    Honestly, in my area, the doe slaughter has been ongoing for 10-15 years. We saw major effects from it. They’ve started coming back but baiting prevalence as exploded in the last 5 years. I believe that is making the does more scarce than when there were actually fewer of them.
     
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  20. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    In PA we are legally allowed to shoot dogs that are chasing deer, although the game commission recommends using extreme discretion.
     

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