Proposal would restrict 'gun powder' hunting
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 6:46 AM
With the opening of rifle season for deer this weekend, hunters who use both rifles and primitive guns to hunt deer may be enjoying their last season with a chance to take a buck in both seasons.
A proposal will be considered this winter to allow hunters to take only one buck with a muzzle-loader or with a rifle, according to Erik Bartholomew, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Currently the combined season annual limit is six deer, no more than two of which may be antlered.
That rule allows hunters to take one buck with a rifle and one with a muzzle-loader or with archery equipment. The proposed rule would force hunters to choose just one "gun powder" method and take a second buck with archery equipment only.
"It's something that will be discussed as part of our annual regulations process," Bartholomew said. The proposal, along with several other hunting, trapping and fishing regulations proposals, will be posted on the department's web site and be the subject of public discussion online and in public meetings in December and January.
The latest Big Game Report issued by the department shows 11,001 bucks were killed in the 2011 muzzle-loader season. Rifle season hunters killed 42,546 bucks. The report does not track how many hunters killed bucks with both muzzle-loader and modern rifle.
The proposed rule may be a reflection of increased pressure to reduce the buck harvest in the interest of growing more trophy animals, Bartholomew said.
Some critics of the "primitive season" contend that modern muzzle-loaders have advanced to the degree that the hunting experience is increasingly similar to using a modern rifle. Some hunters also lobby generally for a one-buck limit overall with a push to harvest only mature males both as a population strategy and for growing Oklahoma's reputation as a trophy deer state.
"We do hear from the (Quality Deer Management Association) and some others that a one-buck season is what more hunters want," Bartholomew said. "But not everyone wants that, a lot of people are still interested in just shooting a legal buck."
Oklahoma deer seasons
Archery: Oct. 1-Jan. 15
Muzzle-loader (primitive): Oct. 27-Nov. 4
Rifle: Nov. 17-Dec. 2
Holiday antlerless deer gun: Dec. 21-30
Original Print Headline: Proposal would restrict 'gun powder' hunting
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357