antlerless deer season

Wildlife officials say they plan to increase seasons to target doe populations. KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission increased opportunities for antlerless deer hunting this fall during its regular meeting May 4

The commission held its first virtual meeting to comply with social distancing guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was held via videoconference and streamed for public viewing.

Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who manage the state’s deer herd urged increased bag limits and more open days for antlerless hunting.

Muzzleloader and rifle season antlerless bag limits will increase in most zones, but the total combined deer bag limit for each hunter will not change. All deer taken during muzzleloader and rifle seasons count toward a hunter’s combined season limit of six deer. Antlered deer limits remain the same.

Chief of Wildlife Bill Dinkines told commissioners antlerless harvest as a percentage of total deer harvest has decreased from 42% in 2014 to 36% in 2018.

The new regulations are for all 10 of the state’s antlerless deer management zones. The holiday antlerless deer season will increase from 10 to 14 days with the bag limit increasing to two. Antlerless deer taken in the holiday season do not count toward a hunter’s regular season limit of six.

To promote antlerless deer harvest, a public information campaign will begin.

Also at the meeting, the commission changed days for waterfowl seasons. The midseason split will be reduced from 12 days to five days, which will allow opening day to fall later on the calendar. Also, Zones 1 and 2 will have the same dates: Nov. 14-29, and Dec. 5-Jan. 31, 2021. Two youth-only hunting days will occur Nov. 7 and Feb. 6, 2021, and those days will now be open to active and veteran military members.