Muzzleloader deer season slated for Oct. 27-Nov. 4

Oklahoma sportsmen who enjoy mixing their time afield with a little of
the “good old days” will be taking to the woods soon for the 2007 deer
muzzleloader season.

Spanning nine days (Oct. 27 – Nov. 4) deer muzzleloader season offers
hunters a chance to hunt deer weeks in advance of the popular deer gun
season (Nov. 17 – Dec. 2).

In recent years, participation in muzzleloader season has been on the
rise, as well as the hunter success rate. Last year, hunters set a new
muzzleloader harvest record with 29,519 deer taken.

“This year looks like it could be another good one statewide,” said
Jerry Shaw, big game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation. “After getting a lot of rain this past year, Oklahoma’s
deer herd looks healthy, and hunters should do well by hunting areas
that have proven successful in the past.”

From wide-open prairie to pine-covered mountains, Oklahomans are blessed
with a wide variety of terrain that whitetail deer call home. Many of
the wildlife management areas in the state are open for all or at least
a portion of the nine-day muzzleloader season. According to Shaw,
though, it is always a good idea to do some scouting before the season
no matter where you go.

“It can really pay to know the land you are hunting as well as something
about the deer that are moving in the area,” Shaw said.

Hunters can do a little virtual scouting and never leave the comfort of
home by logging on to wildlifedepartment.com. The Web site offers an
award-winning digital wildlife management area atlas. And best of all,
it is free. In addition to detailed maps, sportsmen can find information
such as camping locations and contacts for local biologists.

“Using some of these available resources may help some hunters harvest a
nice deer this year,” Shaw said.

Not only can hunters harvest a buck, but most of the state is open to
antlerless hunting every day during the muzzleloader season. New this
year, hunters can harvest three deer (one antlered and two antlerless)
during muzzleloader season and must have a deer license to hunt for
each, unless exempt. If hunters harvest two antlerless deer, at least
one of those antlerless deer must be taken in antlerless zone two (see
page 17 of the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide”).

In addition, resident muzzleloader hunters must carry an appropriate hunting license and a
fishing and hunting legacy permit, unless exempt. Nonresident
muzzleloader hunters must also carry a fishing and hunting legacy
permit. As an extra incentive for heading to the woods, hunters can
harvest a turkey with their muzzleloaders Nov. 3-4 in most of the state.
A fall turkey license is required, unless exempt. Fall turkey gun season
runs Nov. 3-16, and details on the season are available in the current
“Oklahoma Hunting Guide.”

For newcomers to the outdoors, going hunting during the muzzleloader
season may be easier than ever. New to this year’s hunting seasons is
Oklahoma’s apprentice-designated hunting license for certain individuals
who have not completed the Wildlife Department’s hunter education
course. Hunters age 16-35 who have not completed hunter education can
buy an apprentice-designated hunting license and hunt while accompanied
by a licensed hunter 21 years old or older who has completed the hunter
education course, or a licensed hunter 21 years old or older who is
otherwise exempt from hunter education (includes those 36 years old or
older, those honorably discharged or currently active in the Armed
Forces or members of the National Guard). Hunters under 16 years old
must complete a hunter education course to hunt big game or to buy any
big game hunting license.

For specific information regarding which areas are open to muzzleloader
season, licenses, bag limits, blaze orange clothing requirements or
legal firearms, consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or log onto
wildlifedepartment.com.

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