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A dumb hunting law

by Ed Godfrey Published: December 14, 2010
Carl Moore of Oklahoma City took this white buck in Logan County during deer muzzleloader season, but he had written permission from the state wildlife direcotor.
Carl Moore of Oklahoma City took this white buck in Logan County during deer muzzleloader season, but he had written permission from the state wildlife direcotor.

Former state representative Terry Harrison, D-McAlester, killed a piebald deer on his land shortly after Thanksgiving.
He was proud of the unique trophy. He called his local newspaper, the McAlester News-Capital, and the newspaper published a photo.
Then a friend of his who happens to be a game warden informed Harrison that he first needed written permission from the state wildlife director before shooting such a deer.
Harrison, who did not seek re-election this year, didn’t know about the regulation and turned himself in to another game warden. Harrison was fined $296.
It was a deserving fine. Every hunter is expected to know the regulations, especially a former lawmaker who served on the House wildlife committee and helped write some of the state’s hunting rules.
But this is a dumb and unnecessary hunting law. All it does is inconvenience hunters who come across a white deer or piebald deer (which is a deer with a combination of spots) in the field.
Since 1998, the law has required Oklahoma deer hunters to first obtain written permission from the state wildlife director before harvesting a white or piebald deer.
It was passed after a Guthrie hunter killed a piebald buck in Logan County in 1997, upsetting some who didn’t like the fact that such an unusual deer was killed. Some Native Americans believe white deer are sacred animals.
White or piebald deer are just like any other whitetail deer except they are a different color. The white color phase and spots are the result of a genetic mutation.
There are pockets of such deer around the state, including in Pittsburg County and Logan County.
Two or three white or piebald deer are killed every year in Oklahoma by hunters. There has been at least one harvested in Logan County each of the past four years.
The regulation may appease anti-hunters who think white and piebald deer need protecting, but neither the present state wildlife director nor his predecessor has ever denied anyone permission to hunt them.
So the regulation is useless, except maybe to make the wallets of unknowing hunters like Harrison a little lighter.

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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