How much longer before there will be no more deer check in stations?
While in my hometown of Stigler over Thanksgiving I was surprised to discover there wasn't a deer check station in town anymore.
In fact, there are 28 fewer deer check stations across Oklahoma this year than there were last year. Expect that number to continue to decline as more hunters opt for the convenience and ease of checking in their deer electronically on the department's website.
This is the third deer season the electronic check in option has been available and the number of hunters using it increases each year.
With one week still left in the deer gun season, the number of deer e-checked by hunters this year had already exceeded last season's total, said Micah Holmes, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
State wildlife officials are not requiring check stations to provide the online service but they are suggesting it, he said.
“We have been encouraging folks to offer the (electronic) check station service at their place of businesses,” Holmes said. “All they need is a computer with Internet service.”
But he acknowledged that as the online option continues to grow in popularity, it may make it less desirable for businesses to serve as check in stations.
A failure to communicate
School libraries might not be the best place to check in deer.
It seems faculty members in the small eastern Oklahoma community of Watts were having a meeting in the school library when they were interrupted by a young girl who reported there was man in the library with blood on his clothes who needed help.
Startled, the school teachers rushed from the meeting to help the man only to find a deer hunter fresh from the woods who was trying to use the library's computer to check in his deer.
Oklahoma producing bigger bucks
More evidence that Oklahoma is slowly earning a reputation for its trophy deer hunting come from the latest edition of Boone & Crockett's “Records of North American Big Game.”
Since 1932, Boone & Crockett has tracked trophies entered in 38 different categories of native North American big game.
The record books are published every six years. The 13th and recently released edition features entries from 2004-2009.
For typical whitetails, Oklahoma ranked 15th nationally based on the number of entries, a jump from 24th from the previous six-year time period.
For non-typicals whitetails, Oklahoma ranked 14th nationally compared to 12th in the previous record book.
The minimum score to be listed in the Boone & Crockett record book is 160 for typicals and 185 for non-typicals.
There were 46 trophy whitetails from Oklahoma listed in the new book for the most recent six-year period, more than any other previous six-year time period.
It's much easier for deer hunters to be listed in Oklahoma's Cy Curtis trophy deer record book. To be eligible for a Cy Curtis award, a typical deer must score at least 135. For non-typicals, it's 150.
Cy Curtis is the Wildlife Department biologist most credited for rebuilding Oklahoma's deer population through a trapping and transplant program.