Oklahoma sportsmen on Monday can officially begin to share their opinion on the Wildlife Department's proposal to lower the buck limit to one for the combined deer muzzleloader and gun seasons beginning next year.
The public comment period on the proposed regulation change will remain open until Jan. 11. Sportsmen can submit their comments to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on its website at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
A public hearing on proposed rule changes will be held Jan. 8 in Oklahoma City at the headquarters of the Wildlife Department, 1801 N Lincoln.
Here are some of the opinions expressed by readers of The Oklahoman on the proposal:
“I strongly believe in significant changes toward buck management. My son and I have only hunted deer for the last four years.
“In that time our trips to the taxidermists have left us scratching our heads why the rack development and age of the bucks has become noticeably smaller each year.
“A buck does not even reach sexual maturity until 2 years of age. Combine that with the stats in the article (almost half of the bucks harvested in Oklahoma are 2 ½-years-old or younger), bucks are being taken without any chance to breed.
“This is an unacceptable loss of what could be an excellent gene pool.”
Patrick Dreyer, Edmond
“I do not support the limit to one buck per muzzleloader and gun. Most hunters would love a trophy buck. Who wouldn't?
“But most also are hunting for the thrill, fun and most of all the meat. I often have years where we are lucky to see one deer, let alone harvest one. If a hunter sees a buck, let him take it.”
Bob Braudrick, Edmond
“The only way to get people to not shoot little bucks would be an incentive program by the department to increase buck size.
“I don't know anybody who shoots little bucks because they have an extra tag ... The Wildlife Department needs to rethink this proposal.”
Brad Sherry, Yukon
“I'm all for the one buck limit. I have been hunting for 15 years and I have lived in Oklahoma and Kansas. I have seen what a one buck limit can do.
“If they would make the hunter harvest a doe before they can shoot a buck that would help.”
John Hix, Fort Supply
“I am opposed to the proposed deer hunting regulation. Why? Takes away hunting opportunity. For those of us who prefer gun hunting (black powder and rifle), if we are fortunate to harvest a black powder buck, we are essentially done for the year.
“Many of us are not going to sit in the woods during rifle season without a buck tag in our pocket. Most of us don't harvest two bucks, but for the few who do, why take away the opportunity?
“It's just not right for gun hunters to be limited to one buck a year while those who also archery hunt can harvest two.
“The (Wildlife) Department would like to see a higher doe harvest, but this regulation would likely lower it. Fewer hunters would likely be in the woods if they already harvested a buck with black powder.
“Would this regulation even work? The percentage of hunters who kill two bucks a year is fairly low. Would there be enough bucks saved to make a significant difference?
Garland Wright, Holdenville