State wildlife officials will suggest a major change to the deer hunting regulations for the 2013 hunting season by proposing that only one buck could be killed by hunters during the combined muzzleloader and gun seasons.
Deer hunters still would be allowed a total of two bucks for all seasons, but under the proposal, one buck would have to be taken with a bow and the other harvested during either muzzleloader or gun season.
Bow hunters could still choose to fill both buck tags during archery season.
The proposal is another step in the direction by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to manage the state's deer herd for bigger, or trophy, bucks.
A growing number of deer hunters in the state are clamoring for state wildlife officials to manage for bigger bucks with more conservative hunting regulations.
The Wildlife Department officially will open a public comment period on hunting and fishing rule changes for 2013 beginning Dec. 3 on its website, www.wildlifedepartment.com. The public comment period will remain open until Jan. 11.
“I think it will be something folks will feel pretty strongly about one way or the other,” said Micah Holmes, spokesman for the Wildlife Department. “We encourage people to take the time and go online and tell us what they think, and how they think we should move forward.”
A public hearing on the proposed rule change will also be held Jan. 8 in Oklahoma City at Wildlife Department headquarters on 1801 N. Lincoln.
Any proposed rule change must be approved by the eight-member Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, the governing body of the Wildlife Department.
Heath Herje, the man who started Oklahoma's first Quality Deer Management Association chapter in the state, thinks the proposal is a good move.