The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday voted to open a black bear hunting season beginning Oct. 1 in four southeastern Oklahoma counties. The bear season (archery and muzzleloader only) is contingent upon lawmakers passing a black bear hunting license, but commissioners on Wednesday also created two other new hunting seasons that do not need legislative approval. Bow hunters will get a two-week archery season for antelope in the Panhandle beginning Sept. 14. In northeastern Oklahoma, elk hunting will be allowed on private lands. State wildlife officials say the antelope population in Cimarron and Texas counties is now more than 5,000 and can support additional hunting. "Since there is a limited percentage of success with archery on antelope, we think the population can withstand the (hunting) pressure very easily,” said Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Antelope archery licenses will be sold to the general public and will not be part of the state’s controlled hunts program, which is a drawing for state hunts. An archery antelope permit will cost $51 for residents. A state hunting license also will be required. For non-residents, an archery antelope permit will cost $301, which includes a hunting license. The bag limit will be two antelope but only one buck. In northeastern Oklahoma, elk hunting will be allowed in Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes, Sequoyah and Muskogee counties. The northeast elk season will be open from the start of deer archery season to the end of deer gun season. Elk herds are growing on some of the public wildlife management areas in northeast Oklahoma and the Nickel Preserve in Cherokee County, state wildlife officials said. The herds are spilling over onto private lands and eating crops. Opening a hunting season will provide more opportunities for Oklahoma sportsmen as well as reducing agricultural losses, state wildlife officials said.
Youth turkey season opens SaturdayOklahoma’s youth turkey season is Saturday and Sunday. The youth season is open to ages 17 and younger, but hunters must be accompanied by an adult. Hunters ages 16 and 17 must possess a state hunting license and turkey license, unless exempt. Hunters 15 and younger must have a turkey license only. Unfilled turkey licenses this weekend may be used during the regular spring turkey season, which opens Monday. The youth season limit is one tom turkey, which is included as part of the county and regular spring season bag limits. FROM STAFF REPORTS