Deer gun season begins this Saturday and lasts through December 4 across all counties in Oklahoma. Deer gun season is the single most popular sporting event in the state with more than 200,000 participants each season.
With deer gun season beginning on Saturday, many wonder if hunting can really help conservation efforts in the United States. The answer is a wholehearted yes!
In addition to helping to control wildlife populations, hunters and anglers head up some of the most popular conservation programs in the country. Here are a few facts about how hunting helps conservation from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
- In 1900, only 500,000 whitetails remained. Thanks to conservation work spearheaded by hunters, today there are more than 32 million.
- Habitat, research and wildlife law enforcement work, all paid for by hunters, help countless non-hunted species.
- All together, hunters pay more than $1.6 billion a year for conservation programs. No one gives more!
- Hunting funds conservation AND the economy, generating $38 billion a year in retail spending.
- Avid hunter Theodore Roosevelt created our national forests and grasslands and forever protected 230 million acres for wildlife and the public to use and enjoy.
The ODWC has worked hard with hunters to educate and help deer populations remain steady:
Fueling deer hunting popularity is a management plan that serves our diverse hunters’ interests by providing region-leading season lengths and bag limits along with a strong education component outlining the benefits of balanced sex ratios and selective buck harvest. That balanced voluntary based approach has gained national attention as it has improved the buck age structure over the past decade.
Oklahoma is listed as one of the top five states showing declines in yearling buck harvests and led Kip Adams, the QDMA Education and Outreach Director to say, “I think Oklahoma has done a tremendous job protecting yearling bucks and improving the age structure of their deer herd.”
Stay up-to-date on regulations and laws when hunting deer in Oklahoma this season through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s website.