Deer and bear archery seasons among hunting openings run October 1 – Daily Ardmoreite

October 1 will be a busy day for thousands of stick and string hunters in Oklahoma. This Saturday is when multiple archery hunting seasons will open across the state. These seasons are:

• Deer archery, until January 15, 2023.

• Elk archery, on private land until January 15, 2023 (or until quota is reached).

• Black bear archery, until October 16th.

• Fall Turkey Archery, until January 15, 2023.

• Pronghorn archery, until October 14th.

The popularity of bowhunting continues to grow in Oklahoma. For the third year in a row, bow deer hunters set a record with 36,522 deer taken, which accounted for 31% of all deer harvested in the state last year.

The annual Game Harvest Survey (GHS), a science-based survey conducted by the Department of Wildlife, has tracked hunter statistics for decades. The GHS estimated that 117,216 archers took to the field last season with a stag license in hand.

“Another off season has come and gone. Big game hunters will return to the woods on October 1 and have a lot to look forward to,” said Dallas Barber, big game biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“Populations are in good shape even amid the drought conditions that plagued much of the state over the summer. These first few weeks can be tough due to hot conditions, so bowhunters might put in more effort in this first and last hour of legal shooting light.

Barber said the start of the season is the perfect time to take advantage of antlerless deer opportunities. Why not stock the freezer before you focus on bagging that big dollar?

According to the Big Game Harvest Report 2021-22 published in the September/October issue of outdoor oklahoma magazine, bowhunters caught 16,097 antlerless deer versus 20,425 antlered deer.

“Harvesting deer is essential to maintaining a healthy herd,” he said. “It’s time again for hunters to rise to the challenge of letting the young bucks grow and catch a doe.”

In southeastern Oklahoma, bowhunters captured 66 black bears last year. Senior wildlife biologist Jeff Ford said hot, dry summer conditions could make this year’s bear hunt more difficult.

“These conditions can affect the fall mast crop, making it harder to find good bear signs in the woods. So focus on water resources to find signs. Bears will frequent waterholes when the weather is hot.

“I would say the most important thing… is to find an area with a cool bear sign and stick with it. Most successful bear hunters start early in the season and you may have to sit all day.

Ford suggests that public land hunters should search for areas with acorns (preferably white oak), which are most preferred by bears, as early as possible. “The acorns will start falling around October 1, and the bears will go after them.”

Bear hunters (including lifetime license holders) must purchase a bear license before the season opens, as these licenses will not be sold after September 30.

For complete regulations — including required licenses, open areas, harvest quotas, and reporting requirements — see Oklahoma Fish and Game Regulations 2022-23 online at www. departmentoflife.com, on the Go Outdoors Oklahoma or Apple or Android mobile app, or in free print at license dealers statewide.

Earnest A. Martinez