Hunting wild game has evolved from an ancient tradition to the formal process it is today, replete with licenses, formalized hunting seasons and more than one hundred legal hunt sites in Oklahoma alone.

To be legal to hunt, licensing depends on the season, resident status and age of the hunter, says Kelly Adams, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s communications and education supervisor. 

The most popular hunting season is the deer gun season, which opens the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs for sixteen days.

The types of prey most readily available in Oklahoma include deer, elk, antelope, bear, turkey, dove, crow, woodcock, gallinule, various waterfowl, squirrel, rabbit, quail, pheasant, coyote “and other various fur-bearers,” says Adams. “Some species are more abundant than others and some are only regionally abundant.”

Both experienced hunters and those new to the sport should be concerned with what makes for good hunting weather – and what kind of weather is best for just staying home.

“It depends on the hunter’s skill, the species they’re hunting and the method of hunting,” explains Adams. “For example, extremely windy days are hard to hunt, but especially difficult for archery hunters.”   

When it comes to the do’s and don’ts of hunting apparel, weaponry choices, and even how much noise to make during a hunt, Adams suggests educating oneself on how each specific season of hunting has different requirements.

For example, “turkey hunters should not wear red, white or blue,” she says. Not for patriotic reasons, but because “red is the color most hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler’s head from the hen’s blue-colored head.”

Want to be effective in time spent hunting?  Check out the territory you’re in carefully before you start.

“Scouting is the single most important thing a hunter can do to ensure success,” says Adams. “Being properly licensed and familiar with the rules and regulations is important. If hunting alone, make sure to tell somewhere where you’ll be.”

To learn more about the state’s hunting seasons, visit 

Gun Safety 101

• Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. 

• Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. 

• Never drink alcohol or use over-the-counter/prescription drugs before or while shooting.

• Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

• Understand that falls tend to be the most common cause of injuries.

• Always check equipment and stands, and use safety belts to prevent falls.

• Avoid permanent tree stands, as they are more likely to deteriorate. 

• Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Place your finger on the trigger only when you’re ready to shoot.

• Always control the muzzle. Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and remember that wherever the muzzle points is in the cross hairs. Don’t overlook the possibility of a ricochet.

• Be sure of your target. You’re responsible for knowing what’s in front of your target, near your target and beyond your target. If you aren’t certain about any of
the three, don’t take the shot.

Courtesy: The Mayo Clinic Health System and the Firearm Industry Trade Association

Image cutline: Oklahoma has a wide range of hunting seasons throughout the year, with popular prey like deer, elk, turkey and dove. Photo courtesy the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

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