Oklahoma Deer Population:  An estimated 625,000 deer in 2015, up from 575,000 in 2014 which was the lowest population in 10 years.  About 650,000 before the drought in 2010.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Oklahoma deer hunting data and news archive.

Oklahoma Deer News

... Last year, a combination of drought and a major ice storm during the deer gun season produced one of the lowest harvests in recent years ... 88,467 deer ... Oklahoma's deer population is still depressed from the drought, especially in western Oklahoma ...

... hunters on a lease north of Eagletown discovered four deer, two of which were decapitated ...

Deer rut peaking just as gun season set to open Saturday November 15, 2016 Oklahoma, Tahlequah Daily Press
... So far this season the numbers don’t look good. At the end of muzzleloader season Oklahoma harvest totals were little more than 24,000 deer...

...  Farmers Insurance Seasonal Smarts Digest reported that animal collisions account for 39 percent of all comprehensive insurance claims filed in Oklahoma during the fall... Hunter success is down about 8.5 percent from last year at this time ... 

Poacher Kills Deer At Vinita Hunting Facility October 23, 2016 Oklahoma, News On 6
... The 1,200 natural acres of high-fenced property are also a prime place for hunters ... willing to pay big bucks to do it....  anywhere from a $1,000 to $10,000." ... someone fired a rifle from the road onto Rusty's property ...

Deer herd rebuilding, which means better hunting this year October 21, 2016 Oklahoma, Joplin Globe
... After a five-year drought killed off food sources and habitat, thinning animal populations, the state Department of Wildlife and Conservation is reporting a rebound...

Oklahoma Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game and Fish
... A prolonged drought that finally eased last year likely contributed to the declining deer population in recent years, especially in Western Oklahoma, which was much drier than central and eastern regions...

... "The deer are in their mating season, which is called rut, and they're more active and they're out chasing each other around ... Road incidents with deer have actually been down in recent years after a virus hurt the deer population...

... When I started with the Wildlife Department in 1979, Oklahomans were harvesting about 15,000 deer annually. Now, it is about 100,000...

Bowhunters sought as observers during deer season September 7, 2016 Oklahoma, Pryor Daily Times
...  register as an official observer and become a citizen scientist this year...  observers will record the number of deer, wild turkeys and furbearers they see ... for evaluating population demographics and the general health of these wildlife populations ...

Tribal-state compacts will benefit Wildlife Department September 4, 2016 Oklahoma, NewsOK.com
... Under the three-year agreements with both tribes, the Cherokees and Choctaws will be able to issue tribal hunting and fishing licenses to its citizens that provide the same privileges as a state hunting and fishing license...

... grants the Choctaw Nation the ability to purchase at least 50,000 annual hunting and fishing licenses at $2 apiece for its resident citizens... the Choctaw Nation will pay a lump sum of $200,000 and an administrative cost payment of $75,000 .. up to six deer licenses ...

Local fawn crop strong August 7, 2016 Oklahoma, Stillwater News Press
... collecting trail camera photos in an attempt to find out how many fawns ... first barometer of herd health I look at each summer is the ratio of twins born compared to everything else. This year more than a third of does captured on my trail cameras have twins, and the true number may be closer to half...

... Senate Bill 1142 would allow for hunting wild pigs with spotlights at night without a hunting license ...  it will open the door for deer poachers and essentially shut game wardens off from doing their jobs effectively...

Oklahoma hunters can soon use suppressors on public land April 27, 2016 Guns.com
... HB 2637, revises state law to grant the use of federally approved suppressors on public land. An amendment that would have made it unlawful to use subsonic ammunition ... was later removed before passage...The Oklahoma State Game Warden Association ... lobbied against the public land expansion ...

Ranchers brace for the worst during northwest Oklahoma wildfire April 6, 2016 KOKH FOX25
... named the 350 Complex Fire, has burned over 50,000 acres ... You see dead livestock - cattle, deer, coyotes - that'll show you fast a fire can move. When you see dead deer just laying there, that's a fast moving fire...

What happens to wildlife in a wildfire? March 25, 2016 Oklahoma, Wichita Eagle
...   “There were a lot of deer moving, really running way ahead of the flames,” ...  once that grass does begin growing, Brunson said life could get much better for most kinds of prairie wildlife. The habitat could become the best in several years...

Yarrow perfect for Oklahoma gardens March 24, 2016 Oklahoma, Muskogee Daily Phoenix
... Yarrow (Achillea or Achillia) comes in many colors and heights ... Yarrows are also deer, rabbit, drought and dry soil tolerant....

Browse survey gives better deer picture February 14, 2016 Oklahoma, Enid News
...  “A property can have a deer per 20 acres [32 per square mile] and actually be understocked ... ”  ...The key to making a browse survey work is knowing the level of preference for browsing of each species of plants. OSU Cooperative Extension has a document, “White-tailed Deer Habitat Evaluation and Management Guide” 

Low harvest totals, no problem February 6, 2016 Oklahoma, Stillwater NewsPress
... The drop in deer checked in online last season was nearly 13,000 from the year before ... Weather was the number one factor in the drop in harvest ... lack of frosty temperatures brought nocturnal activity that just wouldn’t budge into daylight hours...

Oklahoma Game Wardens Arrest Two For Poaching January 27, 2016 Klahoma's Own Channel 9
... two people for poaching deer in Delaware County. The deer were killed without permission on Christmas Day in a licensed commercial facility ...

Facebook posts lead to disturbing poacher arrests January 20, 2016 Oklahoma, KFOR-TV
... The elk, famous in the Tahlequah area, was decapitated and dumped on a wildlife preserve... When poachers strike, they [Wildlife Department] simply post a picture of the crime online and watch as the tips pour in...

Deer archery ends, indoor leagues begin January 18, 2016 Oklahoma, Tulsa World
... As of the last day of deer archery (Friday, Jan. 15), the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife reported 85,091 deer had been checked.  That total is down from the 2014-15 numbers (97,265), which had marked a strong increase from the previous year...

...  fined more than $11,000 last week for selling two deer skulls ... Deer were hunted to near extinction and it took decades before the population became healthy again ... It is legal to sell deer antler sheds ...

Total deer harvest likely lower this season January 10, 2016 Oklahoma, Tulsa World
... it looks like the total will be below the 2014-15 season total of 97,265... ... The good news this year is we had multiple people reporting seeing twins and lots of fawns and young deer,” he said. “We are recovering from the drought ...the acorn crop was incredible this year ... 

Deer population down November 26, 2015 Oklahoma, Enid News
... “The drought over the past five years hurt the deer population numbers, about 10 to 15 percent overall,” said Tracy Daniel, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation district captain. “Some of the counties —like Woods and Major — the drought impacted them really hard, but Garfield and Grant, those numbers are a little better.” ...

...  "It is just like our dogs. This is your K-9 version of a hoofed animal. It is his yard, those are his people and you better stay away or I'm going to get you." ...  King said possible predators can range from foxes to coyotes and bobcats, to birds of prey...

Colder forecast ushers in deer rifle season February 20, 2015 Oklahoma, Muskogee Daily Phoenix
... Some reports indicate the drought could still be reducing herd numbers and deer harvests. Hunters in western counties of the state might still see fewer deer than they might have three or four years ago. Drought conditions are far less severe in most of central and eastern Oklahoma. Springtime rains this year brought much of central and eastern parts of the state back to near normal conditions...

Rut Report November 18, 2015 Oklahoma, NewsOK.com
... southeast:  Habitat is great with more food on the ground than in recent years. Lots of acorns, persimmons and beautyberries....central:  The region had a very wet early summer, which created an abundance of natural foods. Where oaks are present, acorns are abundant...

Oklahoma data:   In 2016 the deer population is rebounding from a five year drought.  An estimated 625,000 deer in 2015, about 200,000 deer hunters. The mule deer population was estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 for 2015 Good weather and rain increased the deer population in the central and eastern part of the state in 2015 and conditions continued to improve in 2016.  The drought in other areas, particularly the west, and an ice storm during the deer gun season resulted in a low deer harvest of 88,467 in 2015. Over the five years of drought, the population fell by 10 to 15 percent.  The 2014 deer population was the lowest in 10 years, estimated at 575,000.  Spring rains in 2014 improved fawn survival.  Rain in the central region in the fall of 2013 and good acorn production in the northeast improved herd health.   The drought devastated populations in the northwest.   
     A widespread outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) also reduced populations in 2012.  Fawn survival was very low in the southwestern portion of the state in 2011.  Drought reduced populations in 2011 and 2012, a population of about 650,000 before the drought in 2010.  About 200,000 deer hunters in 2015.  Deer densities are higher in the east.  Deer in the southeast mountains have more limited forage that prairie deer supplemented by agriculture.
     Deer density is highest in the southeast where there is rugged forest with steep hills.  Total historic deer harvest below from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
     As a result of market hunting and unregulated hunting, deer were virtually extinct in 1914 - 1916.  Hunting was prohibited in 1922, reopened in six counties in 1933 with 235 bucks taken.  Hunting was closed for most of the next decade and in 1943 deer were transplanted into the state for several years until the state opened a state-wide gun season in 1954.  Estimated 1989 population:  250,000.  Hunters took more than 40,000 deer in 1990, 25 percent does.  In 2000 the harvest exceeded 100,000
     More than half the bucks harvested in the state recently have been 3.5 years old or older, compared to about 33 percent on average - better demographics for the herd.  Hunting Statistics  The 2013 hunt took 59.3 percent bucks. In 2013 the state started the s “Hunters In The Know Let Bucks Grow,” program, which encourages hunters to pass up shots on younger bucks in favor of taking only mature bucks.  Hunting generates an estimated $600 million annually in the state.  About 200,000 hunters.  Legal to feed deer.
    About 300 elk in the panhandle, first hunting season opened in 2014.  The 2015-16 report.
    At least 1500 bears, based on a previous estimate, but a growing population in the southeast.
Report Poaching:   Operation Game Thief hotline at 1 (800) 522-8039. Rewards are available

Other useful links:
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Hunting Regulations   

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