Nearly a quarter of a million hunters are set to grab their guns and stalk through Oklahoma’s woods when deer gun season opens the week before Thanksgiving, according to Micah Holmes with the state Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“There’s more deer hunters out in the woods on opening day of deer gun season than there is at Lewis Field, at the OU football stadium, and at the Tulsa football stadium combined,” Holmes says.
But last season, the number of deer harvested was down nearly 25 percentcompared to 2011, to only about 88,000. It was the worst deer season since the 1990s.
Years of drought have taken a toll on wildlife populations in Oklahoma, and the people who hunt and fish for them. Less vegetation means less reproduction, fewer fawns, hungrier prey, and withering water holes that harbor disease. Western Oklahoma didn’t get a lot of rain this summer, but Holmes says he’s optimistic about deer season, not because of the amount of rainfall, but the timing of it.