Due to its appealing variety of game species as well as vast open hunting seasons, Oklahoma is a State beloved by hunters. As such we have provided all of the basic information needed to get you on the way to pulling off a successful hunt in the Sooner State. For further information we recommend you visit the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (ODWC) website, where links to all other necessary material can be obtained.
How to Get a Hunting License in Oklahoma
Hunters seeking to purchase a license to legally practice their craft in Oklahoma have two suggested options. First is to do so online using the ODWC’s website. This is the speediest way to acquire a license and as such carries, a little convenience fee, and acceptable modes of payment include credit or debit cards issued by Visa or MasterCard. The second is to physically apply at one of over 700 hunting license dealers in Oklahoma. These merchants primarily include sporting goods stores and bait shops, though some convenience and larger discount stores are also involved. Amongst the mandatory pieces of information, an applicant would need to procure an Oklahoma hunting license include a valid driver’s license and social security number.
Who is Eligible for an Oklahoma Hunting License
Residents 16 years and above and non-residents 14 years and older are eligible for hunting licenses in Oklahoma. Hunters under 31 years old are required to successfully complete a formal hunter education class before being eligible to receive a standard license. However, those within this age limit who have not completed the class can still hunt with an “apprentice-designated” license. The stipulation attached to this designation is that the apprentice hunter must be accompanied by a fully-licensed hunter over the age of 18. The apprentice hunter is required to remain in close proximity to the accompanying hunter when pursuing big game than when hunting small game.
How Much Does an Oklahoma Hunting License Cost?
There are a number of different licenses available to both residents and non-residents of Oklahoma. Specific licenses are necessary to hunt specific species. However, an annual hunting license is generally required by both residents and non-residents in addition to whatever additional permits may be needed to hunt particular species, such as a big game. The cost of a resident annual hunting license in the State of Oklahoma is generally lower than that of a non-resident hunter. A particular permit for a nonresident can cost five times as much like its counterpart for a resident though some like the turkey tag, are priced the same. However, non-residents have the option of buying shorter five-day licenses which though still more expensive than a resident’s annual hunting license are less expensive than a non-resident annual license.
Places to Hunt in the State of Oklahoma
Ninety-five percent of the land in Oklahoma is privately owned, so by default, many hunters are required to use them. Under such circumstances, hunters are instructed first and foremost to get the official permission of the landowner to utilize his property. Then afterward they are advised to familiarize themselves with the particular rules and regulations the landowner has implemented when it comes to hunting on his or her property, which may be different from other parts of the States.
Despite land in the State is largely private, the Oklahoma Department of Conservation has still made approximately one million acres available for public hunting through a variety of venues. One is the numerous Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) that the State oversees. There are almost 100 WMAs open for public hunting, and hunters who visit these facilities must carry the applicable licenses in order to gain access. For more-detailed information as well as a map showing their general locations, please visit the ODWC’s WMA webpage or their WMA Public Hunting interactive map.
Like many other States, Oklahoma also has a program in place to encourage and reward private landowners for allowing conventional public access to hunters onto their estates. This initiative is called the Oklahoma Land Access Program (OLAP), and through it hunters can access private lands without personal permission from the landowner or having to pay additional charges. However, being that it is indeed private land, once again the area may have unique rules that visiting hunters must abide by. Moreover, hunters utilizing OLAP are required to follow the program’s general rules and code of conduct as found on the ODWC’s website or in their Oklahoma Hunting Official Regulation Guide. Even though OLAP only began some years ago, as of 2018, the ODWC had already secured over 50,000 acres for hunters to use through this program.
Hunters in Oklahoma also have access to a number of lands owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Although these properties are not managed by the ODWC, when it comes to hunting they are generally governed by the same rules and season dates as the rest of the State. Moreover, if a preferred land this organization owns is not open for hunting, a hunter can potentially gain access by contacting their Tulsa District Office directly and requesting such.
Hunting Guides & Outfitters
Being those big game animals are the main attraction to hunters in Oklahoma when pursuing such strong quarry, one would definitely want to consider hiring the services of a hunting guide or outfitter. Such professionals can not only direct you to the best places to find the desired game but also have all of the necessary equipment on-site. Below is a list of select hunting guides and outfitters, including some directories of recommended organizations compiled by private parties, in the State of Oklahoma:
- Choctaw Hunting Lodge
- Flying J Ranch & Hunt Club
- The Hunting Guide Directory
- Hunting in Oklahoma
- North Texas Outfitters
- Northern Skies Outfitters
- Pennington Creek Hunting Club
- Ultimate Deer Hunting
- Ultimate Waterfowl Hunting
- Western Oklahoma Trophy Outfitters
Accommodation for Hunters in Oklahoma
Many hunting guides and outfitters have also established lodges dedicated to creating the perfect base from which hunters can practice their craft. We have put together a shortlist of select establishments fitting this description in Oklahoma, complete with their basic contact information:
General Hunting Regulations in Oklahoma
Below are some general hunting regulations in the State of Oklahoma referenced from the ODWC’s Oklahoma Hunting Guide. Interested parties are encouraged to peruse that document for additional stipulations as well as more details on the ones listed below.
- Hunters cannot use remote-controlled, computer-based technology to hunt.
- Barring exceptions, headlighting and spotlighting cannot be used to hunt any species besides frogs.
- Hunting big game requires applicable licensing in addition to general hunting licenses.
- In general, motor vehicles can be used for hunting only by a physically-disabled hunter possessing applicable permits. They can be used however to follow hunting dogs so long as they are driven on public roads and waterways or permissible privates routes.
- Under the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, hunters have the right to carry firearms, even on private lands. However, firearms cannot be transported in a motor vehicle while loaded.
- Firearm suppressors, if legally owned, can be used to hunt on both public and private lands.
- A hunter cannot shoot across or position in a public road, including railroads.
- Shotgun pellets cannot be larger than a number four buckshot except when hunting waterfowl, crane, and hogs.
- Fire and smoke, whether natural or artificial, cannot be used to hunt wildlife in Oklahoma.
- Big-game species (antelopes, bear, deer, elk, and turkeys) cannot be hunted with the use of dogs. However, their carcasses can be tracked using leashed dogs, though the hunter cannot carry his hunting weapons at the same time.
- In general, during firearm antelope, bear, deer or elk seasons all hunters are required to put on hunter orange.
Oklahoma Hunting Seasons
Oklahoma is known for giving hunters the opportunity to sport virtually year-round depending on the species they’re pursuing. Some of the popular species available to hunters in Oklahoma are crows, feral hogs, pheasants, quail, rabbits, squirrels and a variety of small game and furbearers.
Big game, especially deer, are what attracts hunters to Oklahoma more than any other species. The hunting seasons for deer, antelopes, bears, elk, and turkeys spans from the Fall to the Winter, with turkeys also having an additional Spring season. Particular dates of seasons differ depending on species and method of taking used.
Feral hogs are so plentiful in this state that the rules governing their hunt are generally more relaxed than those governing other species – especially when they are being hunted on private lands.
Migratory Birds and Waterfowl
Species such as doves, ducks, geese, mergansers, sandhill cranes, snipe, teal, and woodcocks fall under this classification. Hunting seasons vary for each but generally fall within the months of late Fall to mid-Winter.
Rabbits can be hunted from the last quarter of the year to the first quarter of the next one.
Species that fall under this category include badgers, bobcats, foxes, minks, muskrats, opossums, raccoons, river otters, and weasels. They all share a common season, which encompasses the late part of the year to the early part of the next.
In Oklahoma, crows usually have two hunting seasons, with both falling into the timeframe of last quarter of the year to the first quarter of the next.
Despite the fact that Oklahoma has virtually year-round hunting, it is still imperative that hunters know the exact dates of the seasons for the particular species they’re pursuing. To get more-precise, up-to-date information on the hunting seasons for the species listed above, please visit the ODWC’s official website.
Registering Successful Hunting Harvest in Oklahoma
The ODWC requires that all successful deer and elk harvest be reported within 24 hours of the hunter leaving the hunting area. Additionally, all deer, elk and turkey harvests are to be done so using their online E-Check system. Antelopes also have to be reported within 24 hours yet physically at either Love’s Travel Shop in Boise City, Guymon Fire Department in Guymon or with an authorized employee of the ODWC who may be present in the county of the hunt.
Bear harvest follows a very special procedure. First, the bear must be properly tagged as soon as it is killed. Then the hunter must call one of the numerous representatives of the ODWC as listed on the Oklahoma Hunting website. Finally, the bear carcass has to be physically checked-in as instructed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hunting in the State of Oklahoma
Q. Is Oklahoma serious about enforcing its hunting laws?
A. Although hunting in Oklahoma may be more liberal in terms of statutes than other States, they do expect all hunters to fully abide by them and are not hesitant to take legal action in this regard.
Q.Does Oklahoma have lifetime hunting licenses available, and if so how do I apply?
A. Yes, Oklahoma has lifetime hunting licenses available to residents. You can apply by downloading the application from the ODWC’s website and either submitting it in person at their headquarters or mailing it in.
Q.Does Oklahoma have a hunting license for the disabled?
A. Yes, Oklahoma does have a hunting license for disabled residents of the State, and not only is the Social Security Disability Hunting License less expensive than a standard one, but it is also valid for five years.
After conducting this research, it seems that Oklahoma lives up to its reputation of being a great place to hunt, especially if you’re interested in the big game, feral swine, birds or squirrels. This State is relatively-lax when it comes to hunting regulations, and it features many well-structured institutions dedicated to making hunting expeditions successful. We would also like to wish you great success on your next sports outing in Oklahoma and once again happy hunting!