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After Record 2020 Season, Bow Hunting For Deer Set To Open Again

Carmon Merriman Briggs
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Bow hunting season for deer in Oklahoma starts Oct. 1.

Micah Holmes is a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He said archery hunting has increased in popularity over recent years.

“It’s really an easy sport to get started in, especially with the advent of crossbows,” said Holmes.

Last year the state set records for archery hunting. About 140,000 hunters participated, up from about 90,000 in 2010.

Holmes said one reason archery hunting is becoming more popular is because the season is much longer.

“There’s a lot of opportunity. It opens October 1st and doesn’t end until January 15th. Some of the other seasons have a pretty tight window. If you want to hunt with a gun there’s just 16 days you can go really. With archery season there’s three months,” said Holmes.

Critics of bow hunting say it’s inhumane because they say there’s a better chance an animal will be wounded without dying.

Gun hunting remains the most popular method of hunting in Oklahoma with a record 225,000 gun hunters participating in deer harvest in 2020. 

Holmes encouraged hunters to consider killing female deer. A preference for deer with antlers can lead to an imbalance in populations.

“In many parts of the state, especially in eastern parts of the state, there’s plenty of deer. Taking antlerless deer is good for the population, it’s good for the herd health ratio. We want to have about an even number of bucks to does,” said Holmes.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.