Deer hunting through the holiday

This year’s holiday deer season will be open for 14 days from Dec. 18-31 statewide except the area west of U.S. 83 in the Panhandle. Even if a hunter has harvested the maximum combined limit of six deer for the year’s regular deer seasons, the hunter may still take two antlerless deer during Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun Season because they are considered bonus deer.

Season dates and other regulations may vary on public lands, and hunters should always check special area rules for public lands in the current Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations

Last year, those participating in the holiday season managed to harvest 7,705 deer, an increase from 6,362 in 2021.

Doe harvest yields several important deer management benefits for the state’s wild deer population, said Dallas Barber, Big Game Biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. These benefits include: 

  • Additional nutrients for the herd, leading to healthier deer and better antler development. 
  • Condensed rut period. Bucks spend less time traveling, thus conserving energy and reducing the demand for resources. This provides a better hunting experience. 
  • Even fawn drop. A condensed rut period allows fawns to drop within the same general time, making it difficult for predators to keep up with the numbers available. 
  • Fewer late-born fawns. Condensed rut period helps reduce the number of late-born fawns, which are at higher risk to suffer from developmental challenges. 

Residents and nonresidents having the required holiday season licenses may participate in the holiday season. However, unfilled Resident Youth Deer Gun Season antlerless licenses are valid for the holiday season. All hunters are reminded that the requirements to wear hunter orange clothing are in effect during the holiday season.            

For complete regulations, refer to the Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations available at www.wildlifedepartment.com, in the Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print free from license dealers statewide. 


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Craig Hall
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